Paying with Zcash for the first time can be like a first date with someone you really like. It might make you nervous at first, but once you force yourself to put on shoes, walk out the front door, and actually do it, after some time with the other person, you begin to relax, you connect, and the fun begins.
It can be scary, but your life will be far richer for doing it.
My first time paying with Zcash was an online p2p purchase of stickers from @BostonZcash. They posted a shielded z-address to Twitter and asked anyone who wanted stickers to send a few dollars worth of ZEC to that address.
I was sure it wouldn’t work. It seemed like it could absolutely be a scam. And if it wasn’t a scam, what force would hold them to follow through on their end? I had just mined the ZEC, basically for free, so there wasn’t much to lose. I thought it was maaaybe a 50/50 chance I could get stickers. But if I did get them, that would be awesome. So I sent the ZEC, and BostonZcash messaged me saying they were putting the stickers in the mail. Suuuure you will. I was still skeptical.
A few days later I found in my mailbox a package of beautiful, high-quality, carefully packaged stickers, with a thoughtful note.
I was hooked.
For the first time in my life, I bought something without using government money, a bank, or a credit card!
Not long after that, I wanted to do it again, so I searched the internet for ‘who accepts Zcash payments?’ (Today, you can just use the merchant directory paywithzcash.com) I found the Zcash Community store was selling officially licensed Zcash stuff. I put a coffee mug in the online checkout. At the payment screen, I saw they took payment through a payment processor, CoinPayments. Well, what do you know, but the nerves appeared again. It was scary. I start thinking of all the things that could go wrong.
CoinPayments? I’ve never heard of them.
What if CoinPayments says I didn’t send the ZEC? I’m sending from a shielded Zcash address, so there’s nothing on the blockchain to prove I paid.
What if the merchant or CoinPayments cheats me? Blockchain payments aren’t reversible.
What if my wallet messes up, or the blockchain doesn’t do it right? There’s no customer support phone number.
I didn’t want to lose my money, but I was star struck by the idea of being empowered as my own bank, not dependent on Bank of America or Visa. I told the nerves to be quiet and I went ahead with the purchase.
I had to wait about 30 minutes for CoinPayments to get enough confirmations, and since nothing said they were waiting for confirmations, I was sweating bullets the whole time. The longer I waited, the more sure I was that something was wrong.
After the transaction was confirmed enough, the screen flashed Paid, and I exhaled a big breath. I received an email with the order details. About a week later, my new favorite coffee mug appeared in the mail. I’ve used that mug nearly every morning for the past 3–4 years.
Zcash has changed me in a way I didn’t expect. When I first started paying with Zcash, I was very nervous and fearful when I made a payment.
I think one reason is because the traditional financial system is ridden with non-consensual acts of abuse, fraud, and information theft, not to mention the harder to notice things like debasement of buying power. Users of fiat money have become guarded.
But in several years of paying with Zcash, I’ve realized how safe and consensual it is. I now actually enjoy making payments with this better form of money.
If you’ve never done so, I invite you to go on a first date with Zcash, and buy something with it!