Why use Zcash to pay for stuff?
Why not use a credit card, debit card, or even Paypal? That’s what normal people do, right?
These types of payments use the double-entry accounting system of government money invented by the Midici family in 15th century Italy. The overly-simplified idea is a central authority issues money, and banks keep records of debits and credits. The banks have authority to accept/reject a user, and to censor actions. This design has worked fairly well for more than 500 years.
But with current technology, we should be able to give more power to the end users who use a system, right?
In fact, around 2009 Satoshi made this possible! Satoshi gave the world the gift of Bitcoin. Every node keeps a copy of the synced record, obsoleting the need for a trusted third party. With power decentralized, no individual can control the system or shut it down. Anyone can participate in this new financial order.
However, there’s a downside. As much as open blockchains can empower and free end users, the public nature of them can be dangerous for privacy. Let’s use a hotel analogy to illustrate. What if Satoshi invented a hotel? All are invited. The hotel is open and accessible to all. There’s always room at the inn. A network of decentralized nodes takes care of everything like making sure payments are made.
But how much privacy is there at Satoshi’s hotel? It’s a reality tv show with faces blurred. Video cameras in every room, viewable by anyone in the world. Guests with blurred faces believe they are anonymous enough to act freely, which makes for good television. However, when you track someone coming or going from the hotel (chain-analysis), and make connections, then the blurred face thing becomes irrelevant.
The more time goes by, the more links get made, the more identities get revealed, the more it spirals into a panopticon state. Not to mention, everyone’s actions are digitally archived, accessible for free, to the whole world, until the end of time.
How is Zcash different?
Using Zcash is like having a Harry Potter invisibility cloak, with an ability to put it on and take it off, at will. When the world tunes in to the Zcash reality tv show, they will only see what Zcashers have consented to let them see. Imagine being empowered with that kind of freedom!
Ever buy something at a retail store, and when you checkout you’re asked a bunch of superfluous questions? Name, phone number, email address, etc.? Then a couple weeks later you get hit with all kinds of magazines and targeted advertising? If you donate to charity, it can be even worse. Every time I go to the mailbox I get a handful of solicitations from nonprofits I’ve donated to years ago and from some I’ve never heard of who likely purchased my address.
Ever wish you could tell them, ‘I’m only going to give you what you need to know, and that is knowledge that the item is paid for. Bye-bye.’ In truth, it’s easier to do online. No nasty looks from cashiers.
Zcash is useful because financial privacy can protect you from nosy people. It can protect you from being targeted by advertisers. It can protect you from those who disagree with you. It can protect you from the dark underbelly of the world. And since digital records don’t degrade, it can protect you from future threats you can’t even imagine yet.
If you’d like to be a super ninja who uses Zcash, it’s getting easier and easier! You can start by getting a wallet like ZecWallet Lite. Soon, a mobile wallet will be available. Once you get some ZEC currency in your wallet, by earning ZEC, or buying ZEC at a cryptoATM or a regulated exchange like Gemini, you’re in the game. You can then “Pay With Zcash.” Food, clothing, games, etc. There are hundreds of stores and charities that accept it, with more being added all the time. Enjoy!