What is ZCash (ZEC)?

ZCash appeared in 2016 when a group of scientists decided to create a cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin but with some additional features. They have developed a fork of the Bitcoin blockchain, with improved security and anonymity for users. Scientists first invented Zerocoin, which became Zerocash shortly after its initial release. Eventually, the cryptocurrency was renamed ZCash.

Key points to remember

  • ZCash is a Bitcoin fork with different hashing algorithm and security protocols.
  • ZCash started as Zerocash; it was later upgraded by the Electric Coin Company and rebranded as ZCash.
  • ZCash verifies ownership of coins and transactions more anonymously than Bitcoin, providing more security for users.
  • Zcoin can be mined on devices and computers, but the currency is best mined on dedicated systems called application-specific integrated circuits.

Understanding ZCash (ZEC)

ZCash is derived from the original Bitcoin codebase. In 2014, Eli Ben-Sasson, Alessandro Chiesa, Christina Garman, Matthew Green, Ian Miers, Eran Tromer, and Madars Virza believed there were security flaws in the way transactions were tracked through Bitcoin’s blockchain. In their white paper outlining their ideas, they called their cryptocurrency Zerocash.

Scientists established the Zerocoin Electric Coin Company in 2015. In 2016 the name was changed to Zcash and the company was renamed Electric Coin Company.

ZCash uses the zk-SNARK security protocol to ensure that the parties involved in a transaction are verified without revealing any information to each other or to the network.

ZCash is an altcoin, a category of cryptocurrency that shares many characteristics of Bitcoin. Many altcoins are different in their purpose and intended uses.

Zk-Snark allows fully protected transactions in which sender, receiver and amount are encrypted. This feature is a big departure from other cryptocurrencies, where transaction transparency is an underlying concept in addition to securing user information.

How is ZCash different from Bitcoin?

The Bitcoin community prides itself on transparent transactions while maintaining anonymity. However, anyone interested or having an interest in a transaction could trace the parties involved.

ZCash does not eliminate transaction information. Instead, it encrypts it so it can’t be tracked. The ZCash blockchain is still encrypted, but the zk-SNARK security protocol adds additional security and anonymity to users.

Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 hash algorithm. ZCash uses Equihash, which is incompatible with hardware and software designed for Bitcoin mining. It also has larger blocks and increased hash times, which increases the hash rate of the network. The hash rate of a cryptocurrency is the processing power of the network of miners – it is a measure of how quickly transactions can be verified and validated to open a new block.

Joining a mining pool is one of the best ways to enjoy mining ZCash. Efficiency and opportunities for gain are increased when resources are pooled.

Hashing is the process used to convert data into a string of alphanumeric characters. The string of numbers is unique because it is created from the block data. Once hashed, it cannot be replicated. The hashing algorithm is the mathematical method used to create the alphanumeric string, also known as hashing.

Objectives of ZCash

ZCash was designed to be efficient, safe and anonymous. The developers behind ZCash also encourage compliance with regulatory requirements. Additionally, you can choose full transparency when using ZCash, in which case its transparency is similar to that of Bitcoin during transfers.

How to mine ZCash

New coins are produced by mining. You can use an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miner or your computer if it has a capable graphics card to mine. Operating systems supported by ZCash are Docker, Debian/Ubuntu, Mac and other Linux flavors. However, ZCash recommends using an ASIC miner and mining pool because the network difficulty has become high enough that PC mining is not worth the time and cost.

ZCash uses a proof-of-work mining algorithm, which forces miners to compete against each other to produce a new block by racing to solve the hash. The first miner to find the solution opens a new block and receives the block reward.

How much ZCash is left?

ZCash has a maximum supply of 21 million coins, with 13.7 million in circulation. Once there are 21 million ZCash in circulation, you will not be able to mine any more and you will only be able to acquire them by buying them on an exchange or from an individual.

Is ZCash safe?

ZCash is safe in the sense that it hides and protects your information.

Does ZCash use proof of work?

Yes, it uses Equihash, a proof-of-work mining algorithm based on the concept of the generalized birthday problem.

Investing in cryptocurrencies and other initial coin offerings (“ICOs”) is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the author to invest in cryptocurrencies or other ICOs. Since each individual’s situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decision. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of any information contained herein.