Introduction to privacy coins Zcash, Zcoin & PIVX
There’s been some confusion around the “Z-Coins” and their protocols. This article aims to clarify those definitions.
As you can see from this image, the overarching protocol is the Bitcoin one, of which the Bitcoin currency is based. A layer over the Bitcoin protocol is the ZeroCoin protocol; from that the Zcoin and PIVX currencies are based. Then, on top of the ZeroCoin protocol is the ZeroCash Protocol. From that the Zcash currency is based.
A common misconception is that Zcoin is a fork of Zcash. Zcoin is based off the Zerocoin paper while Zcash is based off the Zerocash paper. While the Zerocoin paper and Zerocash paper share common authors and both use zero knowledge proofs, they rely on different cryptography. There is otherwise no relation between the two projects.
PIVX implements ZeroCoin as a coin-mixing service that breaks the link between sender and receiver, and also allows a user to mask their balance of PIVX.
What is ZeroCoin?
Zerocoin is a cryptocurrency protocol proposed by Johns Hopkins University professor Matthew D. Green and graduate students Ian Miers and Christina Garman as an extension to the Bitcoin protocol that would add true cryptographic anonymity to bitcoin transactions. The initial idea was to become a part of the existing cryptographic currency Bitcoin to provide more anonymity to users and performed transactions.
The zerocoin extension to bitcoin was formulates to act like a money laundering pool, temporarily pooling bitcoins together in exchange for a temporary currency called zerocoins. While the laundering pool is an established concept already utilized by several currency laundering services, zerocoin would have implemented this at the protocol level, eliminating any reliance on trusted third parties. It anonymizes the exchanges to and from the pool using cryptographic principles, and as a proposed extension to the bitcoin protocol, it would have recorded the transactions within bitcoin’s existing blockchain.
Zcoin Currency (XZC)
Zerocoin was first implemented into a fully functional cryptocurrency called Zcoin (XZC), a project that went live on September 28, 2016.
Using the Zerocoin protocol, Zcoin allows you to send coins with no transaction history. Bitcoin records the history of every transaction on a public ledger for anyone to see. Wallet addresses are only pseudo-anonymous with the potential for people to link your identity to an address. However, with Zcoin, you can preserve the fungibility and privacy of your transactions.
Creating Zerocoins involves selecting a predetermined number of coins you’d like to mint and a fee of 0.01 Zcoins (XZC). The reason for this, is to improve anonymity. For example, if you mint 1653 Zerocoins and then spend 1653 later, it would be easier to trace the transaction back to you.
You must wait about 70 minutes before you’re allowed to transfer Zerocoins so you should mint well ahead of when you want to spend the currency. Once you actually click spend, the address of your choice receives the Zerocoins with no transaction history.
PIVX Currency (PIVX)
PIVX is the first Proof of Stake cryptocurrency that has implemented the Zerocoin protocol. Zerocoin went live on PIVX on October 16th, 2017. The Zerocoin PIVX tokens are known as zPIV.
Some of the key advantages of PIVX is it’s eco-freindliness. You can stake with less than 5 watts. The implementation of SwiftX Technology also allows almost instant (1 second) transactions.
Pivx is a big competitor to DASH. A lot of the team members in PIVX are from DASH, a currency which recently grew from around $13 to now around $400 (and once peaked at nearly $1000).
Zerocash is a protocol developed and intended to improve upon, Zerocoin. The improved version of the protocol “that reduces proof sizes by 98% and allows for direct anonymous payments that hide payment amount” was announced on 16 November 2013. Zerocash utilizes succinct non-interactive zero-knowledge arguments of knowledge (also known as zk-SNARKs), a special kind of zero-knowledge method for proving the integrity of computations.
Zcash Currency (ZEC)
In late 2015, Zerocash website begun stating that “The Zerocash protocol is being developed into a full-fledged digital currency, Zcash.”
Zcash is a cryptocurrency aimed at using cryptography to provide enhanced privacy for its users compared to other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. The Zerocoin protocol was improved and transformed into the Zerocash system, which was then developed into the Zcash cryptocurrency in 2016.
Zcash is the first widespread application of zk-SNARKs, a novel form of zero-knowledge cryptography. The strong privacy guarantee of Zcash is derived from the fact that shielded transactions in Zcash can be fully encrypted on the blockchain, yet still be verified as valid under the network’s consensus rules by using zk-SNARK proofs.
What is zk-SNARKs?
One of the key technologies implemented in Zcash is zk-SNARKs.
In simple terms, zero-knowledge proofs means that between two parties of a transaction, each party is able to verify to the other that they have a specific set of information, without revealing what that information is. This is significantly different than other systems of proof where at least one party needs to know all the information. An example of this would be a password stored on a server in plain text.
In this case, if you were logging into the server, you need to have the password and the server needs to check if the password you entered is correct. With zero knowledge proofs, the person logging into the server could essentially demonstrate through mathematical proof that they have the correct password without revealing what that password is. Of course today most websites do not store user passwords in plain text and instead, store what is called a hash. Still, hashes can be stolen and under some circumstances can be computed out.
What this means for Zcash is that transactions in can be fully encrypted on the blockchain, yet still be verified as valid under the network’s consensus rules by using zk-SNARK proofs.
Battle of the stablecoins: Tether vs Dai
Stablecoins – aptly named cryptocurrencies designed to be more market-stable and heralded as a way to strengthen the commercial case for blockchains.
In this post, we will evaluate two stablecoins, Tether vs Dai. Called the “holy grail” of cryptocurrency, stablecoins are an exiting proposition for many businesses who often shy away from the volatility associated with the sector.
What is a stablecoin?
Stablecoins, in their most ideal form, are simply cryptocurrencies with stable value. An optimal cryptocurrency should have the following: price stability, scalability, privacy, and decentralization. A “stablecoin” is a cryptocurrency that is backed by a fiat currency reserve which corresponds with the coins in circulation. Usually, a stable coin is pegged to U.S. dollar but is not tied to a central bank and has low volatility.
This makes the usage of a cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange more viable since the price of a stablecoin should relatively unchanging; being the representation of a known amount of an asset.
Compare this to non-stable cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum; these are highly volatile, and on any given day, it is common to see a fluctuation of 10-20%, making the usage of most cryptocurrencies for daily transactions inconvenient at best, or impossible at worst.
The main types of stablecoins
There are various types of stablecoins in the cryptocurrency market, which can be divided into three main categories, as follows:
- Fiat-collateralized – this is the simplest method of creating a
and is used by one of the top stablecoin, stablecoinstoday (Tether). Essentially, fiat-collateralized stablecoinsare backed by a real-world asset. This real-world asset is controlled and owned by a central entity.
- Crypto-collateralized – these are similar in concept to fiat-collateralized
stablecoins, except that crypto-collateralized stablecoinsare backed by another cryptocurrency as opposed to being backed by a real-world asset.
- Non-collateralized (i.e. seigniorage shares) – the main non-collateralized approach is the seigniorage shares method. The seigniorage shares method uses smart contracts that automatically expand and contract the supply of the non-collateralized
stablecoinusing algorithms to maintain its value.
Who issues stablecoins?
Stablecoins are issued either by a central authority or a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO). A central authority behind a
Tether vs Dai: what you need to know
Tether: stablecoin pegged to the US Dollar
Tether is the best-known
The concept of Tether is simple, on paper at least. For every tether that exists there is a US dollar, meaning the value of one tether should always match one dollar. This is a centralised IOU model, whereby the central issuer (Tether the company) holds the US dollars on behalf of the users to uphold the value of tether and provide price stability.
But tether has been shrouded in controversy ever since questions were raised about whether Tether had the billions of US dollars in the bank to back up the billions of tether in issue. The company dismissed its first auditors and, although it insists it is fully audited, the evidence produced so far has been unconvincing. There is major doubt that it has the $2.7 billion to match the 2.7 billion tethers in circulation and that the stablecoin is being pumped out with artificial value just to prop up the prices of other cryptocurrencies. Supporting this is the fact that, while exchanging dollars for tether is easy enough, swapping your tether back into dollars is thought to be considerably harder. The company has stated on several occasions that it was unable to convert any tethers into dollars. Although some argue this sets off warning sirens about how much dollar it has in the bank, others say it is because it wants people to exchange their tether into other cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, and then convert that into fiat currency.
Tether is a great example of the highs and lows that the crypto community endures. The idea of injecting crypto power into fiat currency is welcome. However, all of its problems stem from the fact it is
stablecoin built on Ethereum
With the above in mind, competition for Tether is to be encouraged. And it arrived on 18th December 2017, when MakerDAO announced the launch of their Dai
Dai is a decentralized dollar-pegged
With all of Tether’s problems spawning from the fact it is
Ethereum is used as collateral to support the price of Dai. The Ethereum is held in a smart contract, which means there is not a need for a central authority to hold it on behalf of the users.
According to MakerDAO, the age of stability has arrived. However, Dai is not free from problems. It may be
Tether vs Dai stablecoins:
The 3 key characteristics of cryptocurrencies are that they are trustless, immutable, and decentralized. Tether has done nothing to convince the crypto community that a centralised cryptocurrency is the way forward. If part of cryptocurrencies is shutting the door to so-called opaque and dishonest banks then the very least a centralised cryptocurrency has to do is prove it can be more transparent and do a better job at managing people’s money.
Dai wins points for being decentralized but the foundation it is built on – the thing that gives this
Bitcoin (BTC) vs Bitcoin Cash (BCH): What’s The Difference?
In this post, we will be looking at the difference between Bitcoin (BTC) vs Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
Bitcoin (BTC) is a digital currency which was created in 2009 by a mysterious entity using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. Eight years later on 1st August
Two Different Idealogical Camps: Bitcoin (BTC) vs Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
There are essentially two different idealogical camps in the the Bitcoin (BTC) vs Bitcoin Cash (BCH) debate.
It all started as a discussion about how to change Bitcoin. Something was needed to help it cope better with the increasing number of people using the cryptocurrency.
However, after years of debate, two different ideological camps arose with opposing views on how Bitcoin should scale its protocol. The miners wanted Bitcoin to use bigger blocks while the users and developers wanted to implement SegWit, an upgrade that would compress transaction data, so more transactions could fit in each block.
The argument about how to scale Bitcoin has
The rationale for this was to put the security of the system ahead of functionality which, given the small number of people using Bitcoin in those early days, wasn’t an issue.
The options for lifting this restriction
Another group of developers
The proposal of the Bitcoin core developers, called SegWit2x, wanted to improve the way Bitcoin worked by saying that signatures could be moved to a separate piece of paper, one that is filed along with the sheet containing the transaction information. Because there is more room on the paper, more transactions can be written down. The other proposal was to set a timeline through which the system would allow two sheets of transactions instead of just one
Bitcoin (BTC) vs Bitcoin Cash (BCH): Same Goals But Different Directions!
The goals of the two camps were the same, but neither was willing to compromise on how to get there. Therefore, Bitcoin forked into two different currencies, each sharing a common transaction history from before the fork. Bitcoin Cash is the chain supported by the miners who wanted larger blocks, and the regular Bitcoin chain is the one supported by the core developers.
In terms of the practical intents and purposes of most users, there is very little difference. However, it is imperative to understand that Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) are now two entirely separate currencies.
Supporters of Bitcoin Cash looked at SegWit as being an inadequate solution to the problem of scalability. It was also against what Satoshi had envisioned, especially with off-chain solutions.
Even if the upgrade was done, the pro-Bitcoin Cash (BCH) team felt that the way forward lacked transparency and would undermine the blockchain’s decentralization and democratization.
Proof-of-Work (PoW) Consensus Algorithm
Both Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) run on the Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm.
A Proof-of-Work (PoW) coin uses miners to confirm transactions on the blockchain. This isn’t the most environment-friendly option, as a large amount of energy-consumption is involved; but it is the most effective, compared to other consensus algorithms like Proof-of-Stake (PoS).
Besides not being environmentally friendly and slow there is also an added risk of a 51% attack on the network.
Key Differences Between Bitcoin (BTC) vs Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
One key difference between Bitcoin (BTC) vs Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the difference in block size. Bitcoin has a 1MB block size, while Bitcoin Cash originally had an 8MB block size. In May 2018 Bitcoin Cash initiated a hard
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) protocol allows for more transactions per second which translates to faster payments and lower fees. However, Bitcoin has much greater security and stability, as there is more mining support and infrastructure behind it.
So what does the future hold for Bitcoin (BTC) vs Bitcoin Cash (BCH)? Do you think there will be a greater demand for Bitcoin Cash (BCH) than Bitcoin (BTC) in the future? We will have to wait and see!
Sidechains: Everything You Need To Know
Sidechains are an emerging technology that allows tokens, coins
How Do Sidechains Work?
A sidechain is a separate blockchain, attached to a parent via a two-way peg. This enabled the interchange slitty of assets between the blockchains. The original, parent blockchain is referred to as the ‘main chain’ and any child blockchains are referred to as ‘sidechains’, however some such as Ardor refers to them as ‘childchains’.
The first step in transferring digital assets, is for a user to transfer their assets (such as coins) to an output address where they are locked and cannot be spent. Once that transaction is completed, a confirmation is sent across the Cains, followed by a brief waiting period for additional security. After that period has expired, an equivalent amount of assets are released on the sidechain, allowing the user to spend them there. The same happens in reverse, when transferring back to the main chain.
What’s The Point
Sidechains allow cryptocurrencies developers to test beta versions of alt coins or software updates on a blockchain before pushing them to the main chain. Things like issuing and tracking share ownership can be tested on sidechains before moving them to main chains. They also allow cryptocurrencies to interact with one another.
Sidechains also allow newer technologies and ideas to be present on older cryptocurrencies. For example, Bitcoin lacks turing-complete smart contract abilities;
Examples Of Sidechains
Liquid is a commercial sidechain. If facilitates immediate transfer of funds between exchanges without having to wait for the delay of confirmation in the Bitcoin Blockchain.
As mentioned, Bitcoin lacks
Sidechains are an exciting new technology in the cryptocurrency space, although they are not without their security concerns. I do think the possibilities of expanding existing currencies like Bitcoin through the addition of new ideas such as smart contracts will aid scalability in the old cryptocurrencies and prolong their live.
As with all cyrptocurrencies, the side chains that succeed will be those that are made to fill a niche, not ones that are used to generate an income and therefore I foresee side chains with no coin themselves, such as Rootstock, taking off.
Tezos Blockchain Platform Goes Live
Tezos Foundation took to Twitter on Monday 17th September to announce that the
The announcement marks an important development for one of the most successful ICOs in the past two years:
What is Tezos?
Tezos is a blockchain system designed to govern and upgrade itself through establishing a true digital commonwealth. Tezos facilitates formal verification, a technique which mathematically proves the correctness of the code governing transactions and boosts the security of the most sensitive or financially weighted smart contracts. Stakeholders of the blockchain can vote on protocol amendments to reach social consensus on development proposals.
Tezos is the vision of Arthur Breitman. French-born, Breitman has significant experience working for large corporates like Morgan Stanly and Goldman Sachs. Together with his wife Kathleen, they now manage the cryptocurrency project from a San Francisco office.
Tezos is quite similar to Ethereum and while cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have stuck to their guns, Tezos sees the future of cryptocurrency as an upgradable path to success. As new innovations unfold, Tezos predicts that their blockchain will remain on the cutting edge.
Bitfinex announces Tezos listing
Soon after the official mainnet announcement, Bitfinex, the world’s leading digital asset trading platform, which offers state-of-the-art services for digital currency traders and global liquidity providers, also announced the listing of Tezos, to its trading platform.
The appearance of XTZ trades on Bitfinex was immediately followed by selling activity. A bit later, the exchange confirmed the listing in a tweet:
The newly introduced token listing has a market capitalization of $1.1 billion USD and is firmly positioned among the world’s top 20 coins, representing a significant addition to the Bitfinex trading platform.
“The new listing of Tezos to the Bitfinex trading platform represents a significant milestone, adding yet another top 20 coin to our services. Bitfinex is committed to providing investors with unlimited trading opportunities by offered a growing array of diverse coins. Tezos is an elite token, with a market cap of $1.1 billion, which will provide a new and exciting investment avenue for our users,” said Jean-Louis van der Velde, Chief Executive Officer of Bitfinex.
“Today’s announcement continues the strong wave of activity within the Bitfinex community, as we continue to anticipate the needs and demands of the digital asset community. We look forward to working with Tezos and building upon this latest achievement for Bitfinex,” concluded van der Velde.
Tezos price spike then dip
According to CoinMarketCap, Tezos went from $1.30 on the day before the announcement to $1.66 the day after.
The Bitfinex development has raised hopes of inclusion on more exchanges soon. XTZ supporters believe the sell-off is temporary:
What was supposed to be a celebratory moment for the project and its investors quickly went downhill, as the price collapsed by almost 20 percent, erasing $170 million from its total market cap a little less than an hour after the announcement. This amounts to almost as much as the Tezos Foundation managed to raise in its July 2017 ICO.
However, Bitfinex volumes immediately increased, making up 20% of XTZ trading, according to updated information from Coinmarketcap. As of 7:00 UTC, volumes were above $1.4 million in 24 hours, with more activity anticipated.
The project expects renewed activity and robust price appreciation to make up for the losses. The launch of the crypto ecosystem comes relatively late and will have to prove its consensus solution is better compared to other platforms.
According to Tezos Scan, the network currently seems to be functioning fine, with a new block once every minute.
Update 18/09/2018: 1530
Nano is changing the world and Venezuela is next
Cryptocurrencies are saving lives
Thanks to cryptocurrency and kindness, poor families in Venezuela can buy food. First, it was Bitcoin Cash helping feed the poor in Venezuela. And now its the turn of Nano.
The Nano donations were gifted by kind Reddit users to help Venezuelan families buy much-needed food. Venezuela is among the world’s poorest countries even though it has the largest proven oil reserves in the world. 87% of its people live in poverty. Its population is 32.3 million. That means around 28 million people living in poverty.
This heartwarming tale of kindness, hope and cryptocurrency began when a Reddit user from Venezuela called Hector received a 0.5 Nano donation from another Reddit user. This is equivalent to an entire month’s salary in this poverty stricken South American country.
Coinbase adds new currency
Ever the trend setter, Coinbase has once again, rocked us with another exciting announcement about its currency listings.
Coinbase announces support for GBP withdrawals & deposits within weeks
The CEO of Coinbase has confirmed that they will be supporting GBP for withdrawals and deposits within the next few weeks. While it might be expected that a new currency coming to Coinbase would result in furious amounts of market activity, it has not.
Are you excited? No, nor were we. But we dug into the details anyway.
Coinbase currently uses Estonian bank LHV to process payments. These are all done in euros. UK users have to withdraw euros from Coinbase using SEPA transfers or via mobile banking apps such as Revolut.
The UK economy is the fifth largest by GDP and 6% of Bitcoin transactions are made in GBP. So, according to Feroz, this opens Coinbase up to the largest market in Europe. This is a market which can and has been buying cryptocurrency without this GBP withdrawal support already. GBP deposits have been available for a while now, thanks to a partnership with Barclays. However, withdrawals have not been possible before.
In March, Coinbase partnered with Barclays Bank which opened them up to both GBP payments and the Faster Payments Scheme. This is one of the first collaborations where a UK bank has agreed to accept money that was previously held as a cryptocurrency.
As the website currently states, “Coinbase will send your funds as EUR when you make a withdrawal. If your receiving bank account is denominated in GBP, your bank will usually convert EUR to GBP when they receive the funds.”
The CEO confirmed that support for GBP withdrawals and deposits will be rolled out over the next few weeks. UK users will be able to deposit Sterling and withdraw Sterling out into their bank accounts using faster payments.
In an interview with NewsBTC, he also said that Coinbase Custody has had a ‘lot of interest’ and that they have had to restrict how many investors they can take on.
Feroz was also asked if Coinbase will always support the same coins and tokens on both their consumer products and their institutional products. He made reference to recently-acquired Paradex, an exchange based on the 0x protocol which offers support for ERC20 tokens. Coinbase also said recently that they plan to support ERC20 tokens.
Feroz said: “We will start to take a product-specific view in terms of the regulatory profiles of coins and the service they’re providing and if that allows us to extend it beyond the four coins we have, then that’s what we’ll do. You will see our businesses as they grow, the coins supported will maybe diverge. One example of that is Paradex which today is live in Europe with eight coins.”
Feroz also commented while they are looking for regulatory certainty, it is not getting in the way of adding new tokens. He said Coinbase will ‘continue to look into tokens that aren’t securities and add them in the future.’ Pointing out their new broker-dealer and ATS licences in the US, he said that they will be able to offer tokens that are registered with the SEC.
Coinbase is exploring Cardano, Basic Attention Token, Stellar Lumens, Zcash and 0x
Today Coinbase has finally broken its silence on the work it is doing behind the scenes to bring more cryptocurrencies...
Why Charles Hoskinson left Ethereum
In The Beginning Charles Hoskinson fell into the crypto space partially by accident. He started off by reading a few...
Cardano Staking Pools
Cardano Staking Pools Cardano Staking Pools will allow holders of Ada, the cryptocurrency on the Cardano blockchain platform, to earn...
The Age Of The Blockchain: Dawn Of A New Technology Era
The Age Of The Blockchain: An Introduction The age of the blockchain has arrived, like a train through the living...