The developers of Zcash are on a mission to provide anonymity to cryptocurrency transactions and the team has been working with Ethereum developers to create the ‘HTTPS’ for Bitcoin’s internet of money.
Zcash & Ethereum: Birth of ‘Baby ZoE’
This past July, Zcash developer Sean Bowe explained via the team’s blog that a group of programmers met at Cornell University to implement zk-SNARKs to the Ethereum protocol.
During the Ethereum/IC3 Bootcamp at Cornell, developers Vitalik Buterin, Sean Bowe, Eran Tromer, and Andrew Miller convened to develop anonymous transactions on top of the Ethereum blockchain. Zk-SNARKs is the cryptographic framework beneath the Zcash protocol.
The demonstration of using a zkSNARK verifier within Ethereum has been dubbed “baby ZoE” for Zerocash over Ethereum. It uses a primitive coin mixing contract using the Zerocash academic protocol. The demonstration contract allowed developers the ability to deposit and withdraw discrete amounts of Ether. The meetup at Cornell seems to have been a successful mission for the group of programmers, and the code that was worked on can be viewed here.
Essentially the technology is proofs that perform computational transactions without revealing all of the inputs broadcasted with the transaction. This will provide greater privacy to individuals and groups using this protocol the developers explain and can also reduce the “verification cost of complicated smart contracts.”
Sean Bowe explains what the programmers worked on during the boot camp event at Cornell:
In our work this week, we extended the Ethereum contract language to efficiently support verification of zkSNARK proofs. Specifically, we added a snarkverify precompile (like an opcode) to a fork of Parity which uses libsnark to verify generic proofs.—The idea of integrating Zerocash into a currency using a SNARK verification opcode goes back to the original Zerocash paper (Section 6.3 in Zerocash extended version). Following this prescription, it is possible to extend the ZoE contract to work with the complete Zerocash protocol.
‘All Coins Are Created Equal’
As well as Ethereum’s blockchain, Zcash implementation will also be able to work with other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. The team’s motto explains that with Zcash “all coins are created equal.”
“The ethos of Zcash is to be very inclusive and welcoming,” Bowe explains in his blog. “What we care about is building privacy-enhancing technology, full stop. Whether that’s done through a sidechain, through an altcoin, whatever.”
The Bitcoin community has also been anticipating the full launch of this project as it has been in stealth mode for a couple of years now. The protocol, which deploys a “zero-knowledge proof” alternative uses its own blockchain instead of being tethered directly to Ethereum, and Bitcoin’s public ledgers.
What’s more is that the project was recently given props by the infamous whistleblower Edward Snowden via Twitter. Additionally, the platform has a slew of investors including Pantera Capital’s Dan Morehead and Digital Currency Group’s Barry Silbert, among others.
Morehead is excited to see the opportunities this application brings to the world stating:
Technically, it’s a challenge to have fungibility in a shared blockchain, yet money requires fungibility. It’s exciting to see the Zcash team working toward adding real fungibility to blockchains and with the strength and talent of this team, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
‘Bitcoin is HTTP for Money; Zcash is HTTPS’
Sean Bowe says the team enjoys working with a variety of blockchains and different code. The mission is to continue to partner with decentralized projects to bring more privacy to the cryptocurrency community no matter what protocol uses it. Bowe concludes his blog post by saying:
We love contributing to both Bitcoin and Ethereum, and look forward to more collaboration with the broader cryptocurrency community.
What do you think about Zcash working with Ethereum and other blockchain projects? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Zcash Websites, Pixabay, decentralize.today
Disclosure: The Owner of Bitcoin.com Roger Ver is an investor of Zcash