Today we’ll be discussing a cryptocurrency that many view as the same as Bitcoin: ZCash. ZCash is similar to Bitcoin mostly because it is a fork of the Bitcoin protocol. They have built upon what Bitcoin has worked on and have accordingly improved it.
What is ZCash?
ZCash is pretty much like Bitcoin but they claim to be better in terms of security and privacy. In their website, they state “If Bitcoin is like http for money, ZCash is https—a secure transport layer.”
Given that, ZCash is a decentralized, open-source cryptocurrency. It is the first of its kind to fully shield the privacy of its users when making transactions by using a zero-knowledge proof that they call zero-knowledge Succinct Non-interactive Arguments of Knowledge or zk-SNARK—cutting-edge cryptography applied to the blockchain that enables fully encrypted transactions to be valid.
With ZCash, you have the option to transact regularly as you would with Bitcoin with a transparent transaction or keep transaction details like the sender, recipient and the amount or value strictly confidential with a shielded transaction.
Is Confidentiality a Precursor to Illegal Activity?
One may be wary that the very thing that makes ZCash unique may cause problems for it as it may attract the wrong crowd; that crowd being those who are involved in illegal activity. Will the privacy offered by ZCash be an avenue for criminals to send and acquire money?
ZCash founder Zooko Wilcox-O’hearn explain that they developed the cryptocurrency not to facilitate illegal activity. Technically, when need be, the transactions may be viewed with a private/viewing key that can decrypt the information.
How ZCash Started
Initially proposed as ZeroCash in May 2014, ZCash was formally announced on January 20, 2016 and mining of ZCash started on October 28, 2016. It is a fairly new cryptocurrency but its ability to provide its users with the option to keep their transactions private has allowed it to gain consumer interest right away.
ZCash Current Value and Performance
As of this writing, ZCash is now at $414.00!
Price chart from Coinmarketcap.com
ZCash is constantly rising and falling. It has experienced quite a high spike in value in between December 2017 and this month. But it also crashed back rather dramatically before going back to normal.
However, ZCash has a lot in store for us this 2018! It is planning a network upgrade later this year. It will be upgrading from the current release Sprout to the new update Sapling in September this year. Sapling is a hard fork that aims to address problems with performance of shielded transactions. Added security benefits to the entire network is also to be expected with the new update.
The ZCash team posted this illustration on their website:
Graphic from https://z.cash/blog/cultivating-sapling-faster-zksnarks.html
With this update coming up, we can expect to see an effect on ZCash’s value sooner or later.
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