Zcash CEO

Zcash CEO “Zooko” is Getting $4.2 Million Per Year from ZEC’s Founder Awards

The CEO of Zcash, Zooko Wilcox-O’Hearn, is reportedly earning $340,000 per month due to ZEC’s founder awards.

That adds up to $4.2 million per year.

The news was revealed at Zcash’s Zcon0 event. The event is being held to mark the activation of Overwinter on the Zcash network.

As part of that event, Zooko presented information about the finances of the project. Some on Twitter are criticizing Zooko’s founder awards. Is Zooko earning too much money? Or is $4.2 million per year (in ZEC) an adequate reward for the CEO of Zcash?

Here’s how the financial report for Zcash breaks down:

  • 80% of issued Zcash is going towards miner rewards (175,000 ZEC per month)
  • 3% is going to the Zcash Foundation (6,563 ZEC per month)
  • 2.8% is going to the Zcash Company (6,125 ZEC per month)
  • The remaining 14.2% is allocated to 44 employees, advisors, and founders
  • 3.4% of the total supply is going towards 34 employees
  • 0.9%, meanwhile, or 2,033 ZEC per month, is going towards Zooko alone

ZEC is currently valued at around $170 USD apiece. That means Zooko is taking home $345,000 per month in ZEC founder awards, or around $4.2 million per year.

The value was criticized by some members of the cryptocurrency community, while others felt it was an appropriate amount.

“lol so @zooko personally earns $340 000, the @zcashco makes north of a million Dollars a month, and @radix42 has to resort to begging for scraps from the community just to keep his Windows / Mac ports going,” explained crypto analyst Riccardo Spagni (@FluffyPony) on Twitter. “Misalignment of incentives, anyone?”

WhalePanda also chimed in, saying,

“TIL that Zooko is getting $4.2 million per year (at current prices) thanks to $ZEC's founder awards. Those silly devs that actually had to mine their “own” coins must feel really silly now. Also TIL that ZCash Foundation has a $500k/month burn rate”

WhalePanda was quickly criticized for his post. One response explained that the Zcash Foundation doesn’t have that burn rate (of $500,000 per month). Instead, the $500,000 per month burn rate is for the Zcash Company.

Supporters of Zooko pointed out that the Zcash founder used to live in his car. He was also an early bitcoiner and contributed to distsys (Tahoe-LAFS) and cryptography (BLAKE2) in significant ways. It has also been mentioned that the investor pre-mine was tiny: just 69,300 ZEC were pre-mined before the launch of Zcash.

In any case, Zcash remains one of the more intriguing projects of 2018. It has a small but dedicated community, and features like Overwinter are significantly increasing the viability of the network. This founder share “issue” seems like a non-event, as Zooko’s earnings are in line with other founder shares in the community. They’re far from the worst offenders within the community.

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