Zen is a blockchain system based on the Bitcoin protocol design and with feature specialization in privacy, censorship-evasion, and transaction anonymity.
Zen node traffic is fully encrypted end-to-end and its token, ZenCash, is transacted via zero-knowledge cryptographic shielding that protects against traffic correlation analysis. Since Zen nodes and their protocol traffic are obscured on the network, transactions are both private and fully anonymous.
Zen offers features beyond ZenCash transactions. The Zen platform allows fully encrypted communication and file-sharing, document publication, encrypted economic/business activity and hosts a distributed autonomous organization system, the Zen DAO governance system.
Via fully-encrypted-everything and design focused on privacy and obscurity, Zen embodies the maximalist protocol security that Bitcoin sacrifices in favor of simplicity, usability and wide (ease of) adoption. The Zen infrastructure’s combination of full encryption, zero-knowledge proofs, and a governance engine, opens multiple use-case opportunities listed in the Zen White Paper as follows:
– hosting of individual identification data
– selective proof of title for property
– decentralized banking services
– privacy-preserving p2p/b2b asset exchange
– mutual aid societies
– p2p insurance
– decentralized humanitarian aid mechanisms
– simple use as an anonymous token of value
Zen Node for Mining
A distinction is made between Secure nodes and Standard nodes. A Standard node is both a node and a wallet but lacks the capability of Secure node full encryption. Prospective miners must run a Secure node on a server with minimum 4 GB RAM.
Zen Secure nodes perform the following infrastructure tasks:
- encrypt all network traffic between nodes
- maintain the Zen full blockchain
- provide other nodes and ZenCash wallets with SSL certificates and
- encrypted connections
In order to qualify for 3.5% of each block’s coinbase reward, operators are required by the protocol to:
- perform the infrastructure functions listed above
- keep a minimum balance of 42 ZenCash on the host server
Advisory: Holders of Zclassic tokens at the time of the Zclassic block 110,000 snapshot (approx. 18 May 2017) had been allocated a 1:1 amount of ZenCash.
The Zen White Paper states that foundational examples from which Zen was developed are Bitcoin, Dash, Decred, and Seasteading.
The initial project was called Zcash which extended the standard Bitcoin transaction with a fully anonymous shielded transaction. Hence, with Zcash, users had a choice between standard Bitcoin-like addresses (t-addresses) and shielded addresses (z-addresses) that are resistant to traffic correlation analysis.
Zclassic was developed from the Zcash code base with alterations to the rate of initial money supply and Founders’ Reward.
Finally, Zen was forked from Zclassic and developed with a fully encrypted network, and a platform with internal funding to make possible a range of interconnected file-sharing, communications and economic use-case features.