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Zcash Top FAQ
In addition to cutting-edge, privacy-preserving cryptography, Zcash has unique characteristics that differentiate it from other projects. Zcash supports fast block times (75 seconds), low fees (default 0.0001 ZEC) and large block sizes (2 MB). Zcash has regular upgrade schedules, which means this protocol is adaptable to meet the varied use cases of today, as well as the unforeseen use cases of tomorrow. This promotes innovation and prevents ossification.
Zcash is also self-funded with strong community governance that aligns the incentives of key stakeholders. Zcash’s governance structure is inclusive and capture-resistant. With the Canopy upgrade, a new community development fund is secured from 2020 to 2024. With Major Grants fund, at least $20 M is ear-marked for future zcash development, decentralizing the ecosystem. Read more about the MGRC.
There are several approaches to protecting financial privacy. In the realm of digital currencies, we strongly believe that Zcash has the best approach. With a fully-shielded Zcash transaction, the sender, recipient and amount are fully encrypted and completely private. Please note that fully transparent Zcash transactions are similar to BTC in that the sender, receiver and amount are visible on a public blockchain. Shielded transactions help preserve financial privacy by making it more difficult to link transactions. Learn more about transaction linkability.
Other projects, such as Monero, use ring signatures that obscure the sender and recipient. Monero’s use of Bulletproofs hides the transaction amount but not the transaction graph (the latter relies instead on their ring signatures and mixins). Advanced forensics and analytics companies claim to be able to trace these types of transactions. Zcash’s use of Groth 16 proofs hides both the transaction amount and the transaction graph (the latter by proving that the note being spent exists in the global note commitment tree).
Privacy-enhancing technology also must fit within a regulatory framework. Zcash is trusted by regulated exchanges such as Gemini, who recently announced support for shielded withdrawals.
Zcash is a code fork of the bitcoin protocol and maintains its own blockchain and currency token. Zcash builds on the existing work from the Bitcoin core team to enable privacy preserving transaction data using zero-knowledge proofs. It also includes some non-privacy changes to bitcoin, including its proof of work algorithm.
The Zcash block chain launched on October 28, 2016, bringing into existence the first Zcash monetary units. This software release and the initial phase of the blockchain is called ‘Sprout’ to emphasize that it is a young, budding blockchain with great potential to grow. Please read our launch blog post for more details.
Zcash is based on the peer-reviewed Zerocash protocol, which was published in the IEEE Security & Privacy conference in 2014. The Zerocash paper provides a detailed technical overview of the specification. Changes to the protocol are not generally peer-reviewed, but they are described and justified comprehensively in the protocol specification. Those changes have been subjected to several independent security audits.