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A Blockchain Currency That Beats Bitcoin On Privacy

Zcash’s new cryptocurrency promises complete anonymity

6 min read
Photo: Morgen E. Peck
Preparing for Launch: Zooko Wilcox, CEO of Zcash, presided over a cryptographic process that ensured the currency’s security.
Photo: Morgen E. Peck

In October, I was in a van in Denver with Zooko Wilcox,the CEO of Zcash, a company that was soon to launch a new blockchain-based digital currency of the same name. On the floor next to me was a bunch of recently purchased computer equipment. I knew we were going to a hotel but didn’t know which one. I only knew that I’d be there for the next two days straight and that it would be my job to watch, ask questions, stave off sleep, and document as much as I possibly could.

That day began a cryptographic ceremony of sorts, one that could make or break a new digital currency. Zcash is identical to Bitcoin in many ways. It’s founded on a digital ledger of transactions called a blockchain that exists on an army of computers that can be anywhere in the world. But it differs from Bitcoin in one critical way: It is completely anonymous. Although privacy was a motivating factor for ­Bitcoin’s flock of early adopters, it didn’t deliver the goods. For those who want to digitally replicate the experience of slipping on a ski mask and handing over an envelope of unmarked bills, Zcash is now the way to go.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
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A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
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You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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