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Parity to Help Zcash (the Currency) Gain Independence From Zcash (the Startup)

The privacy-centric zcash cryptocurrency just took a small step toward greater decentralization.

Revealed exclusively to CoinDesk, ethereum-focused startup Parity Technologies is partnering with the non-profit Zcash Foundation to create the first zcash node software that isn't built or managed by the Zerocoin Electric Coin Company led by Zooko Wilcox.

As part of that shift, the foundation is looking to hire four engineers to manage development and upkeep for open-source projects. Meanwhile, Parity CTO Fredrik Harrysson told CoinDesk his startup will have two engineers devoted to building this new zcash node.

"Zcash holds, obviously, a special place in this ecosystem. It's one of few zero-knowledge proof-oriented approaches to privacy," Harrysson said, referring to a cryptographic method that allows systems to verify a calculation or transaction without revealing its details. "Building that zero-knowledge proof expertise in our company is really important."

This move also shows how the Zcash Foundation is looking to prioritize decentralization, given that until now, development of the privacy coin was dominated by Wilcox's startup. By the end of 2019, zcash users will be able to choose which software to implement. Both options will be almost identical, but it may not always be that way.

"Philosophically, both the foundation and the zcash startup are fork-friendly," the Zcash Foundation's communications manager, Sonya Mann, told CoinDesk, meaning they don't object to anyone creating splinter versions of the cryptocurrency. "If, down the road, issues arose that lead to a fork, I can see it happening amicably, which I think is highly unusual."

Since Wilcox himself told CoinDesk in June that the zcash community needs multiple parties adding checks-and-balances to the overall system, the startup's notable absence from this project shows how the foundation is maturing on its own trajectory. Mann called the Parity partnership a...

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