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Horizen (ZEN) - formerly Zencash - is a leading-edge platform that enables real-life uses outside of their cryptocurrency - ZEN. Horizen is a massively scalable general-purpose blockchain system that enables an unbounded and fully decentralized sidechain ecosystem.
Horizen is creating an ecosystem with a censorship-resistant peer-to-peer network owned by its users, permissionless in participation, and constructed with incentives for endogenous growth.
Horizen’s goal is to create a sidechain system that enables real-world applications to be mapped on a fully distributed, secure, privacy-preserving blockchain architecture, and sharing the use of ZEN as a well established and tradable token with real value. Such a system will allow developers the creation of decentralized applications implemented as sidechains to the Horizen main blockchain with their own logic and data.
The Horizen project was launched in May 2017 as “ZenCash” founded by Rob Viglione and Rolf Versluis. Originally created to provide a peer-to-peer economic system for money, media, and messaging, it was rebranded as “Horizen” in July 2018. The team expanded its market focus to general-purpose blockchain systems in October 2019 upon the alpha release of the Horizen Sidechain System and SDK.
Horizen (ZEN) Review
Horizen was forked from ZClassic (ZCL), which was derived from ZCash (ZEC), which was originally a clone of Bitcoin (BTC). Horizen had no pre-mine and did not conduct an ICO. The project was created to provide security and privacy. It has a fixed lifetime amount of 21 million coins. Horizen is currently listed on Binance, Bittrex, OKEx, and Cryptopia exchanges among others.
With the goal of ensuring full privacy, anonymity, and safety of its users, Horizen uses the following protocols: zk-SNARKS, TLS integration, domain fronting, distributed publishing, client-to-node encryption, and end-to-end encryption. These technologies allow users to select the desired level of transparency for their digital assets and communications.
In addition to the coin, ZEN, the Horizen platform includes the ability to privately chat with others through the Sphere by Horizen App and, eventually, the ability to enable users to publish information and go anywhere on the web with complete privacy.
To raise funds for current development and security improvements, Horizen has changed the algorithm for the distribution of mining rewards, which now exists in ZClassic:
- 88% of the reward (which will be 12.5 ZEN per block), will remain miners.
- 5% is provided for financing of one or more DAO.
- 3.5% of the reward for the block will be received by the operators of protected nodes (Secure Node). 3.5% will go to the funding of the Horizen Core team.
There are a number of official wallets for Horizen storage, including versions for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Official wallets include Sphere by Horizen, Swing Wallet, Horizen Core, Arizen, MyZenWallet, Zen Wallet, and Paper Wallet. Third-party wallets are available as well, including a Horizen-branded CoolWallet, Coinomi, and Ledger.
The Horizen project's focus on privacy doesn’t equate with opacity. On the opposite, the candid openness of the project is emblematically illustrated in the open Roadmap available on their website. As its name says, the focus here is on development, not on marketing or promotion activities.
Rob Vilgione, Co-Founder and President, holds an MBA in Finance and Marketing, with a PMP certification, and is a Ph.D Candidate in Finance at the University of South Carolina researching cryptofinance and teaching “Bitcoin & Blockchain Applications in Finance.” He is a former physicist, mercenary mathematician, and military officer with experience in satellite radar, space launch vehicles, and combat support intelligence. Viglione was first deployed to Afghanistan in 2013 as a data scientist for the U.S. Army. His contributions within the crypto space include being part of Zclassic’s core team, support to the Bitshares project, heading up BlockPay’s U.S. and Canada Ambassador program, and consulting for Bitgate.
Rolf Versluis, Co-Founder and Executive Advisor, is an Electrical Engineering graduate from the United States Naval Academy and has served as a US Navy nuclear submarine officer operating out of Hawaii. Versluis has also gained management and leadership experience from running a mid-sized IT company in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to his role with Horizen, Versluis operates a private cryptocurrency mining facility with hundreds of operational systems and hosts a blog and YouTube channel on crypto mining.
In an effort to rapidly address scalability, performance, and security challenges, Horizen partnered with IOHK, a technology company known for creating innovative peer-to-peer solutions for financial transactions. Leading the IOHK partnership is Professor Roman Oliynykov, a Ukrainian cryptographer, IT researcher, and IOHK Research Fellow.
Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) Treasury
Horizen is governed by the Zen Blockchain Foundation. Treasury funds (8.5%) are automatically set aside for development, support, and marketing.
- May 2017 - Zen blockchain is launched with ZenCash as the first product.
- December 2017 - ZenCash launched the world’s first end-to-end encrypted cryptocurrency network.
- January 2018 - ZenCash partners with IOHK to fast track Research & Development for financial solutions generation process of zk-SNARK five times faster.
- April 2018 - ZenCash launched ZenHelp the first cryptocurrency and blockchain-related 24/7 service desk.
- June 2018 - ZenCash releases its 51% attack mitigation solution whitepaper.
- August 2018 - Horizen (ZenCash at the time) announces its brand expansion and new name, Horizen.
- October 2018 - Horizen releases their Sidechain Solution Whitepaper: Decoupled Consensus Between Chains
- December 2018 - Horizen releases their flagship application Sphere by Horizen, a multifunctional application with wallet capabilities.
- March 2019 - Horizen releases the Horizen Academy, a free educational resource on blockchain and cryptocurrency.
- October 2019 - Horizen Sidechains and Sidechain SDK reach Alpha phase.
Horizen Academy is a free and open service designed for educating all levels of learners interested in blockchain technology. Users can choose between three levels, beginner, advanced, and expert, to learn more about privacy, technology, and the Horizen platform. Horizen Acadamy also features articles on the general history of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. For more information, visit https://academy.horizen.global/.
Horizen hack by 51% attack
Horizen (ZEN) has become a new victim of “51% attack”. According to the official statement of the developers, on June 2, hackers carried out at least 3 repeated spending in the cryptocurrency network.
To carry out a” 51% attack " hackers need to take over most of the network hashrate, which will give them the opportunity to reorganize the blockchain, forcing the network to accept false blocks. Usually the attacker monetize “51 attack” via double-spending. This can be done by placing coins on the crypto exchange, making a transaction with the same amount of coins on the wallet under their control. As soon as the exchange shall transfer their funds, they translate them into bitcoin or another cryptocurrency, and then out through the other purse.
After the withdrawal of funds, hackers reorganize the official blockchain, forcing it to take a longer fork. Funds disappear from the wallet of the exchange, appearing on the wallet of the hacker. In this particular case, the hacker made 3 double expenses, including one that reorganized the blockchain into as many as 38 blocks. In total, the hackers brought more than 23,152 ZEN worth about $700,000 at the time of the attack. In recent weeks, Bitcoin Gold, Monacoin and Verge (twice) have been affected by the “51% attack”. The cost of carrying out an attack against many altcoins is low, especially given that the hashrate can be rented to the so-called “cloud services”.
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