Zcash is a decentralized and open-source cryptocurrency that offers privacy and selective transparency of transactions. Zcash payments are published on a public blockchain, but the sender, recipient, and amount of a transaction remain private.
Zcash is based on peer-reviewed cryptographic research, and built by a security-specialized engineering team on an open source platform based on Bitcoin Core’s battle-tested codebase. Our improvement over Bitcoin is the addition of privacy. Zcash uses advanced cryptographic techniques, namely zero-knowledge proofs, to guarantee the validity of transactions without revealing additional information about them.
The Zcash Company aims to set a new standard for privacy through the use of groundbreaking cryptography.
In an open and programmable financial system, privacy is the only way to ensure fungibility and guarantee that cryptocurrency can be interchangeable as a fluid medium of exchange for users. Companies need the protection of privacy along their supply chain in order to conduct their business, especially in the context of public blockchains. In addition, we believe that personal privacy is necessary for core human values like dignity, intimacy, and morality.
The Zcash Company is a science-driven team.
Our scientists and engineers are the discoverers of the underlying scientific principles and the designers of the protocol; we are not the controllers or the power-holders, and do not control the mining or distribution of Zcash. Every user of Zcash contributes to its decentralization, helping to protect it against failure and corruption. Our team is one among many participants in the network. We created Zcash, but its ultimate destiny lies not in our hands, but in yours.
Since Zcash is an open-source protocol, the Zcash Company (ZcashCo) does not control it (including controlling the mining or distribution of it) or have special access to private or shielded transactions. Just like anyone else, ZcashCo only has the ability to see a private or shielded transaction if it is a party to that transaction or someone provides it with the correct view key. ZcashCo’s role in the ecosystem is to offer updates to the Zcash protocol which the public may choose to implement or ignore. ZcashCo does not sell, exchange, transmit, or retain custody of Zcash for consumers or the public at large.
In addition to ZcashCo, the Zcash Foundation was launched in March of 2017 to guide the evolution of Zcash. Join #the-zcash-foundation channel in the Zcash community chat to get involved.
Zcash payments are published on a public blockchain, but users are able to use an optional privacy feature to conceal the sender, recipient, and amount being transacted. Like Bitcoin, Zcash has a fixed total supply of 21 million units. In the first 4 years, 20% of the coins created in that period are allocated to a “founders’ reward” shared between investors, developers, and a non-profit foundation.
Transactions can be “transparent” and similar to bitcoin transactions in which case they are controlled by a t-addr, or can be a type of zero-knowledge proof called zk-SNARKs; the transactions are then said to be “shielded” and are controlled by a z-addr. Zcash coins are either in a transparent pool or a shielded pool; as of December 2017 only around 4% of Zcash coins were in the shielded pool and at that time most wallet programs did not support z-addrs and no web-based wallets supported them.
Zcash affords private transactors the option of “selective disclosure”, allowing a user to prove payment for auditing purposes. One such reason is to allow private transactors the choice to comply with anti-money laundering or tax regulations. “Transactions are auditable but disclosure is under the participant’s control.” Wilcox has hosted virtual meetings with law enforcement agencies around the U.S. to explain these fundamentals and has gone on the record of saying that “they did not develop the currency to facilitate illegal activity”.