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Zcoin and the Road ahead

By June 13, 2019 No Comments

We wanted to give our community a brief overview of Zcoin’s development goals and general direction on a high level.

Increasing Sigma and Zcoin’s utility

At the moment, all hands are on board preparing for the upcoming launch of Sigma, a novel privacy protocol that we’ve been working on since 2018. Sigma offers the power of zero-knowledge proof privacy without many of its common drawbacks, such as relying on experimental cryptography and a trusted setup, where you have to inherently trust the creators to have disposed of the “master keys” that would allow for coins to be created out of thin air.  We plan to release Sigma on the mainnet soon, so stay tuned on our channels for our official announcement.

After the Sigma mainnet release, our immediate development goals are to focus on making Sigma useful and have more people use our technology in their lives. A blockchain’s utility is just as important as the technology behind it. The first step has been completed, in separating the Sigma cryptographic library and releasing it to the public with a permissive MIT software license to make it easier for third-party developers to use Sigma technology or to develop applications, such as mobile or web wallets. We welcome outside developers and researchers to take a look at our work and contribute to it. We are also in discussion with other blockchain projects to explore collaboration efforts in the use and research of our privacy technology.

Besides this, we see a lot of potential for  Zcoin’s smart asset layer, “Exodus”, which allows anyone to issue their own token on top of the Zcoin blockchain. While there are many projects with smart-asset token support such as Ethereum’s ERC-20, there are very few that have privacy features enabled on the base layer. We have started research into integrating Sigma privacy technology into Exodus and already have a plan on how to implement it.

Sigma on Exodus opens up a lot of possibilities from stablecoins to asset-backed tokens that are truly fungible and private. This generates organic demand for Zcoin and builds up Zcoin’s ecosystem alongside adoption as a payment/settlement platform. For example, you could create a USD-Tether type of token with Zcoin baselayer instead of Omni and be able to send it privately using our built-in zero-knowledge proof technology.

We are also exploring ways to make it easy for users or organizations to hold private polls or referendums on Zcoin’s blockchain while using Sigma technology to ensure verifiable but anonymous voting. We will be incorporating the lessons and experience we obtained in carrying out Thailand’s Democrat Party primary election on Zcoin’s blockchain.

Improving Znodes and protecting against 51% attacks

Work has already begun into improving our Znode infrastructure with deterministic masternode lists from the latest Dash code, which greatly improve reliability and open up a lot of new features. For example, syncing Znode lists will be a lot faster and reliable. Znode rewards also can be paid automatically to third-party addresses and it’s even possible to dedicate a percentage of rewards to a specified third party.

More importantly, it also allows the use of LLMQ-based “chainlocks” that protect the blockchain against 51% attacks. With pure Proof-of-Work systems, only the miners need to have 51% of the hashpower to dictate which transactions get accepted or not or even pull off a doublespend. With chainlocks, you will need both 51% of the hashrate AND ownership or control of more than half of the Znode network to pull off a double spend. Chainlocks significantly improve the security of the blockchain and also enforce transaction finality with only one confirmation.

Making Zcoin usable as a cryptocurrency in day-to-day life

We haven’t forgotten our roots and mission statement to be a usable cryptocurrency, and we have several initiatives underway to make Zcoin more easily obtainable and spendable. Of those channels that we have already publicly announced, we are making good progress into allowing Zcoin to be used on Thailand’s QR code based national payment system, allowing Zcoin to be spent in any of the 2 million merchants currently accepting QR code-based payments.

Thailand is an excellent place to start as a use case for adoption. This is due to its permissive stance on cryptocurrencies, its widespread use of a unified QR code system and the fact that our founder Poramin Insom owns Satang Pro, one of only three digital asset exchanges that have been given a license to operate by the Thai Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).

Research and Development on Lelantus

We are also ramping up our research and development efforts on Lelantus, which is an improved version of Sigma that allows users to burn and redeem any arbitrary amounts instead of having to use fixed denominations. This greatly improves the privacy and usability of the protocol. Since the publication of the Lelantus academic paper, we have made many technical improvements from halving verification time through software optimizations, and we are now researching the possibility of hierarchical 1-Out-Of-Many Proofs that greatly improve proofing times. We are also encouraged by the feedback we have received on Lelantus from many top cryptographic researchers even from competing privacy projects such as Monero and Zcash.

 

We hope that we have given you some insight into our vision of the Zcoin project and welcome our community’s feedback.