The Latest Bitcoin-Like Currency Is Anonymous And A Whole Lot Easier To Get

You probably already know about Bitcoin – the worlds first digital currency, or cryptocurrency – but did you know that there are a shit-load more of these currencies? 

Yeah m8, since Bitcoin’s birth in 2009, hundreds of cryptocurrencies have been created for varying purposes. These are lumped into a big category called Altcoins, the latest of which was launched on Friday and has been dubbed ZCash. It sounds uneventful, but it does have two big advantages over the humble Bitcoin – accessibility and anonymity. 
To explain why this is important, we first need to have a brief look at how cryptocurrency works. Each one uses what’s called blockchain – a massive public ledger of all digital transactions that occur for that currency – that is continuously updated by a network of nodes. A node is a computer or network of computers that complete tasks for that currency, such as verifying the transactions that take place. If the majority of nodes reckon the transaction is legit, it will be added to the ledger as a ‘block’, hence, blockchain. 
And anyone can use their computer as a node, but what’s the bloody appeal in that? Well, by allowing your computer to process various functions for the currency, you’re “competing” against other computers to win Bitcoin or the particular currency in question. Think of it as loaning out your computers processing power. Over time, this action – called ‘mining’ – becomes harder to do or might require really powerful computers to do. Some companies have entire rooms of computers working around the clock to mine Bitcoin, which has become pretty well impossible to do without such resources. 
Zcash on the other hand, was created in such a way that it relies primarily on the RAM that a computer is packing, making it much more accessible to the everyman and his reasonably souped-up PC. You could download the ZCash client right freaking now and put your computer to work in the depths of the cryptocurrency mines. You will, however, need a 64-bit PC running Linux and some degree of technical ability, as the program is entirely command line-based.   
The other advantage mentioned – anonymity – is achieved through the way the transactions are verified. Created by some super cryptography experts (nerds), instead of publishing the full details (sender, recipient and amount) of the transaction to the blockchain, the ZCash algorithm uses mathematical witchcraft called zero-knowledge proof to work around them. This essentially allows the transaction to be fully verified without them being possible to trace.  
As with all cryptocurrencies, there’s a certain degree of risk you take by getting involved, but if you’re looking at getting in on the ground floor, this could be a good starting point. We’d encourage a degree of self-education before taking the plunge, though. 
Source: Motherboard
Photo: ZCash.

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