ShapeShift.io has integrated Zcash, the consumer privacy-focused digital asset, into its blockchain exchange platform. Customers can now buy or sell Zcash instantly along with bitcoin, Dash, Ethereum and dozens of other digital assets.
Zcash for the first time offers selective transparency of transactions. Its cryptography can hide the sender, recipient, and value of all transactions on the blockchain, providing total payment confidentiality. Its protocol makes blockchains useful for a range of applications that clear-text, fully transparent blockchains cannot be used for, including fintech, retail and healthcare.
“Zcash finally fulfills an early promise of bitcoin technology – the ability to transact freely and privately with anyone in the world,” said ShapeShift founder and CEO Erik Voorhees. “This protects the right to privacy held by all individuals on Earth, and opens up new commercial use cases which were impossible without truly confidential transactions.”
ZEC’s technical breakthrough is a type of zero-knowledge proof called a zk-SNARK which allows the blockchain network to maintain a secure ledger of balances without disclosing the parties or amounts involved in transactions. Instead of publicly listing transaction values and spend authority, the transaction metadata is encrypted and zk-SNARKs prove the users are spending value they actually possess.
“Zcash is a group of scientists and techies who came up with a way to combine blockchains with data security,” said Zcash CEO Zooko Wilcox. “These two things are well understood, important, and widely used, but have never been put together before now. The launch of the Zcash protocol is the first of its kind. It is the accumulation of years of academic research, hard engineering work, and diligent security work.”
A Linux-based daemon and command-line tool is available through the Zcash core development team for users wishing to purchase ZEC. Both community-hosted and pre-established wallets will be available.
Ethereum’s founder Vitalik Buterin recently told CCN it would take Ethereum four months to a year to add Zec-like privacy. He said zero knowledge proofs are on Ethereum’s roadmap and have been for over two months.
Wilcox stated during a devcon2 presentation titled “Zcash + Ethereum = Love” that in the past four years or so, researchers have made a discovery that allows one to transact completely privately while, at the same time, allowing others to see their transaction if they so choose.
The Zcash launch two days ago led to a trading frenzy with the price reaching more than $2 million per coin on Poloniex, the most popular altcoin exchange.
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