Zcoin (XZC) is a cryptocurrency focused on privacy and decentralization. It is the first coin to implement the Zerocoin protocol that enables financial privacy through the power of zero knowledge proofs with a focus on making privacy easy to use. It is also set to be the first to release MTP an ASIC resistant, anti-botnet proof of work algorithm that remains lightweight to verify to ensure fair distribution of coins and decentralized security. Zcoin is an open source decentralized cryptocurrency that focuses on achieving privacy and anonymity for its users while transacting. To achieve this privacy and anonymity, Zcoin uses zero-knowledge proofs via Zerocoin protocol which is one of the most cited cryptography papers at this point in time. In other words, when you transact using Bitcoin or Ethereum or something similar, your transaction history is always linked to your coins by default which makes you vulnerable. That, because all it takes is one link to your personal information or IP to find out the origin of the coins.However, if you transact using Zcoin’s Zerocoin feature, none of your transaction histories is linked to the actual coins and only the receiver and sender know that you have actually exchanged funds. Zerocoin is a cryptocurrency proposed by Johns Hopkins University professor Matthew D. Green and graduate students Ian Miers and Christina Garman as an extension to the Bitcoin protocol that would add true cryptographic anonymity to Bitcoin transactions. Zerocoin was first implemented into a fully functional cryptocurrency released to the public by Poramin Insom, as Zcoin who is also the lead developer, in September 2016. At the initial stage, Zcoin uses the Lyra2z algorithm for proof of work, then they will transition to a Merkle Tree proof of work algorithm, known as MTP. MTP is a unique memory hard algorithm that aims to solve several problems. Memory hard algorithms help prevent the development of ASICs which lead to centralized mining farms. Memory hard algorithms also prevent the use of botnets infecting computers for mining purposes. If a botnet was using up multiple gigs of memory, you’d be likely to notice something is wrong. “The basic concept is that it should establish the same price/cost for a single computation unit on all platforms meaning that there is no single device that should gain a significant advantage over another for the same price hence promoting egalitarian computing.
Cortex is built on a new public chain called Cortex. The chain includes AI algorithms that support smart contracts, which means anyone can use Cortex to add AI to their smart contracts. It also creates an incentive mechanism for collective collaboration, allowing anyone to submit and optimize models in Cortex, while model contributors can also be rewarded. The end result of Cortex, according to the whitepaper, is the creation of “artificial general intelligence”, or AGI, “being born on the Cortex”. Cortex completed a private token sale in February/March 2018 for its CTXC tokens. That funding round was led by Bitmain and FBG Capital, among other well-known investors in the cryptocurrency space. Placing artificial intelligence systems on the blockchain isn’t a straightforward process. However, Cortex will solve this problem by allowing machine learning researchers around the world to upload well-trained corresponding data models to the storage layer of the Cortex public chain. Other users who need these AI models can make inferences using the models, then pay the person who developed those models. At each inference, a full node synchronizes the model and the data from the storage tier to the local site. Making an inference using Cortex’s unique virtual machine, or CVM, will synchronize the results to the whole network and then return the result. Every time a user initiates a transaction on the Cortex, opens a smart contract, or performs an intelligence inference, the user will need to pay a certain number of “Endorphin” tokens. Endorphin is the pricing unit for transactions on Cortex. However, the platform will have two tokens, including Endorphins and Cortex Coins (CTXC). The overall goal of Cortex is to provide state-of-the-art machine learning models on the blockchain where users can infer using smart contracts. Cortex also seeks to create a machine learning platform where users can post tasks on the platform or submit artificial intelligence-based decentralized apps. Cortex’s token sale began with a single private placement round. That round took place from February 7 to March 7, 2018, during which tokens were sold at a price of 1 ETH = 1500 CTXC. In March 2018, the company announced that it had reached its target cap of 40,000 ETH for 60 million CTXC, or 20.01% of the total token distribution. FBG Capital and Bitmain were lead investors during the token sale. CTXC tokens are ERC20 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain. There’s a total supply of 299,792,458 tokens. Of the total supply, 50.03% (150 million) are reserved for Cortex coin miners as a mining reward, 24.95% (74,792,458) are dedicated to the project’s foundation from the genesis block (including 15.01% to the Cortex Lab, 9.01% to project marketing, and 0.93% to challenge bounties), with the remaining 5% going to advisors, academia, and the community from the genesis block. Cortex aims to place advanced artificial intelligence systems on the blockchain. The company recently completed a private investment round during its token sale for CTXC tokens in February/March 2018. The next step is to roll out the Cortex public chain. Key features of the platform include its smart AI contracts and its Cortex Virtual Machine, both of which allow for advanced AI-based smart contract programming.