ZenCash Ups Its Decentralization Game, Unleashing Loads of Nodes
The battle for privacy is a marathon, not a sprint. When the curtain fell on 2017, a year which was by any reckoning a momentous one for cryptocurrency, 2018 was billed as The Year of the Privacy Coin. In the 12 months prior, bitcoin had made great advancements, but one area where it had been badly exposed was when it came to preserving user privacy.
This isn’t bitcoin’s fault per se; it was only ever designed to provide pseudonymity, thanks to the ability for anyone to anonymously create a wallet. That feature still remains, but increased KYC in order to interact with the crypto ecosystem, coupled with enhanced blockchain surveillance tools from the likes of Chainalysis, has meant that bitcoin users have been left with nowhere to hide. The solution was already here – privacy coins – but which one? With so many competing coins and privacy models to choose from, picking a winner you can trust is no mean feat.
ZenCash Overloads on Nodes
One of the greatest strides ZenCash has made is with expanding the number and nature of its nodes. Broadly speaking the more nodes a coin has, the more decentralized it is, and Zen now boasts more nodes than Dash, ZCoin and PivX combined, which is quite a feat. One of the ways in which Zen initially achieved so many nodes (by late 2017 it already had around 3,000 up and running), was by setting the staking requirements relatively low. This locked up less coins, but incentivized more coin-holders to create a node, which in turn ensured that the network was as distributed as possible. In fact, ZenCash already has a node count which rivals that of bitcoin itself.
Most of the so-called “next generation” blockchains such as EOS talk of being decentralized, but are in reality controlled by a small number of approved entities. Others, such as Dash, have staking requirements so excessive (at its peak last year it would have cost $1.5 million to set up a Dash node), as to deter newcomers. While small-time operators are still able to run ZenCash Secure Nodes, these have now been complemented by Super Nodes. Like their name suggests, these require more computation and storage requirements, and necessitate the staking of 500 ZEN.
Super Nodes: Standard Nodes on Steroids
Like the existing Secure Nodes, Super Nodes help to secure the network, in return for which their operators receive a portion of the transaction fees. Thanks to their introduction, tracking and payments will now be performed onchain, rather than on clusters of external servers. As part of the revamp, node operators will receive 20% of block rewards, which is a dramatic increase on the 3.5% offered previously, with the 20% split between Secure Nodes and Super Nodes.
But that’s not all these enhanced nodes do. They will also help to maintain multilayer sidechains that are instrumental in supporting an array of new applications. Zen is seeking to become much more than just a privacy coin, and is now launching a series of add-ons that will extend its powers and enable it to compete with the next wave of multi-purpose blockchains.
As the updated ZenCash whitepaper explains, there are new applications being built such as ZenPub, InstantZen – a zero-delay payment system – and ZenGrid, which will provide computation as a service. It’s essentially a means of renting out shards of the network and will further increase the rewards for node operators. As if all that wasn’t enough, there’s ZenXchange planned, which will operate as a DEX, making the purchasing of ZenCash as decentralized as the experience of sending it.
It’s All Go in the Land of Zen
While Super Nodes are the big talking point, ZenCash has been keeping busy on all fronts. It’s announced an integration with Xeeda, billed as “the world’s first cryptocurrency hardware wallet for smartphones”. Xeeda uses a secure device to store your private keys that attaches to your phone when you need to send or receive crypto using the integrated app. Finally, there’s word of multiple exchange listings coming very soon, although the Zen team are remaining tight-lipped on names, as is the custom.
When ZenCash launched as a fork of ZClassic, many presumed it would remain the little brother of ZCL, which was in turn the little brother of ZCash. Instead, not only has ZenCash outgrown its senior siblings, it’s shown that to revitalize a privacy coin and engage its community, all it takes is some fresh ideas and a lot of hard work. ZenCash can already lay a claim to being the world’s most decentralized privacy coin. By the end of the year, it would be no surprise if it was also laying a claim to being the most popular.