Author: zcashblog

ZCash node and ZCash GUI Wallet for Windows

ZCash for Windows is not yet officially supported; there is no official release of a ZCash node for Windows. Developer @radix42 however has produced for the community an experimental build of a ZCash node running on Windows. This ZCash node can be combined with the ZCash desktop GUI wallet to produce a workable combination for desktop users, developers and enthusiasts:

The full instructions on how to run a ZCash node and the ZCash desktop GUI wallet on Windows may be found on GitHub. Both of these (ZCash Node + GUI Wallet) on Windows are currently new/experimental, so users should be cautious if they use larger amounts of ZCash…

ZCash and ZClassic

The open source nature of ZCash allows innovation without the need for obtaining permission to innovate. Anyone is free to take the source code and try to advance the functionality as they see fit. One such offshoot is ZClassic. It closely follows and borrows its set of features from ZCash but contains one crucial difference: it has no founders reward, which is 20% in ZCash but some users find it objectionable.

In the spirit of cooperation the project leaders of ZCash and ZClassic sat down for a drink, and doubtless discussed issues affecting both projects:

ZCash node and GUI Wallet on MAC OS X

ZCash for Mac OS X is not yet officially supported; there is no official release of a ZCash node for Mac OS X. Developer @radix42 however has produced for the community an experimental build of a ZCash node running on MAC OS X. This ZCash node can be combined with the ZCash desktop GUI wallet to produce a workable combination for desktop users, developers and enthusiasts:

The full instructions on how to run a ZCash node and the ZCash desktop GUI wallet on MAC OS X may be found on GitHub. Both of these (ZCash Node + GUI Wallet) on MAC OS are currently new/experimental, so users should be cautious if they use larger amounts of ZCash… In addition the build procedure is more complex (for now) than it is on Linux. Still, ZCash users who are Mac fans will surely appreciate the opportunity.

Technological innovations in ZCash

ZCash contains some unique privacy innovations that make its technology exciting and having the potential to shake the crypto-currency landscape. To explain how this new privacy technology works, let us start with Bitcoin…

The Bitcoin peer-to-peer network is designed to propagate and verify the transactions that users send across the network. Every node in the network (e.g. every desktop Bitcoin wallet) receives transactions, checks that they are “valid” and sends them on to other network nodes. If a transaction is found to be invalid/fraudulent, the respective network node disregards it. In order to be able to verify a transaction, every node in the network needs to know about all existing Bitcoin addresses and their current balance. This information is stored in the Bitcoin blockchain. All information in the blockchain is public. This fulfills the technical needs of Bitcoin but it partly works against user privacy.

Bitcoin addresses are pseudo-anonymous: whatever privacy Bitcoin provides comes from the fact that it is not usually known what person or entity owns a Bitcoin address. All transactions and monetary amounts transferred from/to an address are publicly available. In the early days of Bitcoin this kind of privacy was “good enough”. It can be enhanced by “mixing services” that attempt to obfuscate transactions etc. However more recently government (and other) agencies have developed advanced tools for blockchain analysis that can easily de-anonymize Bitcoin users. Such tools combine blockchain information with other externally gathered information and are typically quite successful in uncovering user transactions/balances.

ZCash is a technology coming to the rescue of user privacy. The main technical difference between ZCash and Bitcoin is that ZCash nodes, through advanced cryptographic technology have a way of verifying and relaying transactions without knowing the sender/receiver of the transactions or the amount of money being transferred. This breakthrough in privacy is made possible by cryptographic zero knowledge proofs. More detailed technical information is available in the ZCash FAQ.

What this means to end users: Ordinary users will be able to send and receive ZCash without their transactions being publicly visible. Only the sender and receiver will know the transaction details. This will give a huge boost to user privacy…

 

ZCash is nearing its first release

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The new promising crypto-currency technology ZCash is nearing its first release (due on October 28, 2016). ZCash is a crypto-currency promising to deliver features not yet available in other similar currencies: a very high level of privacy and anonymity. ZCash transaction details (sender, receiver and amount transferred) are only visible to the sender and receiver but not to other parties. Privacy is ensured by the use of advanced cryptography that allows transactions to be transmitted in a public blockchain without their essential details becoming publicly known.

Ever since Bitcoin was released 7 years ago, we have witnessed exciting developments in the field of blockchain and crypto-currency. Bitcoin and related crypto-currencies have made it possible to conduct virtual money transactions over the Internet in ways that were thought impossible before. Micro-payments, “unregulated markets”, and different forms of private virtual money have made the landscape both interesting and exciting. With all the opportunities it provides and risks it poses the field of crypto-currency has become a kind of 21st century “Wild West” of the financial system… only this time instead of bank robberies by rogue cowboys we have theft of virtual money by malevolent hackers. Incidents like MtGox have certainly made headlines.

Crypto-currencies based on a public blockchain have historically had one major privacy flaw: all transactions details such as sender/receiver address and amount transferred are publicly visible. While the real identity of the sender/receiver is not immediately clear, information may be gathered from other sources and their identity revealed via modern automated methods of analysis. Thus crypto-currency is an imperfect tool for the likes of libertarians, anarcho-capitalists etc. Crypto-currencies that offer privacy/anonymity via mixing and obfuscation of transactions have existed for some time. Examples of these are Dash and Monero. The next (r)evolutionary step in the development of privacy-oriented virtual money is ZCash.