Announcing Ycash, The First “Friendly Fork” of the Zcash Blockchain

Image © 2019 Ycash Foundation All Rights Reserved

Introduction

[Important Note: The Ycash project is completely independent from both the Electric Coin Company and the Zcash Foundation.]

At block height 570,000 of the Zcash blockchain (approximately July 18, 2019), we will launch Ycash, the first “Friendly Fork” of the Zcash blockchain. Because Ycash is a chain fork of Zcash, everyone holding Zcash at the time of the fork will receive the exact same amount of Ycash. (Note: To ensure that you get your Ycash, you must possess your Zcash private keys.)

Along with the blockchain fork, ZecWallet will also be forked to support Ycash, and official builds for all supported platforms will be provided.

The nonprofit Ycash Foundation is in the process of being formed and will be the owner and steward of the Ycash trademark. Trademark registration is currently pending in the United States, with registrations in additional jurisdictions to follow.

Restoring a Goal, and Upholding a Promise

We are launching Ycash to restore a goal — mining on commodity hardware — that appears to have been largely abandoned on the Zcash blockchain.

We are also launching Ycash to uphold a promise — that the Zcash Founders Reward would be forever capped at 2.1 million coins — that we fear will come under increasing pressure between now and the expiration of the Founders Reward in October 2020.

We believe that both mining on commodity hardware and maintaining the promised cap on the Founders Reward are essential to a fair distribution of coins. In turn, we believe that a fair distribution of coins is essential to ultimately achieving widespread adoption.

Key Changes at Launch (and Soon After Launch)

At launch, Ycash will implement the following two changes:

  • Ycash will reduce the Founders Reward rate from 20% to a perpetual 5%, which will exactly preserve the original 2.1 million coin cap on the Founders Reward.
  • Ycash will direct the remaining Founders Reward in its entirety to a newly formed nonprofit named the Ycash Foundation.

Furthermore, either at launch or sometime after launch (but hopefully no later than around the time of the Zcash Blossom upgrade at the end of October of this year) Ycash will implement a third change:

  • Ycash will change its Proof of Work algorithm to an algorithm more conducive to mining on commodity hardware (like CPUs or GPUs). (Approaches like RandomX, ProgPOW, and various flavors of Equihash are currently being evaluated.)

Going forward, Ycash plans to continually leverage the strengths of Zcash by incorporating most changes made to Zcash into Ycash as well, especially changes to the zero knowledge infrastructure. Only in areas where there is substantial disagreement with Zcash’s approach will Ycash diverge. Additionally, we hope that the Ycash Foundation will successfully fund the development of novel features in Ycash that will be candidates for inclusion into Zcash.

Founding Principles

In addition to continuing Zcash’s strong commitment to privacy, we hereby commit in good faith to:

  1. Preserve the 21 million coin cap on the total Ycash money supply.
  2. Preserve the 2.1 million coin cap on the Ycash Founders Reward, which is hereby renamed the Ycash Development Fund (or YDF). (Note that since 1.4 million ZEC of the Zcash Founders Reward has already vested, the effective cap on the YDF is 700,000 YEC.)
  3. Aggressively pursue technologies that enable mining on commodity hardware (like CPUs or GPUs), including implementing periodic Proof of Work changes to that end. (To be clear, our commitment is to commodity hardware in general, not to a specific type of commodity hardware, like GPUs.)
  4. Utilize pure Proof of Work mining until at least the second block reward halving, at which point 75% of all Ycash will have been mined via Proof of Work. (Full or partial Proof of Stake will not be implemented, if at all, until after the second block reward halving.)
  5. Never differentially timelock coins, such that some coins are timelocked for a different time period than other coins.
  6. Keep transaction fees low by any means necessary, including increasing the block size limit or removing the limit completely.

The Numbers

At launch, the total circulating supply of Zcash will be exactly 7 million ZEC, 20% (1.4 million ZEC) of which was initially allocated to the recipients of the Zcash Founders Reward. With 1.4 million ZEC out of the 2.1 million ZEC Founders Reward already vested, that means that the Ycash Development Fund will have a cap of 700,000 YEC, exactly one-third of the total Zcash Founders Reward.

Because the YDF vesting rate is 5%, Ycash miners will always receive 95% of the Ycash block reward.

At the time of the first block reward halving in October 2020, 175,000 YEC will have vested to the YDF. Between the first block reward halving in October 2020 and the next block reward halving approximately four years later, an additional 262,500 YEC will have vested to the YDF. At the time of the second block reward halving, there will still be 262,500 YEC unvested and destined for the YDF in the future. We hope that the work on Ycash funded by the YDF will also be beneficial to Zcash too.

Immediately after launch, the recipients of the Zcash Founders Reward — including the Zcash Foundation — will hold significant amounts of Ycash (to the extent that those recipients still hold significant amounts of Zcash). We hope that this gives the Zcash Founders Reward recipients a vested interest in the future success of both Ycash and Zcash.

Next Steps, and an Invitation to Join Us

We will be working hard the next few months to prepare for launch. Well before launch, you will be able to review and discuss the source code changes on Github. Once the changes have been implemented, a testnet will be provided.

We will provide frequent updates on our progress, via the Zcash Community Forum and the @YcashFoundation Twitter account.

We invite you to join us. We need your help! Whether you are a developer, a miner, a holder, or a user, we hope that you consider supporting Ycash. Please reach out to us by emailing info@ycash.xyz. You can also send encrypted memos to us via the following Zcash Sapling address:

zs1mymn2ar4wldwns5v7t239g6s0al3hpp40tlh5k64mn93ymfcuayqquz9jaxy32d33ch96e7usjy

We also invite you to join the discussion about this announcement on the Zcash Community Forum.

Thank you for reading this announcement, and we hope that you consider supporting Ycash!