Over the last several years, the number of digital currencies has skyrocketed. While some of these have developed substantial market capitalizations and carved out their own unique niches, few have shown promise for offering users a high level of privacy and fungibility. Zcash’s technology seemingly gives users the ability to enjoy an even greater level of privacy. By allowing users to remain anonymous, Zcash can provide them with greater fungibility.
What is Zcash?
Zcash (ZEC) is a cryptocurrency that grew out of the Zerocoin project. It is the first open-source and decentralized cryptocurrency offering strong privacy in the form of shielded transactions, which are made possible by a novel form of zero-knowledge cryptography called zk-SNARKs. Like Bitcoin, Zcash payments are published on a public blockchain, except the sender, recipient, and amount of a transaction may remain fully private.
Zcash is set to launch on the 28th of October 2016 and has a hefty heavyweight team working on it and backing it. These include names such as Roger Ver and Barry Seibert as well as Pantera Capital. The code is open source which is unusual as the Company - run by Zooko Wilcox, a 41-year-old cryptographer - will expect to give 10% of the coins for funding costs and 1% for non-profit organizations.
The Zcash total coin supply is going to be 21 million like Bitcoin, and it even follows the same issuance rate with 21m ZEC being issued over 131 years, but instead of having 10-minute blocks, ZCash will have 2.5-minute block average with 4 times bigger block rewards that have every 4 years.
How the market works
While ZEC is far newer to the scene than some digital currencies like bitcoin, its market functions in a similar fashion. Traders can buy and sell it outright through exchanges like Poloniex and Kraken.
ZEC has been available for trade since 28th October 2016, when the Zcash genesis block was mined and the first tokens became exchange listed.
Before ZEC tokens began trading on exchanges, interested investors could buy or sell Zcash futures on BitMEX, where they trade under the ZECZ16 contract. This contract, which went live on BitMEX 15th September, uses ZEC/XBT as the underlying currency pair. Traders can use these futures to either speculate on the future value of Zcash or hedge their existing holdings of ZEC tokens.
Before futures trading became available, interested parties could gain exposure to Zcash tokens by mining them.
Like many other digital currencies, Zcash offers interested parties the ability to mine blocks. The Zerocash protocol harnesses a proof-of-work algorithm which relies on how much RAM a miner owns.
On 9th September, Zcash announced the first beta release of the Zcash reference implementation (v1.0.0-beta1), which it deployed to the testnet. All coins mined using this software remained testnet coins, and therefore had no monetary value, until Zcash’s official launch in October.
Following this release, the digital currency attracted a tight-knit group of developers. On 27th September, Zcash announced that it was hosting a challenge whereby competitors could submit new methods for mining the currency. These participants were given until 27th October to provide new potential methods.
On 5th October, hosted mining firm Genesis Mining showed its support for the privacy-focused digital currency when it announced that it would soon allow customers to purchase miners operated by Genesis for the sake of mining Zcash.
There are several types of wallets available for you to download to hold your Zcash.
Internet Wallets - Are the fastest way to start accepting Zcash. Many of the websites below also have an App you can download for your phone to manage your Zcash. Be sure to use strong passwords and enable 2-factor authentication when it is available. CryptoCompare has a nice guide to help you research before choosing.
Hardware Wallets - Hardware wallets are the safest way to store your Zcash and other crypto-currencies. The main drawback (for now) is that they only support Zcash Transparent Addresses and they cost between $40-$99. You purchase a physical device which has a number of safeguards to prevent theft and have emergency steps you can take to recover your Zcash if your device is lost.
Local Wallets - These Wallets run the Zcash client and a full network node on your Computer. These are a little more technical to set-up and use.
Exchange Wallets - Exchange wallets are one of the easiest to set up because all you have to do is create an account with one of the many Exchanges that support Zcash. After you create an account it is very simple to generate an address to receive/spend or trade Zcash. No exchanges currently support Zcash Private Addresses.
Below you can find a list of Places to Buy, Sell and Trade Zcash.
(Sorted by coinmarketcap.com Average Volume)
Other Platforms to buy Zcash