Cypherpunk talk with ZecHub

ZecHub is an open source education hub for Zcash. We host a wiki site that has information for new zcash users looking to find out about wallet features, non-custodial exchanges, zero knowledge explainers and more.

Here we are with one more Cypherpunk talk! A series in which we interview members from different crypto-communities, talking about their vision of the market and how they contribute to their projects. Today we are with ZecHub, a community driven education hub for the Zcash cryptocurrency (ZEC).

First I want to thank ZecHub for participating! How are you? Please introduce yourself! Talk about your origins on the crypto market and, of course, on the Zcash community.

Squirrel: Hey! My name is squirrel. I am currently a core contributor on the ZecHub team. My introduction to crypto came in early 2017 when a friend of mine demonstrated a transaction and then showed it in a block explorer. Since then I did everything possible to learn about blockchains such as certifications in Hyperledger, Blockchain Security and even made projects for myself such as creating a fork of Litecoin.

In 2022 I found a Request for Proposal (RFP) in the Zcash Community Forum. It was for a community notetaker role for the R&D meetings. Later on I joined ZecHub to write documentation and build the project to where it is today.

It is a pleasure to meet you! Thanks for sharing your journey in the ZCash project. Can you briefly describe what ZecHub is and its mission within the crypto community?

Squirrel: ZecHub is an open source education hub for Zcash. We host a wiki site that has information for new zcash users looking to find out about wallet features, non-custodial exchanges, zero knowledge explainers and more. Global Web3 contributors are able to earn ZEC by writing documentation, creating graphic design elements such as posters or video animations, develop code for our network stats dashboard etc. Our DAO votes on project ideas that come in.

ZecHub official page

What inspired the creation of ZecHub, and how does it aim to impact the broader Zcash ecosystem?

ZecHub was founded by @Januszg_ on X. It was created as a fork of EthHub. The initial goal was to build a place new users could get started using Zcash. In parallel a podcast was created that seeks to build bridges between different projects in the privacy ecosystem such as Railgun & Decred.

That's cool.We are also trying to create bridges with other projects with Cypherpunk Times! Now talking a little about the crypto industry, with the potential onset of a crypto bull run, how do you see the current state of the market?

There are far too many factors to consider - I can't accurately comment on price performance of any digital assets. There are times when all the public attention is on price and times when the hardcore tech enthusiasts are focused on product improvements. In my optimistic perspective, i look around and only see builders readying to ship products and our respective communities digging it!

What are some of the key challenges and opportunities you see for cryptocurrencies like Zcash and Decred in today’s market?

The key challenges I see are finding utility amongst our users. It would be fantastic to be able to earn and live on cryptocurrency. Even today the number of real world payments made with Bitcoin is far from where we need to be to make a real societal difference. Its a challenge I am glad to take on alongside friends & colleagues! The room for opportunity is vast - Gold has an approximate marketcap of 15T while the entire* crypto industry at time of writing floats nearer to 2.7T. Cryptocurrency is here to stay, we are steadily improving usability and access. Markets can often be irrational, all we can do is focus on payments, users and utility.

Access the ZecHub channel on youtube for a lot of content on crypto and privacy

Can you elaborate on the relationship between the Decred and Zcash communities? How have these interactions evolved over time?

Funnily enough, I owned Decred before Zcash. Alongside Bitcoin and Litecoin it was one of the first coins I bought. Zcash has an excellent reputation within the industry by leading several technological breakthroughs, driving the entire space forward. Similarly, Decred is a highly reputable project with developers that involved in starting projects such as Monero.

Zcash & Decred took different paths to achieving social consensus. Decred opted to center the project around onchain governance whereas Zcash, at least initially launched with a company which later split off a Foundation and various other organisations. Decred is a clear example many in the Zcash community look towards for inspiration, I would invite everyone to check out the ongoing Zcash Grants Based Funding Bloc proposed by Josh Swihart for implementation in 2025.
Its not immediately obvious but Zcash and Decred are remarkably similar. I often join the decred chats on Bison Relay & Telegram and have felt a real sense of kinship with the community - can confirm they are definitely cypherpunk. Both projects value privacy, not just monetarily but also through personal communication!

ZecHub plays a significant role in educating people about Zcash. What unique educational content does ZecHub offer that distinguishes it from other educational platforms?

We build with Zcash! There are many other educational platforms that list Zcash wallets, perhaps also compare the technical privacy features alongside other payment coins but as far as I am aware ZecHub is the only project that provides free open source code examples for how to create your own Donations widget with Zcash or run a Network stats dashboard of your own. We hope to pursue this idea and over the course of the coming months provide examples for several varying application "templates".

Beginner's Guide: What is Zcash? - 101 Blockchains
A quick intro of Zcash

Please talk about the recent incidents involving Zcash on the Binance monitoring list, what are your thoughts on that?

The Monitoring list tag is a formality whilst the Zcash compliance solution is being implemented. That said, it is a disappointing decision to request a new address type. They are likely under pressure from overbearing state entities.
The naivety of the decision is glaringly apparent - the new address type does not provide Binance with any additional information that they would get from a regular Z-T transaction!

Another important point to make is that Zcash's implementation of Transparent Exchange Addresses (TEX) does not reduce user privacy or UX. We are in the process of implementing ZIP-320 which allows wallets to take shielded private funds and make an automatic two-step hop into Binance.

In the next 4 years regulation will deem onchain privacy a neccesity. There is already work being done to enable zk-identity an option on Zcash or provide asset issuers with encrypted visibility. You can be certain onchain transparency will be dealt with in the same way as unencrypted web traffic (HTTP vs HTTPS).

How does the inclusion of Zcash in the Bison Wallet (Decred decentralized exchange) align with the strategic goals of ZecHub and the Zcash community at large?

Giving Zcash users a way to acquire and trade Zcash on a permmisionless & decentralised platform is absolutely necessary if the project is to retain its censorship resistance. This is how we protect our rights to financial sovereignty, free speech and privacy. Hyped for Bison Wallet and cannot wait to try it out + share instructional guides.

DCRDEX has been rebranded as Bison Wallet

Now talking about privacy! Privacy is a significant concern for many in the crypto space. How does ZecHub address these concerns, particularly in relation to the features of Zcash?

ZecHub promotes the use of all privacy enhancing technologies, because Privacy is Normal. Everyone has the right to be able to choose what information is known about them. Zcash allows users the choice. You can choose when and with whom to send payments to publicly or privately.

In the modern day there is growing apathy towards large corporations harvesting user data through apps, websites, devices ..even your car! This data is used to sway elections and is often misused or made accessible to criminals!
ZecHub presents options for safely managing your data. Whether onchain using Zcash or online using Brave Browser, Tor or Graphene OS.

Looking towards the future, what developments or advancements are most exciting at ZecHub?

Over the next 6 months we will move to increase the size Bounties offered! As mentioned earlier we are looking to work with developers who are interested in Zcash to create proofs of concept demo apps. Engaging with other crypto projects is always quite fun, hopefully Decred, Digibyte, Litecoin and Firo can get together for another podcast soon ;)

That was a really great talk! Finally, what advice would you give to new users or investors interested in Zcash, Decred, or other cryptos in general, especially in the current market conditions?

Unfortunately I am unable to provide financial or investment advice. However, I would always recommend for anyone interested in Decred or Zcash to try it out! The best research is done through experimentation - Zcash wallets are always fun to send encrypted messages with. Send me your shielded address and you may get an invite to the secret memo group.