Zcash is the next generation of the Zerocoin protocol, which aimed to create the first truly anonymous cryptocurrency.
It uses a recently invented, breakthrough technology called zero knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge (zk-SNARK), a novel form of zero-knowledge cryptography.
“Zero-knowledge” proofs allow one party (the prover) to prove to another (the verifier) that a statement is true without revealing any information beyond the validity of the statement itself.
Although ZCash has the potential to be the most private cryptocurrency around, comments made by the developers, as well as the initial “trusted setup” for the secret key, have given many privacy-focused cryptocurrencies right now, and it has real-world data to prove it.
In layman terms, “If bitcoin is like http for money, then Zcash is https,”.
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.
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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.