ZCash —— A Privacy-Protecting Digital Currency
- Zcash is a decentralized Proof of Work cryptocurrency focused on privacy and anonymity. It uses the zk-SNARK zero-knowledge proof technology that allows nodes on the network to verify transactions without revealing any sensitive information about those transactions.
- The key feature of Zcash is anonymity. The transaction can automatically hide both parties and the amount of the blockchain transaction, holders of ZEC (tokens in the Zcash system) can observe the associated information by looking at the key. Of course, the user can choose who has the permission.
- ZCash wallet funds are divided into two types: transparent funds and private funds. Transparent funds are similar to Bitcoin funds; private funds enhance privacy. Transactions involving private funds are confidential and unchecked. Transactions between transparent funds are publicly available.
- In the Zcash network, addresses are either private ("z-addresses") or transparent/public ("t-addresses"). These two address types are interoperable.
Zcash is the first blockchain system to use a zk-SNARK zero-knowledge proof technology, which can provide complete payment confidentiality while still being able to use public blockchains to maintain a decentralized network. Zcash transactions automatically hide the sender, receiver, and amount of all transactions on the blockchain. Only those who have the view key can see the content of the transaction. Users have complete control, and they can choose to provide other people with the view key.
ZCash is modified based on the code of bitcoin version 0.11.2. ZCash wallet funds are divided into two types: transparent funds and private funds. Transparent funds are similar to Bitcoin funds; private funds enhance privacy, and transactions involving private funds are confidential and unchecked. Transactions between transparent funds and transparent funds are publicly available.
Contrary to a common misunderstanding, the majority of cryptocurrencies on the market, including Bitcoin (BTC), are not anonymous, but rather pseudonymous; while they do not explicitly reveal the identities of their users, each user has their own public address or addresses which can be traced back to them via the methods of data science and blockchain forensics.
Zcash was founded in 2016 by Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn. He is also the founder of the for-profit Electronic Coin Company (ECC), which manages the development of Zcash.
Zooko Wilcox-O’Hearn has spent more than 25 years in the industry of cryptography and information security and has contributed to a number of projects, like peer-to-peer data storing software Mojo Nation and the Tahoe Least-Authority File Store filesystem.
Nathan Wilcox, CTO of Zcash, is committed to open and secure technology and has more than 10 years of experience in software development, performance analysis and security auditing
Jack Gavigan, Chief Operating Officer, has extensive experience in financial technology, network security and trading systems. He has worked at Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley (also served as a trader).
The biggest feature of Zcash is anonymity. Two technologies are used to achieve true anonymity:
- zk-SNARK zero-knowledge proof technology: zk-SNARK is called zero-knowledge Succinct Non-interactive Argument of Knowledge. Zero-knowledge proof under this technical framework does not require communication between the prover and the verifier. In order to achieve non-interactive functions, zk-SNARKs technology needs to perform initial credibility settings and set a series of public parameters to help the prover construct a zero-knowledge proof, so as to realize completely private transfers. Even if the source and flow of currency information is completely confidential, zero-knowledge proof technology can still verify that the user who spends the money actually owns the currency.
- Public blockchain: Zcash uses a public blockchain for the display of transactions, but it automatically hides the amount of the transaction. Holders of ZEC (tokens in the Zcash system) can observe the associated by viewing the key information.