Anonymizing transactions in Bitcoin can be quite a headache. There are so many checks before you are sure of anonymity. So, why not use a cryptocurrency that guarantees your total anonymity instead?
Some think that anonymity is for criminals, it couldn’t be further from the truth. You can be robbed or even kidnapped when you don’t have financial privacy. The truth is that, in this data-centric world, financial transaction data should be most secure.
You see, some of the things we shop are can be sensitive, especially when we shop via credit cards. They leave digital trails within merchant systems and in case the billing servers get hacked, they expose our personal data to the public. The repercussions of such an expose put our relationships and careers into jeopardy. It’s, therefore, necessary to stay private.
Now, to prevent the likelihood of such a scenario when working with crypto, there are two cryptocurrencies that could hold you down whenever you want to go private. That is, Monero and Zcash. Today, we shall be discussing Zcash.
What Is Zcash?
Just like bitcoin, Zcash is peer to peer. However, unlike the pioneer cryptocurrency, it prioritizes on anonymous, private and fungible transactions that can’t be done via bitcoin.
Previously known as Zerocoin, the cryptocurrency was forked out of bitcoin and launched in October 2016. Its protocol is unique from the rest of cryptocurrencies in that it shields sender information, the receiver information and amount transacted between the two.
Zcash uses an open cryptocurrency project called the zk-SNARK protocol. The protocol is a zero-knowledge proof protocol which ensures not just anonymity but privacy and fungibility of its coins.
It’s important to note that Zcash does not provide anonymity by default but has a transparent transaction functionality like major currencies. The currency has privacy features and anonymity by design for users who want to use them.
Who Created Zcash?
Zcash was initially known as Zerocoin and was developed way back in 1980 by Mathew green, presently a Professor at John Hopkins University. Back then, he was still a student at the university. Zerocoin as it was known then employed sophisticated techniques called zero-knowledge proofs for it to conduct Blockchain transactions. The work of the knowledge proofs is to ensure transactions remain anonymous even when visible on the decentralized ledger.
But the protocol had several setbacks as outlined in Zcash whitepaper. Therefore, zk-SNARK was born.
How Zcash Works
The zk-SNARK protocol was developed in 2014 by research cryptographers and scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), John Hopkins University and Tel Aviv University.
The currency works on a zero-knowledge proof construction. The construction allows for a secure ledger of balances without the need of disclosing the amounts involved or the parties participating. Instead of demonstrating the transaction values and spend authority, the transaction metadata is encrypted and the zk-SNARK used to prove that nobody’s cheating.
Just as bitcoin does, Zcash enables users to send public payments. Users have the option to choose the private or public transactions with the help of transparent and shielded addresses.
Payments from a shielded address to a transparent addresses reveal the received balance while payments from a transparent address to a shielded one are protected.