By Lumai Mubanga
The transparency involved in sending and receiving bitcoins in users wallets was a welcome move by many traders, so was its speed and anonymity of senders and receivers on the block chain. However, could something further be done about this advanced new way of transactions? The birth of Zcash proved just that.
Zcash immerged as a fork on the bitcoin block chain. Launched in October 2016, it had notable features that set it apart from bitcoin. These are the features that made users fall in love with it besides other factors.
To begin with, it rans on the consensus algorithm Proof of Work (PoW). It evolved from Zerocoin protocol, which was a project that focused on improving user anonymity for bitcoin users. In trying to attain some bitcoin protocols like radical levels of transparency and decentralization, the developers endeavored to add some level of privacy safeguards through anonymity. This led to the birth of Zcash.
In an attempt to increase and improve the privacy levels above that of bitcoins, Zcash developers incorporated a number of different technologies into the existing protocols. The final protocol presented a number of core features such as the zk-SNARKs, Miners, Nodes and the existing proof of work consensus mechanism. What are these and how did they make Zcash different?
- Zk-SNARKs stands for Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge. Remember that the ideas behind Zcash creation were to increase levels of privacy. What this does is to obscure addresses and amounts of funds in the transactions. While these are visible on the bitcoin network, you can simply not see the amount or address of the senders in Zcash transactions. This encrypting feature, also known as “shielding”, is an optional feature for users. A user is either at liberty to turn it “on”, or “off”.
- Miners. Like the mining of bitcoin, miners here play the same role and are rewarded for their work with minted ZEC. A 50 per cent block reward reduction occurs every after four years similar to the halving in bitcoins.
- The first halving of ZEC is actually expected later this year (Oct 2020.
- Equihash is proof of work algorithm used in the Zcash protocol. ZEC developers retained it because of its verification efficiency on the bitcoin network. This enhances two more powerful features found on the bitcoin namely Mining and PoW.
Thus, from its inception to date (May 2020), ZEC has immerged as a preferred cryptocurrency in addition to other bitcoin related coins. A number of the event have been associated with this coin, which makes it desirable to a number of users. For example, last year the company that created ZEC was a rebranding of, and the first Zcash node software was released.
In addition, as mentioned earlier, Zcash halving is expected later this year. This will reduce the block rewards from the current 12.5 ZEC to 6.25 ZEC. Will this halving happening this month (May 2020) for bitcoin have the same effects as the bitcoin halving? Only time will tell.