Zcoin, the privacy coin which pioneered the Zerocoin Protocol to enable private financial transactions on the blockchain, has become the first network to go live with Merkle Tree Proofs (MTP).
While MTP was first implemented on 23 October this year, the hard switchover takes place on 10 December. The Zcoin network will now reject any blocks mined with its old algorithm, Lyra2z, and only accept blocks mined using the MTP algorithm.
MTP is a Proof of Work (PoW) algorithm which aims to level the playing field for cryptocurrency miners by fighting against crypto mining centralization like ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) farms. It was first described in an academic paper called Egalitarian Computing by Alex Biryukov and Dmitry Khovratovich.
“We are excited to be the first cryptocurrency to pioneer MTP on a blockchain network and see this as a necessary step in our fight to bring back fair distribution to crypto mining. In the early stages of cryptocurrency, we need to find solutions which prevent those with sufficient resources like ASICs to gain an unfair advantage over the network and push out the everyday crypto user,” says Reuben Yap, COO of Zcoin.
ASICs which are designed to mine for cryptocurrencies greatly outperform general purpose computing like CPUs (Central Processing Unit) or even GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) in both speed and efficiency.
MTP is a memory-hard algorithm which uses a large amount of RAM intensively, significantly increasing the cost of ASIC development and limits their advantage over common hardware devices like CPUs and GPUs.
MTP creates a system based on egalitarian computing, giving everyday users an equal opportunity to mine for cryptocurrency and deterring automated large-scale attacks. A fair mining system leads to a wider and fairer distribution of coins, which is important if a cryptocurrency is to gain traction. Ensuring that people can mine with widely available hardware combats censorship, miner centralization, and potential 51% attacks.
There are also plans for Zcoin to further improve MTP, for example in reducing its proof sizes and further evaluating its ASIC resistance.
Zcoin (XZC) is an open source, decentralised privacy coin that focuses on achieving privacy and anonymity for its users while transacting on the blockchain. It is the first full implementation of the Zerocoin Protocol, which allows users to have complete privacy over their transactions via zero-knowledge cryptographic proofs. It also is the first coin to implement the Dandelion protocol to prevent IP addresses from being tied to a particular transaction to protect a user’s identity.