Privacy coins have faced increased scrutiny as of late, following the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force's ruling in June that virtual asset service providers such as crypto exchanges must keep some personally identifying information about who's making transactions.
Naturally, this complicates business models for projects such as Zcash (ZEC) and its creator, the Electric Coin Co. (EEC), putting them in the position of both proving their compliance with the guidance while also extolling the value of their privacy technology.
EEC's Head of Regulatory Affairs, Jack Gavigan, for example released in late September a series of posts detailing how ZEC is FATF compliant. The crux of his argument is that despite its privacy features, ZEC technology is no different from other cryptocurrencies in terms of the data that can be collected for customer due diligence, transaction monitoring and record-keeping purposes.
But as it contends with these broader industry forces, EEC in particular is also dealing with its own internal woes.
EEC and ZEC have faced several trials over recent months, challenging both the team's ability to maintain development of the currency and the long-term viability of its intended use case.
It was revealed, for example, in August that the Electric Coin Co. had recorded a financial loss in the first quarter of 2019, amid the protracted crypto bear market. This came just a month after EEC CEO Zooko Wilcox wrote an open letter to the Zcash community seeking the creation of a Dev Fund to support future development of ZEC. Currently, Zcash is supported by the Founder's Reward, in which 20% of every block reward is allocated to the ZEC developer's fund. This reward structure is due to expire in October 2020, and the team is now scrambling to secure resources to continue its development efforts.
ZEC, by the Numbers
ZEC Developer Behavior climbed 2.4% over the last 30 days, driving Fundamental Crypto Asset Score (FCAS) up 2-points (0.25%). User Activity fell 20-points (-2.43%) while Market Maturity spiked 15-points (2.05%). Price is down 14.93% over the same time period.
Our Hot Take: ZEC Resilient Despite Headwinds
There's no shortage of trials and tribulations for those innovating within the cryptocurrency sector. ZEC has been a leader in the proliferation censorship-resistant digital currency since 2016 with "economic freedom and opportunity" at the core of its mission. While regulators learn how to wrangle aspects of this emerging industry in ways that protect consumers, but avoid stifling innovation, projects like Zcash are faced with the common challenges of any growing start-up working to deliver product on a tight budget.
Zcash has remained stalwart in its mission, continuing to drive development, while engaging with the broader crypto ecosystem at conferences and events. The coming months are critical for the team as they defend the compliance and importance of privacy coin functionality while correcting the course of their business operations.