Today, Coinbase announced its intent to explore the listing of Zcash along with four other digital currencies.
Coinbase provides an important, regulated on-ramp to utilizing Zcash’s technology for over 20 million consumers. We applaud the Coinbase decision to explore Zcash inclusion as its first privacy-protecting currency.
In their announcement, Coinbase states that the difference between Zcash shielded and transparent transactions is “analogous to the distinction between unencrypted HTTP and encrypted HTTPS.”
We are encouraged by Coinbase’s reference to the HTTP and HTTPS distinction. Historically HTTPS had been used to protect user’s payment transactions on the internet but has since been adopted broadly to cover all data. In fact, encryption is now an essential backbone of consumer and business protection on the Internet.
The Zcash Company mission is to empower everyone with economic freedom and opportunity. And privacy is necessary for economic freedom. Zcash was created precisely to protect the privacy rights of law-abiding citizens and guard them against harm by bad actors. We cannot speak for the New York Department of Financial Services but believe that they recognized this in announcing their approval of Gemini as the first qualified custodian and exchange to trade Zcash in New York.
Coinbase also referenced upcoming Zcash performance improvements that will come in the next Zcash protocol upgrade, called Sapling. Verifying encrypted Zcash transactions is computationally intensive today and this makes it difficult for high volume exchanges such as Coinbase to support shielded transactions. Sapling is in testing now, has undergone rigorous 3rd party audits, and is expected for activation in October of 2018. We stand ready to assist Coinbase in adding Zcash support for their customers.