ZSAs replace: ECC analysis and paths ahead


ECC introduced in June a multi-month evaluation of the curiosity in and necessities for Zcash Shielded Assets (ZSAs). The thought of leveraging Zcash’s shielding capabilities to assist privateness for different asset holders is thrilling, and we might like to see this occur.

As a part of our due diligence, we launched into sentiment gathering, market analysis and financial modeling to higher perceive the probabilities and tradeoffs of various approaches. 

We decided there are a couple of choices out there to facilitate the creation and use of ZSAs. These are:

  • An issuer mannequin the place a centralized or decentralized middleman is required to subject and redeem the asset. For instance, an middleman may obtain Bitcoin from a consumer and subject a shielded “wrapped” zBTC in return. Likewise, they’d redeem native BTC to a consumer in alternate for zBTC.
  • An interoperability mannequin the place property can move seamlessly between chains as tokens are minted and redeemed with out the necessity for a centralized issuer.
  • A programmable mannequin the place anybody can deploy good contracts on the Zcash chain to create no matter asset-type they need.

We researched an issuer-based mannequin whereas conserving different fashions in thoughts. We believed the issuer mannequin can be the quickest alternative for ZSA realization, in gentle of the truth that two issuers (Ren and Wrapped) have already deployed tokenized ZEC on different chains and a 3rd (THORChain) is at the moment gaining assist for ZEC from the Nighthawk workforce.

In parallel, we commissioned George Mason University to check charge mechanisms and their tradeoffs for each ZSA customers and ZEC holders, and we took into consideration varied polling outcomes and group sentiment. 

Our analysis yielded various findings:

  • The Zcash group is eager about supporting ZSAs.
  • There are regulatory challenges to USD-based stablecoin issuance, each in necessities and issuer want to assist shielded variations of their property.
  • Some issuers have expressed curiosity in exploring ZSAs, however curiosity is both nonetheless tepid or not as a lot of a precedence as different actions.
  • Time is required by the Zcash group to overview and think about the financial implications, similar to these proven within the GMU findings, as there could possibly be vital impacts to ZEC holders.

Recently, QEDIT has expressed curiosity in creating ZSA functionality, and we now have been sharing info at their request. We are very excited concerning the potential for a talented, unbiased improvement workforce to develop into energetic builders of the Zcash core protocol!

The Zcash group continues to draw prime expertise, and we’re excited to see others in the neighborhood lean in to construct greater than ECC might ever do on our personal. We are getting into a brand new period the place rather more might be inbuilt parallel by a number of actors. We sit up for working alongside the group in these efforts.

Our conclusion is that the perfect path ahead for ZSAs remains to be unclear, that cross-chain interoperability is prone to grow to be a crucial part of profitable and usable ZSAs, and that ECC ought to decide to a roadmap that prioritizes interoperability, which can be needed for ZSAs and different makes use of. More on our roadmap is obtainable in a companion put up.

The remainder of this doc features a abstract of the analysis we’ve accomplished.

Research Summary

Zcash group sentiment

The Zcash group has signaled sturdy assist for including ZSA functionality to the core protocol. Though it acquired restricted assist as a precedence within the ECC coin holder survey, it was strongly supported within the Zfnd ZCAP survey as prime precedence for what must be constructed subsequent, and it was strongly supported in varied social channels. Plenty of group members reached out to ECC on to voice assist and concepts for ZSAs to be used with NFTs or stablecoins like Tether. 

Potential ZSA issuer market evaluation and necessities

We reached out to potential ZSA issuers and others which may have curiosity in taking part in ZSA issuance and assist. Our strategy was to request a thirty minute assembly to gauge their curiosity, assess market alternatives and discover excessive stage necessities. For these with preliminary curiosity, we supplied an in depth primer on ZSAs and potential capabilities then scheduled a sixty minute name to discover technical necessities.

The following desk summarizes the engagement and suggestions to this point:

Issuer Interest Requirements Notes
Circle (USDC) Not within the close to time period. Might be open to revisiting later. Circle supplied a normal record of necessities that included safety, stability, performance, authorized and compliance. A zUSDC token should meet regulatory necessities that could be tough or unattainable to adjust to, together with perceived regulatory danger, the power to freeze funds, and the power to blacklist addresses. Most importantly, the Circle regulatory workforce is unwilling to think about ZSA assist in the meanwhile.
Maker (DAI) Interested in seeing DAI on each chain. Requires safety overview. No cross chain DAI good contracts. We have met, they’ve reviewed the primer, and there’s curiosity in additional dialogue on detailed necessities. This is essentially the most promising chance of the issuers we’ve engaged with.
OpenSea No expressed curiosity. NA We tried to have interaction however had no significant dialogue. 
Ren Open to consideration. Questioned stage of market curiosity. Open They expressed that there’s some utility to shielding property however expressed that ZSAs are possible not sufficient to deliver over privacy-minded Ethereum group members as a consequence of competing choices, tribalism and switching price. A shielded DEX may deliver curiosity.
Tether No response to repeated makes an attempt. NA We made repeated makes an attempt to achieve out to Tether however didn’t obtain a response. One group member recommended they may have concern with the potential of hidden inflation.
Thesis Expressed curiosity however decrease precedence near-term (Focused on Tally). TBD While Thesis has expressed curiosity in supporting wrapped Zcash property and ZSAs, it has but to floor as a precedence.
Wrapped No curiosity. Doesn’t see the market. Complex regulatory points. NA Addresses have to be whitelisted for something thought-about to be a safety.  If custodial, the protocol should assist minting, burning and blacklisting addresses and should be capable of assist a courtroom order requiring that property are frozen. They expressed considerations with compliance. A shielded DEX could be attention-grabbing.

Economic examine

Over the  summer time, ECC engaged with a workforce from Computational Experimental Economics Laboratory (CEELab) on the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Economics (ICES) at George Mason University (GMU), led by Professor Kevin McCabe, to simulate and examine the affect of varied charge fashions for ZSAs. 

This analysis explores the area of financial mechanisms for imposing charges on ZSA holders which might be truthful and in step with these paid by ZEC holders. ECC has acquired a complicated draft of this analysis and can alert the group as quickly as the complete report is formally printed.

The GMU workforce evaluated various potential financial fashions according to the next standards:

  1. Does the mechanism impose prices on ZSA holders which might be truthful and constant to present ZEC holders? 
  2. Does the mechanism lengthen Zcash property rights on ZECs to ZSAs?
  3. Does the mechanism cut back the safety considerations that emerge by including ZSA assist to the blockchain? 
  4. Does the mechanism present income to cowl further protocol prices and basis revenues?
  5. How does the mechanism incentivize consumer belief within the blockchain and, subsequently, the transactions they make?
  6. How does the mechanism incentivize miner conduct?

The following fashions had been evaluated:

  • Computational-Cost Transaction Fees
  • Shielded Hosting Fees
  • Shielded Hosting Fees + Mandatory DEX Market Buys of ZEC
  • Private Transaction-Volume-Proportional Fees
  • Transparent Direct Transaction-Volume-Proportional Fees
  • Scarce Active Asset Type Auctions
  • Scarce Asset Type Creation Rate Auctions
  • Supply-Proportional Issuance Bonds

The report concludes:

It is unclear if including ZSA assist will improve or lower the worth of the Zcash protocol…  If ZSAs assist is added, it’s going to possible require further assist for distributed exchanges (DEXs) to permit customers to trade securities.  Indeed, one of many transaction charge mechanisms proposed would require minimal DEX assist.  Adding DEX assist will add further property rights to the system however might undermine consumer confidence within the consistency and implementation of those property rights. This would require a well-thought-out, user-involved, and user-incentivized testing section, which is prone to be each time-consuming and expensive.

While the report doesn’t advocate one mechanism over one other, it gives good evaluation and perception for the Zcash group to think about.

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