The development of Zcash began in 2013 with the Zerocoin protocol, which was originally designed to be implemented as a Bitcoin extension. The Zerocoin protocol offered enhanced privacy features by allowing users to convert their bitcoins into anonymous tokens that could be used in place of regular bitcoins for transactions. However, the Zerocoin protocol had a number of drawbacks that made it unsuitable for widespread adoption, such as its high transaction fees and slow processing times.
To address these issues, the Zerocash protocol was developed as an improvement upon the Zerocoin protocol. The Zerocash protocol was designed to be faster, more efficient, and more scalable than the Zerocoin protocol. It was also designed to be a standalone cryptocurrency, rather than an extension of Bitcoin. The Zerocash protocol was later renamed to Zcash, and the Zcash Company was founded in 2015 to develop and promote the currency.
Zcash launched in October 2016 with a total supply of 21 million coins. The currency's launch was accompanied by a lot of hype and speculation, as many people saw Zcash as a potential game-changer in the cryptocurrency space. However, Zcash's launch was not without controversy. The currency's creators chose to implement a "founders' reward" that would pay out 20% of the currency's mining rewards to the founders and early investors for the first four years of the currency's existence. This was seen by some as a premine, and it led to accusations of unfairness and centralization.
Despite these early controversies, Zcash has continued to grow and evolve. The currency has undergone several upgrades and improvements, such as the Sapling upgrade in 2018 that significantly improved the efficiency and privacy of transactions. The Zcash community has also been working on a number of other improvements, such as the Halo upgrade that is expected to further improve the privacy and scalability of the network.
Overall, Zcash has established itself as one of the leading privacy-focused cryptocurrencies on the market. The currency has a strong community of supporters and developers who are working to improve the technology and make it more accessible to users around the world. While Zcash's journey has not been without its challenges, the currency has shown itself to be resilient and adaptable, and it is likely to continue to play an important role in the cryptocurrency space for years to come.