Zen Launch Announcement Party a Success!
Here is my story about how the Zen Launch Party went (from blockops). Pictures are from Crypt0’s Steemit post about Zen Launch.
A week out from the party we were concerned. We had booked a private room at an upscale bar for 75 people, and only had 40 people signed up. Jane.hk, finpunk, and movrcx had all been sending invitations, asking people to attend, and putting the word out.
It was working, but slowly. We did not want to throw a party and have a half-empty room because of lack of interest. We also did not want to have to bribe people to come with gifts, or fill the room with people who did not care about anything but free food and drinks.
The team kept working. Crypt0 was a big help with his cryptocurrency youtube channel, letting people know about ZenCash and the Launch party.
At Consensus 2017 we started talking to people. Whenever we talked to people we told them about our launch, and handed them a professional looking party invitation we had printed out. Crayonstrat, our local NYC contact and good friend of finpunk, seemed to know just about everyone, and made a lot of introductions.
We met some people that had been in the cryptocurrency industry for a while, and we had some good talks about the ZenCash model. The people we talked to were excited about what we were doing, thought we were on the right track with a good team, and also had good advice to offer.
We continued to stress our message that we were setting up Zen to be around for a long time, that we were going to launch with a good base set of features and capability, and have a roadmap to enable global anonymous transactions, anonymous communications, and anonymous Internet publishing.
It was probably helpful that more than half the presentations and round tables at Consensus seemed to be about how to regulate cryptocurrencies, and that regulators needed to be accommodated. There were a lot of big companies and traditional financial institutions at the conference. Since we were specifically launching a cryptocurrency designed for anonymous person to person transactions and communication, the regulation discussions were not that relevant to us.
When Zcash announced during the conference they were working with JPMorgan to help them use zk-SNARKs, that was really great for Zen. It helped to further validate the zk-SNARK as a viable shielded transaction and communications system, and also helped draw a distinction between the corporate focus of Zcash and the individual user focus of ZenCash.
By noon on Tuesday we had 130 people register online for our Launch party. Things were looking good!
Tuesday afternoon movrcx was at hour 36 of continuous coding, and finpunk asked me if things were ok. As far as I knew, it was. I knew he had solved some issues with SSL certificate use for transactions, and was going through and cleaning up little issues.
We had met some of the early investors and participants in Dash, Zcash, and Ethereum, and were talking with them about what we were doing, as well as listening to the advice they gave based on their experience with those projects as they started and grew. It was interesting to hear about some of the things that they had been through.
For example, one person I talked to who had a lot of experience during the Dash growth period told me he thought it was not a good idea to pay people to vote. He said it was better to have fewer, but more informed voters, than more, but uninformed voters. That’s one of the things we definitely need to take into consideration as we formalize the proposal and voting system.
At 5:30 pm movrcx told us about the issue with the Zen code. How the transaction replay protection that was put in place had looked good, but that in some cases there were transactions that did not go through. He recommended pushing the launch 7 days.
That was a surprise! We really did not want to do that!! We talked through the problem, and it quickly become clear that movrcx was right. We needed to push the launch. To put this in perspective, as soon as ZenCash launches there will be 1,375,000 Zen tokens available for transactions and trading. There is no reason to put that at risk when a launch push, while embarrassing, would make sure things were done right.
Finpunk and jane.hk started letting people that we had invited know about the issue. We certainly did not want people to find out after showing up at the launch party if we could help it!
While we were having our discussion, right next to the Marriot bar and restaurant, and then taking action, I noticed people watching us that we had talked to earlier that day. Thinking about this afterward, I expect they wanted to see how our team handled problems. Problems always happen, and how a team deals with them can be critically important. I am proud do say we did it the right way. We pulled together, hashed out the issue and response, came to an agreement, then moved forward together. That’s what you want in a team!
Movrcx and I started letting our community know. I immediately typed up a brief summary. I wanted it to state the problem, the cause, the impact, what we were doing about it, how we were working to identify the root cause, and what we were going to do about it. Then I put that information on the ZenCash slack, the Zclassic slack, the Bittrex slack, Bitcointalk, and our Blog. The Zen website team updated the main website, and we each sent out some tweets with the news.
Then we headed over to the Launch party. I was a bit ashamed, because we were going to have to change it to a Launch Announcement Party at the last minute. But we really had no choice, people were already planning on showing up, we had paid the venue, and the event was going forward.
When movrcx and I arrived, right at 7, there were already about 20 people there. Things were looking good. Zenchick had gotten everything set up. We had a bar, food, DJ’s, TV screen, microphone, T-shirts, and everything else. I was very happy about that! We had planned that finpunk was going to do the overview presentation. I always like to talk the people in the room and find out what they know and what they want to hear about ahead of time. We did that from 7 to 8 pm.
I met all sorts of people! Students, investors, enthusiasts, people who had been following us on ZenCash slack and watched our videos, and people who knew very little about Zen. A few people asked me to make sure we did an overview. Some people told me they really liked the videos that I made and posted on the ZenCash youtube channel, and asked me to keep doing them – I told them I would. One request that I got after the presentation, I wish I had learned about before – I’ll explain in a little bit.
And Crypt0 was there! We had a chance to meet and talk – he is a great guy. He asked if we had wifi so he could live stream, but unfortunately we had not paid for that. He said he would record the entire event on his phone, and try to live stream if it he could. I thought that was awesome, and thanked him for being there and helping us out.
Finpunk had a problem though, his voice was going out. He had been talking to so many people in so many places in the last week, he was not sure he was going to be able to do the whole presentation. I quickly reviewed it in case I had to step in. I figured we needed to do the whole overview presentation in about 15 minutes, or we would lose our audience.
At 8 pm we began. The room was packed! Easily over 100 people. And since people had been coming and going all night, I figure there were probably 200 people at least that attended.
The presentation went well. Finpunk gave a big picture overview. Movrcx, jane.hk, and I talked about our backgrounds a little bit, and why we were part of the Zen project. I was moving the slides along for finpunk, and adjusting the video for the live stream that I hoped was going out. Smrtz had set up all the streaming, and I think it was working the whole time.
Then finpunk couldn’t talk anymore. He handed the mike to me. Now, that can be a dangerous thing, because I completely lose track of time while I talk, and sometimes I stray off topic, especially when I’ve had 3 drinks and no food…
But it turned out OK. I added on to the overview finpunk had done, talked about the white paper, the mining reward redirection to maintain the health and growth of the system, the idea that we want people all over the world to be able to use ZenCash for both anonymous transactions and anonymous publishing, and talked about the strong roadmap we have for usability.
I think overall it went really well, but I forgot two things.
The first was that we had just talked with Simon Yu, creator of Bitmaker, and agreed to partner with his company and integrate ZenCash on the Bitmaker mobile application, which pays people in cryptocurrency to play games on their phones. That’s a great partnership that really helps stress our usability, and I had not mentioned it!
Fortunately jane.hk stepped up and took care of things. She grabbed the microphone, invited Simon to come up front with us, gave him an intro, and he talked about our partnership. That went really well.
From about 8:15 to 9 pm I talked to many different people in the crowd. There were some big name crypto people there, for sure. Tone Vays was hanging out, and I asked him if he wanted the overview of Zen, and we agreed it would be better to follow up later.
Near the end of the party, I was talking to one guy, a longtime cryptocurrency investor, who told me he really like the presentation, and the story, but told me I left out the most important part. I had no idea what he was talking about. He asked me if he could buy Zen, if we were listed on an exchange. You know what, he was right! I had completely forgotten to tell people to go out and buy ZenCash on Bittrex after we launch on Tuesday May 30th.
I explained to him about the chain split with Zclassic at block 110,000, how Zen was on a pause, but that Bittrex would begin trading after the launch and after we had sufficient nodes and hashpower to make things stable. He got a big smile on his face, and said that was great news. Like many other people I talked to that night, he told me he would be investing in Zen.
Zen is a system of products, services, and businesses built around an enabling technology stack employing zero-knowledge proofs and a core set of beliefs.
As a distributed blockchain system leveraging the latest censorship-evading techniques, fully encrypted communications, and a social and governance model designed for long term viability, Zen will contribute to the human right to privacy and provide the necessary networking infrastructure for people to securely collaborate within a borderless ecosystem.
The launch of ZenCash will take place on May 30th.
Subscribe to our mailing list (see link upper right part of page) to engage with the Zen Community and receive early bird perks. The ZenCash white paper is available for download here (pdf).
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