Wilcox was an early Bitcoin explorer, known for his message board exchanges with the man behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakomoto. He is no stranger to the ins and outs of how the technology behind the cryptocurrency works and doesn’t work. The cryptopionneer called privacy the, “main value proposition.”
However as Bitcoin moved more mainstream, so did the shortfalls of the Proof-of-Work concept. The security on the blockchain is not as secure as initially thought, transactions are pricey, and the entire system is not a friend of the environment.
Back in the early days (2010) Wilcox worked with a team of scientists to come up with a solution to the issue of privacy. The solution became zk-SNARK.
Zk-SNARK is Zero Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Arguments of Knowledge. In simplest terms they are a way of proving a secret is known, without revealing the secret. They are hyper encrypted so that nobody in the blockchain knows who sent something nor what the content is of that something.
Initially Satoshi hoped to integrate zk-SNARK in the network. That never happened. Satoshi also anticipated the large carbon footprint of a successful bitcoin, but didn’t leave a blueprint for a solution.
However, to the first point Zcash happened. Zcash and other anonymous or dark coins incorporated zk-SNARK to provide security and privacy solutions, some more reliable than others. To the second point, Wilcox plans big moves.
A Greener Future with Proof-of-Stake
In a report from Forbes, Wilcox broke the news that he advocates for Zcash to transition away from PoW and over to a greener PoS solution. He points to proven use cases of PoS such as Cardano and Tezos.
While environmental causes are important, security does play a big part as well. Wilcox told Forbes:
“I think proof-of-work has some security flaws, as has been demonstrated by the 51% attacks that have occurred (when a miner controls a majority of computing power on the network and can steal tokens). And I think proof-of-stake can provide a much more powerful kind of security and at lower cost.”
For the Zcash creator, PoS is an all around better approach as crypto moves forward. Though an easy Zcash transition to PoS doesn’t necessarily mean the same for bitcoin.
While the reasons above are what most cite in the case of a switch from PoW to PoS, Wilcox reiterated the current state of privacy in a world increasingly surveilled by governments and large corporations. Despite the eyebrows from the crypto space being raise in light of central bank digital currencies (CBDC), he thinks Zcash and zk-SNARK could be a useful integration for everyone.
“We definitely could help them come up with improved or variants, zero knowledge proof that would serve their purposes. But we would do so only if that one they would feed back into ZEC, which is the engine of our mission, our mission is to empower and free everyone in the world.”
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