Horizen (ZEN) – is a blockchain ecosystem that strives to empower and reward everyone for their contributions. Horizen’s massively scalable platform enables businesses and developers to quickly and affordably create their own public or private blockchains on the largest node network in the industry. Horizen’s Sidechain SDK provides all the necessary components for fast and easy deployment of a fully customizable blockchain.
ZEN is the native cryptocurrency of the Horizen. It offers optional privacy features that allow users to control their digital footprint.
The Horizen project was launched as ZenCash by Rob Viglione and Rolf Versluis in May 2017. Originally created to provide a peer-to-peer economic system for money, media, and messaging, it was rebranded as “Horizen” in July 2018. The team expanded its market focus to general-purpose blockchain systems in October 2019 upon the alpha release of the Horizen Sidechain System and Sidechain SDK.
Horizen had no pre-mine and did not conduct an ICO. It has a fixed lifetime amount of 21 million coins. The primary differentiator for Horizen is its unique sidechain design. The design includes cross-chain transfer mechanisms and each sidechain is mainchain agnostic, meaning that they operate independently from the mainchain. This keeps the mainchain secure from potential malicious sidechains.
Horizen is currently listed on Binance, Bittrex, OKEx, and Cryptopia exchanges among others.
Horizen seeks to empower people and bring the world together through technology and economic incentives to generate a robust and sustainable ecosystem. They focus heavily on R&D and community development.
Horizen sidechains are a scaling solution that enables the connection of bespoke blockchains to the Horizen mainchain. Horizen sidechains can be created with any programming language and consensus mechanism while retaining the ability to communicate information and value back to the Horizen mainchain’s network. Each sidechain is a full blockchain application that requires the implementation of consensus, network layer, wallet, history, and many other pieces. Most sidechains, beyond their specific logic and data, can be based on the same implementation.
Horizen provides a Sidechain SDK that addresses most of these aspects and includes all necessary components required for building a blockchain in a single toolbox.
With the goal of ensuring the privacy and safety of its users, Horizen uses the following protocols: zk-SNARKS, TLS integration, domain fronting, distributed publishing, client-to-node encryption, and end-to-end encryption. These technologies allow users to select the desired level of transparency for their digital assets and communications.
In addition to the coin, ZEN, the Horizen platform includes the ability to privately chat with others through the Sphere by Horizen App.
Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) Treasury
Horizen is governed by the Zen Blockchain Foundation. Treasury funds (20%) are automatically set aside for development, support, and marketing. Horizen is building a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) as a voting mechanism to determine the allocation of treasury funds in the future.
Horizen Academy is a free and open service designed for educating all levels of learners interested in blockchain technology. Users can choose between three levels, beginner, advanced, and expert, to learn more about privacy, technology, and the Horizen platform. Horizen Academy also features articles on the general history of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
Horizen’s algorithm for the distribution of block rewards:
- 60% of the reward goes to miners.
- 20% goes to the Horizen treasury to fund project development (such as community development, marketing, maintenance, etc.)
- 10% goes to supernode operators
- 10% goes to secure node operators
There are a number of wallets for ZEN storage, including versions for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Official wallets include Sphere by Horizen, Swing Wallet, MyZenWallet, Zen Wallet, and Paper Wallet. Third-party wallets are available as well, including a Horizon-branded CoolWallet, Coinomi, and Ledger.
The Horizen project’s focus on privacy doesn’t equate with opacity. On the opposite, the candid openness of the project is illustrated in the open Roadmap available on their website. As its name says, the focus here is on development, not on marketing or promotion activities.
Rob Viglione, Co-Founder and President, holds an MBA in Finance and Marketing, with a PMP certification, and is a Ph.D. Candidate in Finance at the University of South Carolina researching crypto finance and teaching “Bitcoin & Blockchain Applications in Finance.” He is a former physicist, mercenary mathematician, and military officer with experience in satellite radar, space launch vehicles, and combat support intelligence. Viglione was first deployed to Afghanistan in 2013 as a data scientist for the U.S. Army. His contributions within the crypto space include being part of Zclassic’s core team, support to the Bitshares project, heading up BlockPay’s U.S. and Canada Ambassador program, and consulting for Bitgate.
Rolf Versluis, Co-Founder and Executive Advisor, is an Electrical Engineering graduate from the United States Naval Academy and has served as a US Navy nuclear submarine officer operating out of Hawaii. Versluis has also gained management and leadership experience from running a mid-sized IT company in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to his role with Horizen, Versluis operates a private cryptocurrency mining facility with hundreds of operational systems and hosts a blog and YouTube channel on crypto mining.
To rapidly address scalability, performance, and security challenges, Horizen partnered with IOHK, a technology company known for creating innovative peer-to-peer solutions for financial transactions. Leading the IOHK partnership is Professor Roman Oliynykov, a Ukrainian cryptographer, IT researcher, and IOHK Research Fellow.
Horizen 51% Attack Solution
in June, 2018, Horizen (ZEN) saw more than $500,000 hacked from an exchange in a “51% attack”. Horizen developers quickly implemented a deterrent against potential future 51% attacks. Horizen’s 51% attack algorithm introduces penalties for delayed blocks – those that are broadcast to the network a long time after the latest block. The design is an adaptation of Nakamoto’s longest chain rule.
Horizen’s 51% attack prevention is open-sourced and at least one other blockchain project uses it.
- May 2017 – Zen blockchain is launched with ZenCash as the first product.
- December 2017 – ZenCash launched the world’s first end-to-end encrypted cryptocurrency network.
- January 2018 – ZenCash partners with IOHK to fast track Research & Development for financial solutions generation process of zk-SNARK five times faster.
- April 2018 – ZenCash launched ZenHelp, the first cryptocurrency and blockchain-related 24/7 service desk.
- June 2018 – ZenCash releases its 51% attack mitigation solution whitepaper.
- August 2018 – Horizen (ZenCash at the time) announces its brand expansion and a new name, Horizen.
- October 2018 – Horizen releases their Sidechain Solution Whitepaper: Decoupled Consensus Between Chains
- December 2018 – Horizen releases its flagship application Sphere by Horizen, a multifunctional application with wallet capabilities.
- March 2019 – Horizen releases the Horizen Academy, a free educational resource on blockchain and cryptocurrency.
- October 2019 – Horizen Sidechains and Sidechain SDK reach Alpha phase.
- October 2019 – Horizen released a new whitepaper called “Horizen Whitepaper 2.0” which updates the focus of the project.
- January 2020 – Horizen released their whitepaper titled “Zendoo: A zk-SNARK Verifiable Cross-Chain Transfer Protocol Enabling Decoupled and Decentralized Sidechains” which describes the design and implementation of Horizen sidechains.
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