In the fall of 2016, the cryptocurrency world was aflutter with excitement about the creation of a new kind of cryptocurrency, zcash. Unlike bitcoin, which is designed to be completely transparent – and trackable – zcash was coded to hide all information about a financial transaction, including not only the amounts involved, but also the public keys. That meant that prying eyes could no longer follow the cryptocurrency as it changed hands.
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Developers of zcash, at the Denver-based Zerocoin Electric Coin Company, used cutting-edge math that allowed an individual to prove a truth, such as that they owned an amount of cryptocurrency, without even revealing what that truth was. It’s called a zero-knowledge proof. Math would do the work, no humans needed. The Notorious whistle-blower acknowledges he was the sixth person who participated in an elaborate 2016 ceremony that led to the creation of zcash, a leading privacy protecting cryptocurrency now valued at $2 billion.