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Zcash is a cryptocurrency whose design is aimed at utilizing cryptography to provide improved privacy for its users compared to other cryptocurrencies.
Zcash was developed and launched by in 2016. The underlying protocol is based on the research of scientists from MIT, Technion, Johns Hopkins, Tel Aviv University, and UC Berkeley.
Like Bitcoin, Zcash has a fixed total supply of 21 million coins.
Moreover, both Bitcoin and Zcash use transparent transactions that are shielded and controlled by a zero-knowledge proof (zk-SNARKs), controlled by a z-addr.
One of the central tenets of Zcash is the adoption of Bitcoin's open ledger system and encryption of its ledger’s users.
While ZCash transactions are recorded on a blockchain, all transactions are encrypted and therefore are only viewable by users that have been given access to them.
Of note, not all Zcash coins are held in shielded pools as most wallet programs do not support z-addrs, while many web-based wallets do not support them as well.
The shielded pool of zCash coins can also be shrunk via heuristics-based identifiable patterns of usage.
What Differentiates Zcash From Other Cryptos?
Like most cryptocurrencies, their potential use in money laundering makes them a frequent target by legislators and critics.
Zcash looks to address this through selective disclosure attempts, which allows a user to prove payments for auditing purposes.
This allows private transactors the choice to comply with anti-money laundering or tax regulations. However, disclosures are still done at the digression of the user.
For its part, Zcash’s developers have defended the crypto, strongly asserting they did not design the currency to facilitate illegal activity.