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What Is Zcash? Why Edward Snowden Calls It The “Most Interesting Bitcoin Alternative”?

In the recent years, we have seen a rapid germination of a variety of cryptocurrencies that posed themselves as bitcoin alternatives. Most of these digital coins focused on the privacy aspect and pitted themselves as the most secure option available.

What is Zcash? What’s so special about it?

Zcash, one such Bitcoin alternative, grew out of the Zerocoin project. While Bitcoin is based on the decentralized blockchain, you can follow someone’s bitcoin address and see their transactions and the movement of money. With Zcash, this information is encrypted, and users get a promise of a deeper sense of security. On a side note, Monero is another privacy-focused, popular bitcoin alternative.

The backbone of Zcash protocol is zk-SNARK, which is an acronym for “zero-knowledge Succinct Non-interactive ARgument of Knowledge.” In simpler language, zk-SNARK could be seen as a new form of “zero-knowledge cryptography” which ensures that the transactions in Zcash are fully encrypted on the blockchain and confidentiality of transaction metadata is preserved.

zk-SNARK is a “special proof of construction” where one can prove the possession of secret information without revealing that. It also removes the need for any interaction between prover and verifier.

For example: With just the hash of a random number, the verifier could be convinced that there exists a number with that hash value; there’s no need to reveal the random number.

Image: Z.Cash
Image: Z.Cash

“In order to remain equally interchangeable, units of cryptocurrency must be unlinked from their history so that one unit is as good as any other unit. Zcash brings fungibility to cryptocurrency by unlinking shielded coins from their history on the blockchain,” Zcash’s website states.

What is Zcash’s current scenario? Why is Edward Snowden praising it?

Currently, Zcash is trading around $280, which makes it the 14th-largest cryptocurrency by market cap.

In a recent development, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden praised this digital bitcoin alternative and called Zcash the “most interesting bitcoin alternative.” Edward Snowden shared his thoughts in a tweet. “Bitcoin is great, but “if it’s not private, it’s not safe,” he added.

Snowden was replying to a tweet from technologist Mason Borda, who said: “Zcash is the only altcoin (that I know of) designed and built by professional and academic cryptographers. Hard to ignore.”

If we take a look at the point outlined by Snowden, bitcoin isn’t an absolutely anonymous crypto coin. The identities of individual wallet holders could be established using the blockchain tracking. There are few paid services as well to mask bitcoin transactions.

Snowden also expressed his views on Monero, expressing his faith in Zcash as it was created by professional academic cryptographers.

Which is the most interesting bitcoin alternative in your opinion? Don’t forget to share your views with us.

 

Neha Sharma

Software Developer at MVP Studio (Auckland,NZ).

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