The Zerocoin protocol was written in 2013 as a privacy-enhancing layer intended for Bitcoin. But as a stand-alone protocol, it’s also been up-for-grabs for any other enterprising coin. Gary Le and Poramin Insom have taken that grab, today launching the testnet of a new cryptocurrency called Moneta.
What makes a Moneta token a “zerocoin”? TechCrunch writes that “zerocoins are drawn from a collective escrow pool which is defined, notated, and maintained on the host currency’s blockchain, and each coin’s transaction history is erased when it emerges from the pool.” Zerocoins have existed only in theory until today, and Moneta’s Poramin Insom confirms:
“We are the world’s first cryptocurrency to implement the Zerocoin Protocol.”
Bitcoin.com has the exclusive Moneta release interview with co-founders Le and Insom.
Bitcoin.com (BC): The predictable response from many in the cryptocommunity will surely be “Not another altcoin!” Is Moneta just another altcoin? Why or why not?
Gary Le (GL): Anyone can create an altcoin in five minutes by tweaking a few parameters. However, creating an altcoin that does something truly new and unique is much more difficult.
The implementation of Zerocoin has been one of the most looked-forward-to innovations in the Bitcoin community since 2013. However, nobody has been able to implement the protocol into functional software until today.
We have created what is by far the world’s most private financial network. By implementing the Zerocoin Protocol, Moneta offers a unique value proposition. Through zero-knowledge proofs, one’s financial transactions are kept completely private and anonymous. When Moneta is used properly, privacy cannot be broken by inspection of the blockchain.
Moneta is the closest that one can get to an ideal private financial network. The only way to break privacy is by hacking a user’s private keys.
BC: Please describe what the Zerocoin protocol is and does.
Poramin Insom (PI): The Zerocoin Protocol harnesses the power of Zero-Knowledge proofs to ensure complete financial privacy. Zero-Knowledge proofs is a cryptographic method by which one party (the prover) can prove to another party (the verifier) that a
given statement is true, without conveying any information apart from the fact that the statement is indeed true. In the context of Zerocoin, Zero-knowledge proofs allow for financial transactions to occur with the only public information being that money was indeed sent or received.
The Zerocoin protocol features two major parts. The first major part is the “mint” transaction, which turns a public coin with transaction history into a completely private coin that is stored in an accumulator. The second major component is the “spend” transaction, which allows you to create a new coin that has no transaction history by proving that you own one of the coins in the accumulator. This works through the “magic” of cryptographic zero-knowledge proofs.
“The Zerocoin protocol is far more effective in ensuring financial privacy than any other mechanism, because it allows for a vast anonymity set. The anonymity set is one of the key metrics for understanding how private a payment system is.”
The reason that Moneta can have such a large anonymity set size is because it features zero knowledge proofs and an efficient data structure called a one-way accumulator, which allows for an extremely efficient storage of “coins”. As a result, the anonymity set size can be several ten thousands, in contrast to preceding cryptocurrency mechanisms which are only capable of anonymity set sizes of several hundred. Thus, our potential anonymity set is on the magnitude of more than 100 times greater than any other cryptocurrency.
BC: What are Moneta’s specs, as in mining type, coin production rate, production cap, hashing algorithm(s), etc?
GL: This will be finalized and announced on a future date, when we release the genesis block for the realnet.
BC: How has Moneta’s development been funded?
GL: We hope to see more exciting innovations in cryptocurrency systems implemented at the protocol level. And we hope that cryptocurrencies and blockchain can become more widely used.
BC: What type of participation are you hoping to get during your testnet phase?
PI: As the creator of a different cryptocurrency experiment which was briefly the world’s 4th most valuable cryptocurrency in Febuary, 2014, my greatest joy was having the community participate in my project.
“First, we would like to invite the cryptocurrency community to help test for bugs and give us feedback on our software usability. We have a bounty program in place to help incentivize bug-finding.”
Secondly, we would like to invite the community to get involved in our project. If you are a talented developer or designer ( even including website developers and designers ), we would love to hear from you. There will be extra Moneta coins rewarded to those that can help significantly contribute to our project. If you think you can help in some other way, we would also love to hear from you.
BC: What are some of your current favorite crypto-related projects right now other than Moneta?
GL: OpenBazaar, because it is helping to bring freedom of commerce to the masses, through decentralized marketplaces.
Ethereum, because Vitalik does a good job at experimenting with possible innovations in cryptocurrency systems at the protocol level.
Moneta’s testnet is now launched. You can participate in the network and/or bug bounties by visiting Moneta’s homepage.
What do you think of the Zerocoin protocol? Share below!
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