Zcash Co-Founder Zooko Wilcox

The much-anticipated release of the anonymous cryptocurrency Zcash will soon be a reality. Currently running as a blockchain testnet, a move designed to ensure that as many bugs as possible are removed before it goes live, Zcash is scheduled to officially launch on October 28th.

Decentralized and open source, Zcash is an early entrant into the world of permissionless financial systems and zero-knowledge security, requiring users to utilize a key to access their transaction details. Zcash employs “zero knowledge proofs,” a specialized area of cryptography that allows select users to self-authorize to the network without revealing themselves to others. This process known as “selective disclosure” allows the addresses and amount transacted between counterparties to remain hidden, ensuring foolproof privacy.

The Zcash approach is fundamentally about encryption, versus the mixing together of lots of transactions, to ensure anonymity of sources. By employing a recently discovered protocol known as ZK-SNARKS, a prevailing issue with blockchains was resolved, namely, a transaction can now be assessed as to whether it’s legitimate or bogus.

Eventually, this privacy-centric blockchain could serve as the epicenter of a much wider landscape of distributed applications benefiting both consumers and financial institutions in achieving greater transaction privacy

Veteran cryptographer and Zcash Co-Founder Zooko Wilcox offered a few thoughts on bringing this project to launch:

Where do things currently stand with Zcash?

We’ve been kind of zooming in on the upcoming October 28 launch and focusing more and more on the details around that. It’s a challenge to simultaneously execute so many urgent details while also staying focused on the long-term vision and mission. One thing that I’ve learned in the last few months is that there are a ton of people around the world who are excited about Zcash’s potential. We’re pumped about that!

So how are you keeping life in check amid the relentless push towards the ultimate launch of Zcash?

I still make time for my children, friends and family. Part of our company culture is to respect each other’s human values and healthy, sustainable work habits.

The Zcash privacy protocol seems to front and center on the mind of so many cryptocurrency enthusiasts. What are doing to make sure this is locked down?

[Laughter] Lots! Where do I begin!? As a security-based tech team, it’s kind of hard to answer this succinctly. So follow along and we’ll tell you all about it along the way!Be sure you read all of our blog posts at https://z.cash/blog . We’re putting a lot of information out there.

There has been a lot of chatter of late about Baby ZoE. What the heck is that?

It’s a Proof-of-Concept (that’s why we call it “Baby”) Zcash-on-Ethereum. It’s an Ethereum contract (which relies on a new Ethereum opcode/precompile that isn’t in the real Ethereum blockchain) yet that performs Zcash-style encryption of transactions trading a token within its contract.

In the end, what should users expect when the Zcash project is finally signed, sealed and delivered?

That it won’t be finished!  It is early days in the science of blockchains, and we hope to continue being on the leading edge of innovation. However, on October 28, users can expect a Linux command-line tool that can run a decentralized, censorship-resistant, global network, like Bitcoin, but with private (encrypted) transactions on a public blockchain! So stay tuned.