Electric Coin Company (ECC), formerly known as the Zcash Company, invented and has been supporting the Zcash cryptocurrency since its inception in 2016. Now one of the most widely used and respected cryptocurrencies in the world, Zcash proved that zero-knowledge proofs could be practically used in a global, decentralized, censorship-resistant digital currency.
The team at ECC has set the bar for professionalism, quality and transparency in an incredibly fast-moving, complex and nascent industry. This post includes the status of ECC work on broad adoption and an accounting of our deliverables and milestones over the last three years.
A primary focus area for ECC has been to drive adoption. Our strategy is two-pronged: Build a Solid Foundation and Convert the Masses.
Build a Solid Foundation
The first prong of the strategy is to build a solid foundation by driving the adoption of Zcash transparent addresses into high-quality financial and crypto institutions and projects around the world. This allows us to develop relationships, establish trust, establish liquidity, build advocacy and amplify our message.
The following table shows Zcash adoption on the top global exchanges. The top exchanges are based on a recent Bitwise study on real (vs. faked) volume. The coins shown were the top 12 (where Zcash ranks 12th) for known transaction volume, as reported by OnChainFx as of July 24, 2019.
ECC has been working with dozens of other exchanges in strategic locations, such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Mexico, South Africa, the UAE and elsewhere.
Third-party wallet providers are also critical partners for driving widespread adoption. We have invested in relationships and supported a number of wallet providers as shown in the graphic below. We also continue to work on reference libraries and SDKs to accelerate the adoption of Sapling shielded addresses. Stay tuned for upcoming announcements on additional third-party support.
The ECC team has worked to help educate and support the institutional community, including custodians, OTC desks, and others. These companies include:
- Custodians: Anchorage, BitGo, Coinbase Custody, Digital Asset Custody Company (acquired by Bakkt), Gemini, Kingdom Trust
- Investment Vehicles: Grayscale, Morgan Creek
- OTC Desks: Circle, Coinbase Prime, Cumberland, Galaxy Digital, Genesis
More information is available on the Z.cash for Investors page.
Convert the Masses
The second prong of our strategy is to drive shielded adoption within the infrastructure and foundational relationships we’ve built. This is now possible with the activation of Sapling and will be accelerated as we release mobile reference libraries and other supporting tools. The supporting ecosystem developed in our work “Building a Foundation” is key for driving broad user adoption of shielded addresses.
This move from transparent addresses to shielded addresses is in its infancy but will improve over time. We are offering technical support, reference code, protocol enhancements, research and regulatory support to a number of projects.
The following graph illustrates the number of fully shielded transactions over time. As shown, we have already seen a significant increase in adoption since the Sapling activation late October.
The next graph shows the total number of fully shielded transactions in each of the two Zcash pools: Sprout and Sapling. With Zcash, the privacy pool improves over time and participants all benefit from the participation of others. This is in contrast to mixing-based protocols where the privacy set is limited to the number of coins mixed for a particular transaction.
How We Got Here
The pdf below details a year-by-year account of ECC outcomes and activities. There are things we can’t talk about — such as current work with third parties — and there are likely things we’ve omitted. But our goal is to provide a sense of what we’ve accomplished, leading to and after the inception of Zcash. Accomplishments include software releases, network upgrades, audits, mainstream press mentions (there are many dozens of articles and interviews, so we limited these to larger publications), research, speaking engagements, trademark protections and so on.
Click the image below to view the timeline.
Our goal is to empower everyone with economic freedom and opportunity. That means 7.5 billion people today and 10 billion in 2050.
As we talked about here, 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.
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.
The R&D and engineering required to make this happen is substantive, and we believe that much will be learned along the way. We’ll only find success if we do that together with this team, alongside the community.
At the same time:
We will continue to drive adoption with the ever expanding number of developers and institutions,
we will continue to educate regulators and drive positive privacy narratives,
we will invest in and build out communities and empower others,
we will seek out and develop positive use cases,
we will build campaigns and tell stories,
we will deepen our investment in Asia and other fast-growing geographies,
we will continue to build,
we will continue to experiment,
we will continue to deliver again, and again,
just as we have been doing,
with all that we’ve got,
until everyone is empowered with economic freedom.