What is Zclassic (ZCL)? A fork of Zcash with the 20% founders reward and slow start removed

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Zclassic is a fork of Zcash founded by Rhett Creighton but with the 20% founder’s reward and slow start removed. Creighton’s reasoning was that the Zcash’s founder’s tax and closed-door, private funding round with top VC firms and Bitcoin whales were unfair.

So, he removed 22 lines of code and released this new Blockchain into the wild. He got rid of the slow start of mining in Zcash which created artificial scarcity of token supply.

zec rate of distribution
Slow mining start which increased the reward to 12.5 ZEC per block over 30+ days

As stated in the Zclassic whitepaper: “The mission of Zclassic is to stay as similar to Zcash from a technology perspective, but to never take any pre-mine, founder’s reward or any other kind of fee that goes to a small group of individuals with special permissions whether elected, appointed, or otherwise.”

While it might seem like a great idea to remove the founder’s reward, what you’ll find in this Zclassic saga is that no budget for development leads to…well a lack of it. This means pretty rough user experience, advanced barriers to entry (like command line access) and lack of secure and stable wallet options. Let’s dig in.

Zclassic Stats

Max supply: 21,000,000 ZCL

Current Supply: 3,458,950 ZCL

Algorithm: Equihash

Proof type: PoW

Launch date: 06/11/2016

It all began when Rhett Creighton removed those 22 lines from the original Zcash codebase and released it out into the world. Some argue it was done hastily and without proper promotion but by Creighton’s own admission this fork was released into the wild to “see what happens”.

Some observant miners saw this opportunity and jumped on board immediately, becoming whales practically overnight. From that point on it took on a life of its own.

Ironically, according to Creighton, he didn’t mine it or buy it at all even though he was the original core developer. In fact, he was working a full-time job while also the main core developer and project lead. His role included managing all the pull requests in GitHub which would update the network, wallets and core applications.

Although Creighton maintained the GitHub repository, building Zclassic was a team effort from the community. Sometimes to get the right answer quickly, you must simply post the wrong answer.

Zclassic acted as a launching pad for other projects

The team that now became ZenCash reached out to Creighton with their ideas of secure communication and other protocol improvements but he felt that Zclassic needed to stick to its core roots of no founders rewards or other incentives for development.

That led to ZenCash branching off of a 1:1 chain split which brought free ZEN to ZCL holders in an “airdrop” fashion at block 110,000 on May 23, 2017.

Recent Developments

The team released a new Electrum wallet in January to an eager community. It was authored by Duke Leto, core developer of HUSH, who had already implemented this wallet for their token.

Eleos Zclassic wallet

Bitcoin Private announced, a co-fork/fork-merge of Bitcoin and Zclassic

Bitcoin Private announcement by RhettThe next evolution of Zclassic is Bitcoin Private. The majority of the core ZCL developer team will move over to BTCP and continue development on that project.

The original members will facilitate the handoff to a competent team through a proposal evaluation initiative to vet ideas and teams. They will also maintain the ZCL GitHub until March 2019 or the new team takes over (whichever comes first).

A medium post was put out recently to further explain the future of Zclassic:

Future of Zclassic announcement
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Challenges and Critiques

The biggest critique, as mentioned earlier, was completely removing the founder’s reward. The policy created a volunteer and community run vibe. However, many feel that projects should be completely volunteer funded from the community.

It appears, however, that there can also cause a lack of unity when it comes to development, hence why cohesive and dedicated teams exist. The Bitcoin Private whitepaper elaborates: “Unfortunately, Zclassic suffered from the same ideas which it derived its greatness: the absence of a founder’s tax led to a lack of active development.”

A few questions linger: How will those who put effort into the community be compensated? If there is no compensation, how can there be a fair expectation of quality development, marketing, and customer service activities?

Meteoric ZCL price rise and fall

Zclassic went from $7 in January 2018 to $200+ a month later and then back to $7 in the first week of March.

Zclassic was just chilling in single digits for a long time but, that all changed when the hard fork to Bitcoin Private was announced. Although Bitcoin was also providing a 1:1 split of Bitcoin Private, clearly ZCL was the better deal at single-digit prices.

This caused a mad rush as people rapidly bought up all the Zclassic tokens they could in preparation for the airdrop, causing a record-shattering all-time high of over $200.

Once the snapshot took place the price tumbled back down to $7 in what’s probably one of the most savage charts ever.

ZCL/BTC 6 month chart on Bittrex

Problems withdrawing coins from Cryptopia

As a result of the increased volume and then drastic dump, many coins got stuck for users for upwards of 48-96+ hours. This was due to the lack of miners on the network to help process transaction which caused a large backlog.

Cryptopia ZCL Announcement and Update

Some users have reported still not getting their coins even as of this writing.

Bittrex fail and alleged insider trading of ZCL

Cryptopia was not the only exchange to struggle with this process. The Bittrex handling of ZCL was a disaster and true chaos. They claimed they would be “partially” supporting the fork but made no guarantees of users to expect tokens due to a lack of a “fully supported wallet”. In addition, no Bitcoin balance snapshots would be supported.

Bittrex Statement on ZCL and BTCP

Bittrex also noted some technical issues that were not present with Zcash but were with Zclassic. This culminated with the Zclassic market being frozen for 15 minutes before the snapshot after which the market would be re-opened.

Cool, so just wait for the exchange to re-open and everything will work out just fine, right? Not quite. According to Youtuber Austin’s Cryptoplay House, the Bittrex price re-opened at $30 which was a 70% drop from before the snapshot.

Although a drop was expected post-snapshot, the fact that trading happened while the ZCL markets were closed is pretty troubling. Like…go to jail troubling if this was traditional markets.

Zclassic Dump on Bittrex from @cryptoplayhouse
The ZCL dump which took place while markets were “closed” on Bittrex (Source)

The lesson here is that exchanges are their own monster regardless of the coin, its technology and developer team. Purchasing power is purchasing power.

And this was a great example of what happens when whales take over a market. This is not the first time exchanges have (allegedly) taken advantage of chaos so, bringing up the question of what the proper conduct and standards for exchanges should be.

Nonetheless, this is the wild wild, crypto west and this is the current environment we are in. If you’re still not totally freaked out, let’s go into where to buy, mine and store this beast.

Where to buy Zclassic

As a result of drastic reductions in market cap and trading volume, Bittrex is the top liquidity option at the moment. Cryptopia is second in liquidity but use at your own risk as users are reporting transactions being stuck and/or slowed down.

Where to mine Zclassic

Zclassic has a variety of mining pools available and despite the chaos from the airdrop, remains a top mineable Equihash coin. Some of the top pools include minez.zone, suprnova, and zclmine.pro (0% fees)

Where to store Zclassic

Currently, there is a full node and electrum wallet for Windows, Mac, and Linux as well as a paper wallet.

Final Thoughts

Zclassic is a perfect example of what happens when you clone a coin, remove a development budget and turn it into a community-driven free for all.

We continuously forget that cryptocurrency is not only experimental but also can be a lot like “sausage making” behind the scenes (which is never a pretty sight).

Despite the rocky road and upset investors, Zclassic still stands. With the Bitcoin Private announcement, Creighton and a new decentralized team from across the globe are bringing their experience to this initiative. In addition, the outpouring of community support for Bitcoin Private further encourages the ethos of true decentralization that originally birthed Zclassic.

While some Zclassic community members feel abandoned, Bitcoin Private is still managing proposals to evaluate a new team and their ideas. The BTCP team will provide “blockchain breaking” updates until March 2019, or the new team takes over. It appears Zclassic is not being left out in the cold with the proposal review plan.

As a result, Zclassic continues despite its rocky and current uncharted waters. As always, only time will tell us the truth but for now, Zclassic is still here.

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