ZenCash rebrands as Horizen. New platform features, awful tagline
New privacy platform features really help Horizen stand out, and compensate for its terrible new slogan.
One of the most competitive niches in the cryptocurrency industry is the area of privacy-focused cryptocurrencies with names beginning with Z.
There is (was) ZenCash, not to be confused with the completely different Zcash, Zcoin or ZClassic cryptocurrencies. None of which should be confused with the ZeroEdge non-privacy gambling cryptocurrency.
Clearly a bit of rebranding was much needed. However ZenCash waited until it had a host of new features ready to unveil alongside its objectively better name, to really bring it to life.
Not coincidentally, that's its new and hilariously bland official tagline: "Bringing privacy to life™". Someone clearly phoned that in.
However, the new technical features and the refocus as a privacy platform are very distinctive.
Not just zen cash, a whole zen platform
“The ZenCash project has greatly evolved since its inception more than a year ago, and it’s now time to expand our brand to more accurately reflect our mission to promote the fundamental human right of privacy worldwide. What initially launched as a privacy-focused cryptocurrency has transformed into a much broader and deeply capable platform that will host a variety of privacy-focused applications, including secure messaging and publishing," said
ZenCash Horizen President and Co-founder Robert Viglione.
"The Horizen brand completely embodies our technically-innovative mission and the sentiments of our community — we are a visionary privacy platform in which people can believe and to which they can belong."
The zen transactions themselves will still remain, but they're intended to be joined by new privacy-centric systems, community government mechanisms and general quality of life improvements, such as censorship resistant publishing, a treasury voting system for allocation of community resources and a ZenVault wallet.
It's also continuing work on technical improvements, such as blockDAG protocols for improved scalability.
The most critical development might be continuing work on ASIC mining resistance. ZenCash succumbed to a US$600,000 51% double spend attack on 2 June 2018, and if it can't reign in its continuing problem with theoretical 51% vulnerability, all the other developments might not really matter.
ASIC resistance is a very solid countermeasure, but it's always just a temporary bandaid. Once a coin starts down the road of ASIC resistance, it's committing to a never ending arms race against miners, and a huge ongoing drain on valuable developer time.
But with technical partners including IOHK, probably best known for its work on Cardano, and Infopulse it might be in a reasonably good position to stay ahead of the game where smaller projects would fall by the wayside.
"As we to pioneer innovation with our community and technical partners IOHK and Infopulse, our expanded brand encompasses our unlimited capability to deliver new product offerings, improve our platform for partners to build even more profitable applications, and enable personal freedom and liberty using technological privacy," said Horizen executive advisor and co-founder Rolf Versluis.
Privacy is one of the hottest issues in cryptocurrency right now, and will probably continue to be for the foreseeable future. Horizen's holistic plans to build an entire privacy-centric platform, rather than just plod along with the rest of the Z-flavoured privacy cryptocurrencies might be a significant development in the space.
But as always in crypto, there are no guarantees of success. Privacy in transactions alone is an extraordinarily complex area which the Monero founder has previously likened to an endless game of cat and mouse. Expanding it across an entire platform, while simultaneously developing a new wallet, fighting off 51% attacks and pursuing ASIC resistance, incorporating governance features and doing all the marketing and PR legwork required to maintain one's brand, is extremely ambitious.
The Horizen rebrand is the easy part. The hard part is everything that comes next. And coming up with a decent slogan.
Disclosure: At the time of writing the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VET, XLM, BTC, ADA