Zcash Slow Start
Zcash is utilizing what is known as a “Slow Start” for the first 20,000 blocks mined which is expected to take around 34 days. This is intended to help give the Zcash network time to stabilize and help avoid disruptions due to major bug discoveries or security vulnerabilities that may be found in the protocol. The slow-start mechanism is also a disincentive to insta-mine the coin in the early (easy) blocks, which is a typical plague common of other cryptocurrency launches.
For the initial mined blocks, the block reward will only be a fraction of the eventual 12.5 ZEC block reward that kicks in on bock 20,000. This 12.5 block reward will then continue until the first halving that will be take 850,000 blocks (roughly 4 years), much like Bitcoin which Zcash is partially patterned after.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Zcash splits its block reward between miners and so called founders. Founders include early investors that provided seed money for the development of Zcash up to this point, as well as developers and other participants in the launching of this currency. All block rewards until the first halving will divide the reward up with 2.5 ZEC going to the founders and the remaining 10 ZEC will go to the miners, this will stop after the first block halving.
While some may not like this approach, keep in mind other cryptocurrencies would “pre-mine” a set amount of coins ahead of time to fund these same type of activities. When Ethreum was launched, close to 72 million coins were already in existence. Zcash’s approach helps keep the developers interested as they have more skin in the game, as the continued success of Zcash is required for them to get their own full reward.