Zcash (ZEC) is a project that was in development very early in the life of the crypto market, and inherits much from a previous initiative: Zerocoin. Zcash was released in October 2016 and has garnered much attention for its work on zk-SNARKs, a pioneering privacy protocol that is being reviewed by other cryptocurrency projects as well.
Zcash is a privacy focused token, and lets users completely shield transaction information. However, there is the option to send transactions with selectively disclosed information as well, such as for when the data may be needed for audits.
Zcash’s founder Zooko Wilcox, who is a respected voice in the cryptocurrency space, has described the project as being a global, permissionless blockchain that can effectively shield transaction data. The origins of the project go far back to the 1980s, when zero-knowledge proofs were invented. Zcash improves upon ideas laid in the work of zerocoin.
The most anticipated update arriving on Zcash’s roadmap is its Blossom phase, where it introduces such features as harmony mining, shorter block times and increasing the transparency of the funding streams. Harmony mining in particular is an interesting development, as it is catering to both ASIC and GPU miners. It is a dual PoW scheme algorithm that is designed to work with existing mining equipment, as well as GPUs on a shorter time scale. This is intended to make the network more democratic.
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