The Electric Coin Company (ECC), who make the privacy coin Zcash, today announced the donation of the Zcash trademark to the Zcash Foundation.
The donation, which was executed by contract on Wednesday, makes the Zcash Foundation responsible for registering and protecting the Zcash trademark. This, said the ECC, “protects the community from scammers and gives legal force to governance decisions by guaranteeing that the Zcash name is applied to the correct blockchain.”
The ECC said it’s the result of several months of tough negotiations, furthers the objectives of decentralization, and protects the “community’s voice with regard to the future of Zcash.”
Back in January, the ECC stalled negotiations. In response, the Zcash Foundation stalled plans to help sort out Zcash’s funding crisis, and its executive called the negotiations a “hollow process.” The hold up, argued Josh Cincinnati, head of the Zcash Foundation, would let the ECC act unilaterally on the founders’ reward decision, which is pivotal to the success of the cryptocurrency. But it appears bygones will be bygones.
Though the donation of the trademark is free, the maintenance of the trademark is far from priceless: the ECC pointed out that, since 2016, it has cost them over $250,000 and over 500 hours to maintain the network.
As such, the contract comes with several caveats. For starters, “No party has independent authority to declare that a specific chain of Zcash can actually be called Zcash. There must be agreement from both parties, and neither party can unilaterally override the will of the community,” wrote the ECC.
The Zcash Foundation also has to maintain the Zcash trademark, and can’t take actions “blatantly contrary to the clear consensus of the Zcash community.” If it fails to meet these responsibilities, then the ECC can step back in.
In addition, “both parties must agree on any network upgrade that is intended to create the new consensus protocol of Zcash.” If the Zcash foundation and the ECC can’t work things out, “the chain splits and neither implementation — neither the new one nor the existing one—can be called Zcash.” Seems fair.