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The First Month of Zcash – A Summary



The first month of a new cryptocurrency is always the most exciting; prices spike, blocks are mined, money is made. The cryptocurrency that made the headlines last month was Zcash – a coin that promised the anonymous transactions Bitcoin could not deliver.

In its first week, Zcash momentarily became the world’s most valuable currency. The limited supply and massive demand caused prices to skyrocket, reaching a record high of 3,299 BTC per ZEC on Poloniex. It also became known as one of the most volatile, bouncing from $1453 USD/ZEC to $95 USD/ZEC in only the second week. It’s since shown some stability, hovering around 0.07 BTC (or $57 USD) per ZEC, as of December 5th.

Meanwhile, various exchanges rushed to add support for Zcash at launch, including ShapeShift and HitBTC, Jaxx – a multi-token blockchain wallet – and TREZOR – a hardware wallet.

It wasn’t all profit and excitement, though – Stefano Quintarelli of the Italian Parliament reported a proposed bill that would ban fully anonymous cryptocurrencies, including Zcash. It remains to be seen how the Italian Parliament will achieve a ban on cryptography (and mathematics) to accomplish this task.

There were a few technical difficulties which were fixed fast: there was a bug which caused private transactions (known as joinsplits) to not be mined; a bug which caused old nodes to follow an invalid chain; and a brief DDOS attack.

And then, there was media frenzy when whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted about the possibility of tax protests, in the wake of the anonymous cryptocurrency; Zooko Wilcox acknowledged it.

New coins emerged. A fork of the Zerocoin protocol, Zclassic, announced a removal of the slow mining start and founders reward. Founder Zooko Wilcox showed his support on the official Zcash forums, approving the fork. A european group of ethical hackers followed up with their own fork, Ebitz. NAVcoin sought to tread down a similar path, promising anonymous transactions that utilized a second Blockchain called ‘the subchain’.

Peter Todd, one of the participants of Zcash’s “Trusted Setup Ceremony”, documented his adventures (Which included a road trip, and a roasted laptop.) – and the meticulous process of ensuring his secret key was destroyed, which included a road trip, and a roasted laptop. The ceremony was deemed ‘security theater’ by some, and a resounding success by others. Morgan Peck, of the IEEE (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) reported his observation of the ceremony; other participants were revealed to be Derek Hinch, Peter Van Valkenburgh, Andrew Miller and Zooko Wilcox.

The 20,000th block was mined on the 1st of December, ending the slow start and awarding 12.5 ZEC per block. The Founders Rewards address was revealed; preparations have begun for distributing the rewards, though at the time of writing, no ZEC has been spent.

The Zcash Electric Coin Company launched the “Open Source Miner Challenge”, seeking to bridge the gap between private and public software. Marc Bevand, an ex-Google employee, took first place with his GPU miner, SilentArmy; newcomer xenoncat took first place for the CPU miner with his assembly language implementation. Runner up’s included Tromp; David Jaenson; and Pavel M.

In response, Genesis Mining has been hard at work, optimizing our own private miner to ensure our customers receive the most competitive rates. Since the launch of our Zcash contracts, we’ve upgraded our hashing power six times – with no intention of stopping anytime soon. We’re the leading hashpower provider, after all – and we intend to keep that title.

It’s been an interesting month for miners and investors, and we’re excited to see what waves Zcash, Ebitz, NAVcoin and other anonymous currencies will continue to make in the financial industry – and the world at large.

We’ll keep you posted with news as they emerge!

– Your Genesis Mining Team

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