Firo (previously Zcoin XCZ) is a privacy token founded in 2016 by Poramin Insom. The network uses the Zerocoin protocol, one of the earliest protocols attempting to offer full privacy, to shield transaction data. It was the first cryptocurrency project to implement the Zerocoin protocol. Early investors include Roger Ver.
The Zerocoin protocol uses zero-knowledge proofs to hide transaction data. Tokens undergo a process of minting burning. The XZC tokens that users have is spent and converted into Zerocoins and because the past history is erased, there is no link to the original sender.
Zcoin does not integrate Tor or a VPN, instead using the Dandelion protocol to mask the IP address of the sender. While Zcoin does use the Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism, the development team has implemented Merkle Tree Proofs to allow more individuals a better chance at mining, by making the mining process more memory intensive and deterring the use of ASICs.
2019 is an important year for Zcoin, largely because of one reason: the project is implementing a new type of zero-knowledge proof that “does not require a trusted setup and offer improved performance and privacy.” Called the Sigma protocol, this is a monumental shift for the project, and according to the team makes the network much more scalable and private. The new protocol is expected to be released in 2019. Moving into 2020, the team will focus on, among other things, smart contracts, scaling solutions and quantum resistance research.