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Relevant Zcash Links
Zcash’s Blockchain Use Case
Zcash describes itself as a decentralized and open-source cryptocurrency that offers privacy and selective transparency of transactions. Although Zcash payments are published on a public blockchain, the sender, recipient, and amount of a transaction are private.
Zcash’s improvement over Bitcoin is the inclusion of privacy. Zcash uses advanced cryptographic techniques, known as zero-knowledge proofs, to guarantee the validity of transactions without revealing additional information about them.
ZEC uses a zero-knowledge proof construction called a zk-SNARK. This allows the network to maintain a secure ledger of balances without disclosing the parties or amounts involved. 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.
Development and Management Team Behind Zcash
Zcash is an open sourced project being led by Founder and CEO Zooko Wilcox. Zooko is a well know computer security specialist and the designer of multiple network protocols that incorporate concepts such as self-contained economies. Additionally, he is a member of the development team of the BLAKE2 cryptographic hash function and ZRTP.
The Zcash team has a number of accomplished scientists and engineers that are equally as impressive outside of Zooko. The team also has an outside legal counsel which is not very common in the cryptocurrency space. Additionally, Zcash’s advisors include Gavin Andresen from the Bitcoin Foundation, Vitalik Buterin from Etherum and Arthur Breitman from Tezos.
Partnerships and Other Influences
Legitimate business partnerships are always a good sign for a cryptocurrency. Additionally, partnerships can increase visibility of the project and expand the user base of the network.
Recently, Zcash announced a partnership with StarkWare industries. The company focuses on cryptography and was founded by former ZCash developers and scientists. The partnership is now attempting to unroll Stark’s technology on Zcash’s network.
ZEC also recently partnered with a startup called AirTM with the goal to help Venezuelans convert their local currency to USD undetected.
Additionally, Zcash is collaborating with Ethereum on project ZoE (Zcash on Ethereum) which aims to incorporate zk-SNARKS on the Ethereum network. The two cryptocurrencies are also working on Project Alchemy which is attempting to build an atomic swap without a centralized entity that manages trade.
Finally, Zcash received some praise from Edward Snowden in late 2017. Snowden lauds the cryptocurrency’s Zero-knowledge proofs and privacy features:
Competitive Advantages and Risks of Zcash
The following are Zcash’s main competitors:
Competitive Advantages of Zcash
What differentiates Zcash? What advantages does this project possess? The first advantage is the team behind ZEC. As mentioned earlier, it is a very impressive group which is making serious progress since the project’s inception. The second and most important advantage is zk-SNARKs (also known as “Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge”). Many do not understand what the zk-SNARK is or how it operates but it is truly a differentiation in the space in terms of privacy.
Also, Gemini announced that in May 2018 they will be supporting ZEC trading on its platform. Tyler Winklevoss, CEO of Gemini, said,
“We are proud be the first licensed exchange in the world to offer Zcash trading and custody services and look forward to providing customers with a safe, secure, and regulated place to buy, sell, and store Zcash, an incredible new form of digital cash.”
This is important for ZEC because it allows more investors the opportunity to purchase the cryptocurrency more easily. Many investors only have Gemini or Coinbase accounts so this allows those users the opportunity to purchase a cryptocurrency they previously did not have access to. As this was announced, the price of ZEC increased nearly 50%!
Risks of Zcash
The biggest risk associated with Zcash is regulation. Regulators are currently scrambling to come up with some laws and guidelines related to cryptocurrencies but it will be interesting to see how they treat privacy coins such as ZEC. Many speculate that regulators will crack down on privacy coins harder since it will be tougher for agencies such as the IRS to track payments. Regulators may force users to declare all of their transactions and wallet information which will defeat the privacy aspect to a degree. We will have to stay up to day regarding regulation and privacy coins to see the impact.
Zcash Network and User Trends
Network hashrate is important to look at. An upwards movement in hashrate may signal that miners are bullish on the project. They are choosing to direct their computing power to this network as opposed to others.
Hashrate has increased by nearly 658% over the last year and is up by almost 20% over the last month. Competitors like Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Monero have seen larger increases in hashrate over both the short and long-term. Zcash is definitely one of the top coins that miners are targeting right now.
We can also take a look at the amount of transactions that the network is processing daily. An increasing number of daily transactions is a good sign because it means that more users are utilizing it for its intended purpose.
Over the last year the amount of daily transactions has increased by almost 100%. This is on par with the other privacy coins like Monero and Dash. Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin are doing slightly better in this category.
The project does seem to have a lot of activity on social media, especially as of late. CryptoCompare shows a total score of over 500,000 which is impressive. It shows there is a lot of discussion around the project online and many people are interested in the cryptocurreny. The community is also very strong on forums and blogs which is very impressive. The coin has over 7,300 Code Repository Points which is great as well.
Zcash is an open-sourced cryptocurrency that offers privacy and selective transparency of transactions.
It can be argued that ZCash does a better job of obfuscating payment addresses and hiding transactional data on its blockchain compared to some competitors such as Dash. If users really want to keep their information private, they will probably choose to use this privacy focused cryptocurrency instead of its competitors.
Zcash holds a big competitive advantages in the privacy coin space for multiple reasons such as the dedicated development & management team, the proprietary zk-SNARKs and the announced partnerships.