Zcash is a decentralized cyptocurrency. It is available as an open source currency and, yet, is selectively transparent when it comes to transactions. This is possible because Zcash transactions are recorded on a public blockchain but the sender, receiver and the amount of transaction is kept private.
The Zcash was developed by Zcash Electric Coin Company based on peer-reviewed cryptographic research. It was created by a security-specialized team of engineers on an open source platform using Bitcoin Core’s battle-tested codebase as the founding stone.
The initial planning took pace in 2014 itself, among a group of Zerocoin researchers (at Johns Hopkins University) and a group of cryptographers (at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology). These groups agreed upon a plan that was a marked development in the Bitcoin industry and covered all its weaknesses in one go.
The Zcash project was formally announced by CEO Zooko Wilcox-O’Hearn on Jan 20, 2016, as an evolution of the existing Zerocoin project. Later, the project was no longer regarded as an “Add-on” to Bitcoin; instead, it developed into a full-fledged cryptocurrency using Zerocash Protocol as its basis.
Thanks to Zcash, the Zerocash Protocol has emerged as one of the most promising evolution in the cryptocurrency arena.
What is Zerocash Protocol?
The Zerocash (Zcash) Protocol is a privacy-preserving version of bitcoin. It is a one-stop solution to bitcoin’s major weakness, that the transactions are visible to anybody. Payments made using Zcash keep the destination, source and amount of transaction secret. And further, the validation of transaction is done using “zero-knowledge proof” where users simply prove that the values balance out and that they are not double-spending.
All that users have to do is they have to convert their basecoins to zerocoins and then tansact under the Zcash Protocol.
The Technicalities of Zcash
- Zcash currently works over Linux only.
- It depends on Oracle Berkeley DB 6.2.x, which is licensed under the GNU AGPL.
- The codes are fabricated using C++.
- Zcash is presently immature and experimental. Hence, involves its own risks.
Since Zcash is in its Alpha version now, it can be procured through mining only. Miners thus rolled their sleeves up, since the launch of Zcash.
Mining of Zcash is slightly different. It comes with an implemented “mining slow start” feature. With this exclusive feature, the block rewards with gradually rise till 5000 blocks before touching the maximum value. This cleverly minimizes the “race to start” by providing a window after production launch during which the reward is low.
Zcash’s exclusive cryptography
The cryptography of Zcash is as unique as its specialities. To provide private and encrypted transactions, the firm uses a novel method to validate and verify transactions. It uses zk-SNARK, developed by a team of cryptographers, which is a zero-knowledge proof construction (as discussed in brief above).Instead of publicly demonstrating spend-authority and transaction values, the transaction metadata is encrypted and zk-SNARKs are used to prove that nobody is cheating or stealing.