Hello shelby3! Thanks for the questions.
Zooko, thank you for the responses.
I'm interested in reading your goals and motivations for taking on anonymity in general or anonymous digital cash specifically as your priority project?
I care deeply about personal privacy, personal and organizational security, and about the decentralization and sharing of power.
At this critical stage of human history we need a permissive environment where we can perform many experiments and make different kinds of mistakes, and fortunately we have that, in the Internet. The Internet has enabled many wonderful experiments. Bitcoin is one of the most wonderful of them. Zcash is another.
I wrote more about this on my introductory blog post for the Zcash project: https://z.cash/blog/helloworld.html
I agree. But the details of how we (society, hackers, etc) accomplish the goal is where we may differ on some facets. Please understand though that I respect (am in awe of) the technical excellence of your dream team. Zk-snarks are extremely interesting and I hope to one day understand them from first principles which is why I started the thread Layman's Journey to Understanding Zerocash
. Far exceeds my limited academic knowledge set. My criticisms pertain to areas of my study/experience where I may possess some insight that your team lacks or let's say where your awesome mathematicians may have a blind spot due to their other focus and experience. Academics often lack real world experience in business, marketing, etc.. because they are too busy (focused) on being really expert in their area of study.
Haven't you seen the new laws coming
(eventually in all Five Eyes countries I've heard from reliable sources) that will ban end-to-end encryption?
Yes, I have. I have followed that kind of development pretty closely for a long time. Since the original "Crypto Wars" in the 1990's, in fact.
I was only vaguely aware of Zimmerman and PGP because from the mid-1980s to 2003, I was involved as a programmer and entreprenuerial software ventures in the desktop publishing and digital graphic artists revolution. I didn't really catch on until 9/11/2001 when something seemed odd to me (as an engineer) about a steel girder building (that was never struck by an airplane) free falling perfectly into its own footprint. Digging down into that rabbit hole further which leads into geo-political realities (and Martin Armstrong's terse Tedx talk
can be quite illuminating), one should realize what they are up against and position their marketing strategy and business model to realistic aims.
To that end do you expect to support a viewkey or other way that users individually or a global backdoor, so that Zcash can be compliant…
In Zcash, the creator of each individual transaction gets complete control over who can view the contents of the transaction. This is accomplished by each transaction being individually encrypted by an encryption key known only to the creator and the recipient.
There is no other mechanism by which any party can gain the ability to view the contents of transactions other than getting the decryption key from the creator or the recipient of the transaction, or from someone else who has previously received the decryption key. This is a simple, implementable, secure, and understandable mechanism for controlling who can see what. We call it "selective transparency".
Does that answer your question?
Yes partially it does, but it leads into what I believe is a political-economic flaw in your strategy for anonymity. I will be elaborating on this in a subsequent post as well.
In other words, you are confirming that each private key holder determines whether to reveal the decryption key to others. Is the decryption key only a view key or can it also be used to sign a double-spend? This is important because a corporation for example may want to allow auditing (even comply with a government regulation to supply a view key) without losing control over the sanctity of their spending.
It seems to me you are of the opinion that individuals should be able to snub the government's intrusive snooping policies. But this means that Zcash's protocol can become banned by hosts. So you are basically deciding that users will need to run their own full nodes from home-based ISPs, but I will explain in a subsequent post that it is impossible to scale and maintain such decentralization. I have studied
this issue in great detail. The CAP theorem is fundamental.
Thus I think you need to think about a global view key for the Zcash mixer that can be supplied to the government. Otherwise the goverment will eventually outlaw the entire protocol. And users standing up full nodes will centralize to hosted servers as any consensus system scales, thus the government will be able to outlaw it.
The was the insoluble technical dilemma that caused me to realize I had to change my strategy from a renegade to a political-economic means of resistance.
I see excellent markets for your technology for use by corporations who need privacy on public block chains. But privacy from the government is impossible until the masses will wake up and tell the government to stop snooping. That will not happen until some decade or more from now, because the masses are apathetic to this issue and this will not change until after they suffer totalitarianism thus the fight ahead will be political-economic, not purely technological.
Corporations are real near-term market for zk-snarks and even hopefully zk-snark smart contracts in the future, not just crypto currency.
I urge you again to get your marketing and business model strategy more focused on what is realistic in the current political and social environment. Any way, that is my 25 cents feedback.