Zcash to 10 billion

Electric Coin Co. (ECC) talks a lot about empowering everyone with economic freedom and opportunity — it is our mission, after all. But when you step back and think about what that means, the prospect is staggering:

In the year 2050, ZEC will have to be accessible to and usable by 10 billion people across the world, according to projections.

ECC CTO Nathan Wilcox addressed this topic in his Zcon1 keynote last month. 

“There are issues of technology and how it propagates through our culture,” Wilcox said. “This is sort of a man-on-the-moon talk, but I think we should try to make Zcash usable by 10 billion people by 2050. …  How can we make Zcash a viable option for all people?”

With ECC going all in on ZEC, Wilcox was optimistic, but there are conditions that need to be considered. Scalability and privacy are key.

Zcash was forked from Bitcoin, and its underlying architecture is the same. But Bitcoin doesn’t scale. It’s proven to quickly hit capacity limits that throttle transaction throughput, resulting in high fees and long time to finality. This impacts user experience as the base protocol, as it exists today, cannot meet the consumer demand necessary to serve as a viable medium of exchange. The solution to this for Bitcoin might be Layer 2 scalability in the form of the Lightning Network, with Layer 1 serving as a settlement layer. This may not be viable, and/or it may not adequately protect privacy with its current reliance on third parties.

As Wilcox highlighted, privacy must be protected at the base layer, or Layer 1, in order to ensure censorship resistance and make for a viable medium of exchange. This requires horizontal scalability where the network scales as infrastructure providers contribute additional resources. This doesn’t work with Bitcoin or Zcash today. Adding another node to the network does not increase transaction throughput. 

ECC’s focus on Layer 1 scalability does not preclude us and others from working on other important engineering efforts — including evaluating other consensus mechanisms, Layer 2 development, interoperability and better end-user experiences. We should and will continue to work on these things in parallel. But if Zcash is for everyone, we must scale Layer 1. 

Zcash to 10 billion!

Wilcox’s full talk, “Envisioning Zcash at Global Scale,” is available online, along with all other Zcon1 presentations, courtesy of the Zcash Foundation.