When we hear the term cryptocurrency, the first thing that comes to our mind is Bitcoin. Despite its security issue, Bitcoin has become the most popular digital coin in recent years. Focusing on this privacy aspect, there has been a rapid growth of cryptocurrencies that claimed themselves as the most secure Bitcoin alternatives. One of them is Zcash, decentralized and open-source digital money that claims to ensure complete privacy and selective transparency of transactions.
What is Zcash?
Grew out of the Zerocoin project, Zcash is a privacy-centric cryptocurrency based on a blockchain, a public accounting ledger that keeps an eye on virtual currencies, letting people purchase and sell those currencies without the help of a middle-man, such as a bank.
Zcash is quite similar to Bitcoin. However, unlike Bitcoin, Zcash’s information is fully encrypted. It means no one can follow someone’s digital money address and see their transactions and movement of money.
How does it work?
Zcash encrypts the content of transactions using a zero-knowledge cryptography called zk-SNARK, which stands for “zero-knowledge Succinct Non-interactive ARgument of Knowledge.” Using zk-SNARK, the network maintains a secure ledger of balances without sharing the amount or the person involved.
Similar to Bitcoin, you can send public payments. However, you can choose to send Zcash privately or publicly with the help of both shielded and transparent addresses. If you transfer Zcash payment from a shielded address to a transparent address, the receiving value will be disclosed, whereas, it will be protected if you send payment from a transparent address to a shielded address.
Currently, Zcash is the 14th-largest cryptocurrency, trading around $280.
Even Snowden loves it
When it comes to user privacy, Zcash has successfully impressed a lot of people as a Bitcoin alternative, including Edward Snowden. In a recent development, this NSA whistleblower called it the “most interesting bitcoin alternative.” Recently, he shared his thoughts in a tweet, saying “Bitcoin is great, but “if it’s not private, it’s not safe.”
Agree. Zcash's privacy tech makes it the most interesting Bitcoin alternative. Bitcoin is great, but "if it's not private, it's not safe." https://t.co/HqwQOvSCiz
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 28, 2017
We are in a critical era of technology where anything can be hacked, even a pacemaker that controls your heart function. Digital money is taking the place of physical money, making it easier for the hacker to steal it. In these circumstances, Zcash could be a secure substitute of Bitcoin.