On October 28 the Zcash (ZEC) project will release its genesis block into the wild. There’s a lot of anticipation for this project, because it will deploy zero-knowledge security. Thanks to this, developers believe Zcash will be a truly anonymous ledger that doesn’t leak or reveal transaction data.
The Upcoming Zcash Project Launch
The Zero Knowledge Proof cryptocurrency concept comes from the Johns Hopkins University Department of Computer Science, which inspired the Zcash project. Evolving from this research, CEO Zooko Wilcox announced Zcash on January 20, 2016. Zcash utilizes zk-SNARKs as a method of providing zero knowledge proofs to the independent blockchain.
Zcash has many properties that exist in the Bitcoin framework, but it allows for anonymous transactions within a public blockchain. Zcash miners will be using the hashing algorithm “Equihash”. Just recently, the mining operation Genesis Mining offered 1-year optimized GPU mining, selling out several contracts.
The project will not include a graphical user interface and the launch will be the first “Sprout Series” release. This means the release is the nascent Zcash blockchain’s initial sprouting phase. After the launch, project leaders explained the platform will be available to anyone.
When the Zcash genesis block is launched, anyone in the world will be able to mine Zcash, and users will be able to send it to anyone in the world with the advantage of full zero-knowledge privacy.
The Essence of Zero Knowledge Proofs
A zero-knowledge protocol is a method where two parties receive verified information without knowing who each other are, or seeing the subsequent data exchange. The cryptography involved is complex — swapping validated information without any other knowledge. A variant of this cryptography is zk-SNARKs, or what’s called non-interactive zero-knowledge proofs. This type of proof has a method that requires no reciprocal action between the two parties Zcash transactions.
The method first appeared as the Zerocoin protocol — actually as an implementation for the Bitcoin network. Christina Garman, Ian Miers and Professor Matthew D. Green from Johns Hopkins University drafted the idea. Zcash uses its own native token, as the protocol can be integrated into any cryptocurrency. Other projects in the cryptocurrency space also use this anonymity method, such as ZCoin (a Moneta rebrand) and also Komodo.
Zcash is popular for a yet-to-launch project. It also has significant backing investors, such as the Digital Currency Group. Other investors including Pantera Capital and Fenbushi Capital are also on board. With a total sum of $1 million, the project’s capital injections give Zcash added funds to expand and scale. Project leaders said they’ve spent a quarter of the venture capital on auditing firms, providing more security.
There have been unconfirmed reports that Zcash could be pricey on release day. But many believe the market will assess its value over the course of the first month. Miners have been gearing up in significant number to mine the coin’s testnet, according to its Telegram channel and various social media sources.
Competitive Privacy-Centric Projects and a ‘Privacy-Preserving Variant of the Bitcoin Software’
The project will have to battle through the swarm of other privacy-centric cryptocurrencies. There is now a vast array of anonymous digital currencies such as Monero, Dash, BitcoinDark, Shadowcash, Boolberry, Dark Silk and others. All these networks use different methods of concealment when processing transactions across their blockchains. For example, some use a cryptographic method called Ring Signatures, while others use coin tumbling variants.
Zcash aims to provide deeper anonymity with its variation of the Zero Knowledge protocol, but there’s no guarantee of success. Bitcoin developer Peter Todd has been skeptical about the project while others like Vitalik Buterin have defended it. zk-SNARKs have also been tested within the Ethereum framework.
Wilcox and Zcash supporters believe it will succeed over time, cooperating with the Bitcoin network. The public will scrutinize the project for sure, as soon as the launch begins. Many will be curious to see how well it performs anonymous transactions and whether or not the network will be sustainable.
“Zcash is a project to create a new currency for the Internet, inspired by Bitcoin,” Wilcox told the public. “The improvement that we are adding is privacy—We have made scientific advances in the underlying mathematics, and built a working, privacy-preserving variant of the Bitcoin software.”
What do you think about Zcash and its upcoming release? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Shutterstock, and the Zcash Website.
Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com owner Roger Ver is invested in Zcash.
Do you want to talk about bitcoin in a comfortable (and censorship-free) environment? Check out the Bitcoin.com Forums — all the big players in Bitcoin have posted there, and we welcome all opinions.