Zcash is one of the younger cryptocurrencies but it has developed a strong following. Introduced in 2016, Zcash evolved from the Zerocoin platform. Its stated goal has been to improve upon the anonymity afforded by Bitcoin. The developers of the digital asset point to their improved cryptography as one of the primary benefits of owning and using this altcoin.
The History of Zcash
Zcash was founded by Zooco Wilcox-O’Hearn. O’Hearn was assisted in the initial development of the coin by Matthew D. Green, a cryptographer from Johns Hopkins University. The coin gained credibility when one of the initial investors was revealed as Roger Ver, a noted cryptocurrency investor. The developers made the coin available to the public on October 28, 2016.
It is the belief of the developers of Zcash that privacy is fundamental to the use of cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange. Most of the developers involved in the Zcash project have extensive backgrounds in STEM disciplines. The developers of Zcash do not control its mining or distribution. They insist that this along with transparency is the only way they can guarantee the integrity of the Zcash platform.
There is a company associated with Zcash. It is called ZcashCo. The company itself does not have the ability to view shielded transactions unless they are a part of the currency transfer. The sole function of the company is to provide updates to the Zcash platform. The platform is open-source meaning that the code is available to anyone.
In March of 2017, the Zcash Foundation was introduced. This foundation exists to bring together owners of the digital asset for the purpose of continued development. It maintains its own IRC channel and community chat where coin holders can discuss their ideas and thoughts about the coin’s evolution.
Zcash may be purchased on various cryptocurrency exchanges where it is identified as ZEC. Purchases can be made with traditional fiat currency or with other cryptocurrencies. Zcash is also able to be mined by those who are so inclined.
Zcash exists as a fork of the Bitcoin architecture. Bitcoin remains the most popular cryptocurrency and has inspired the creation of many altcoins. As a fork, Zcash has its own blockchain and token. The developers of Zcash took the Bitcoin platform and worked with the goal of improving it, specifically in terms of privacy. The primary achievement in this regard was the use of zero-knowledge proofs to preserve transaction data.
A zero-knowledge proof is an improved method of cryptography. They allow one to prove some facts about concealed information while also keeping the information hidden. The purpose of this scientific method of cryptography is to retain privacy while making information verifiable. The zero-knowledge proof system was incorporated into the Zcash blockchain. All transaction data is encrypted at the highest levels, improving upon the anonymity afforded by Bitcoin.
What Zcash does not do is obfuscate IP addresses of those who use it. The developers believe that there is a difference between the concepts of anonymity and privacy. The currency uses anonymity methods to accomplish privacy goals for its users. Most of the changes that were made to the Bitcoin architecture by Zcash are conservative in nature. They include the adoption of Equihash, a memory-hard proof of work that the developers believe is more effective in accomplishing their privacy goals for Zcash.
Zcash can be mined with the proper equipment when the appropriate software is downloaded. Like all digital coins, mining Zcash can be expensive. The cost of computer equipment is considerable and the mining process also consumes a vast amount of resources.
Zcash mining requires individuals to install and run a node on the Zcash network. The details on how to do this are provided by the developers in a Zcash Guide which is available on Github. There is also a Founders Reward which is set aside for the creators of the platform.
Those who wish to mine Zcash or any cryptocurrency might find a better option through mining pools like those offered by Genesis Mining. When one joins one of these pools they purchase a contract and partner with others to mine cryptocurrencies. The rewards of the mining operation are then shared among those who participate in the pools.
An advantage of Genesis Mining is that the company maintains its own mining farms in secure locations around the world. They are responsible for maintaining the equipment used in mining and none of this cost is passed on to the user.
Zcash Use and Acceptance
Zcash scored a major victory in April 2017 when Apple announced it would recognize the cryptocurrency and accept it on its iOS. Typically, acceptance by Apple is a major step toward a cryptocurrency being accepted as a medium of exchange by more companies and retailers.
Another major platform to announce they would accept Zcash was Wikileaks. The controversial website has a shop where individuals can purchase Wikileaks branded material with Zcash and other cryptocurrencies.
Zcash can also be traded on a large number of currency exchanges. Like many altcoins, the most popular use of Zcash may be as an investment vehicle. More and more individuals are purchasing digital assets to hold against anticipated growth. The Bitcoin explosion of 2017 has left many individuals hoping that the same growth will be achieved with other digital tokens.