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WHAT IS ZCASH?
Zcash offers total payment confidentiality, while still maintaining a decentralized network using a public blockchain. Unlike Bitcoin, Zcash transactions automatically hide the sender, recipient, and value of all transactions on the blockchain. Only those with the correct view key can see the contents. Users have complete control and can opt-in to provide others with their view key at their discretion.
Zcash transactions do not depend on the cooperation of other parties.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Since the contents of Zcash transactions are encrypted and private, the system uses a novel cryptographic method to verify payments.
Zcash uses a zero-knowledge proof construction called a zk-SNARK, developed by our team of experienced cryptographers. These constructions allow the network to maintain a secure ledger of balances without disclosing the parties or amounts involved. Instead of publicly demonstrating spend-authority and transaction values, the transaction metadata is encrypted and zk-SNARKs are used to prove that nobody is cheating or stealing.
HOW IS ZEC DISTRIBUTED?
Zcash blockchain will generate its genesis block on Oct 28th, 2016.
In order to give the network and its development some breathing room, Zcash is implementing a slow-start mechanism for the first 20,000 blocks (or about 34 days). In the event of a major bug or security vulnerability in the protocol, the slow-start will minimize the impact as initially, the block reward will be a fraction of the eventual 12.5 ZEC that will be created for each block for the first 850,000 blocks - at which point, the block reward halves. Over the slow-start period, the block reward will gradually and linearly increase until it reaches the full 12.5 ZEC at the 20,000th block.
The overall amount of ZEC is 21 million. 10% of that reward will be distributed to the stakeholders in the Zcash Company — founders, investors, employees, and advisors. We call this the “Founders Reward”.