What is Zcash?

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Zcash is the latest kid on the block of cryptocurrencies – a wave ushered by bitcoin back in 2008. Over the years, many alternative cryptocurrencies called altcoins have been launched. Following the success of bitcoin, these have grown to over 700 in number. Most of these versions have tried to come up with some competitive advantages vis-à-vis bitcoin, and while few have seen interest, many operate with a small market capitalization, volumes and circulation.
Enter Zcash, a decentralized and open-source cryptocurrency, which looks promising. “If Bitcoin is like http for money, Zcash is https," is how it defines itself. Zcash offers privacy and selective transparency of transactions. Thus like https, Zcash claims to provide extra security or privacy where all transactions are recorded and published on a blockchain, but details such as the sender, recipient, and amount remain private.

Zooko Wilcox, Founder and CEO of Zcash, told Investopedia, “Zcash is a new blockchain and cryptocurrency which allows private transactions (and generally private data) in a public blockchain. This allows businesses, consumers, and new apps to control who gets to see the details of their transactions, even while using a global, permission-less blockchain.”
Zcash offers its users the choice of ‘shielded’ transactions, which allow for content to be encrypted using advanced cryptographic technique or zero-knowledge proof construction called a zk-SNARK developed by its team. These constructions ensure validity of transactions as well as secure ledger of balances without giving out any other information (such as parties or amount involved). Thus Zcash offers an added feature over bitcoin, while ensuring that nobody is cheating or stealing. 

Earlier this year, the Zcash Electric Coin Company raised a total of $2 million in exchange for equity in the company from seventeen investors: Aaron Grieshaber, Branson Bollinger, Maple Ventures (Amir Chetrit and Steven Nerayoff), Brian Cartmell, Vlad Zamfir, Roger Ver, Digital Currency Group, Barry Silbert, Charles Songhurst, Fenbushi, Shapeshift, Erik Voorhees, David Lee Kuo Chuen, Fred Ehrsam, Sebastian Serrano, and Li Xiaolai.
Investors now own 16.4% of the company. According to Zcash, the Founders' Reward is 10% of the total long-run monetary base of 21 million coins, while the remaining 90% of the Zcash monetary base goes to miners. Approximately 131,250 Zcash coins were distributed among investors at a price of $15.24 per coin against the $2 million raised during the summer round of funding.
The Zcash blockchain went live on October 28, 2016 and is currently hovering around $226.

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