"The markets have seen a positive trend that I foresee continuing indefinitely" An interview with Horizen.io co-founder Rob Viglione
Cryptogeek: Hello. For our readers, who may be reading about your project for the first time, please tell us what Horizen is for 2021.
Rob Viglione: Horizen is the most secure and scalable blockchain ecosystem supported by the largest and most decentralized multi-tiered node infrastructure in the industry. We enable businesses and developers to build public or private blockchains and dapps on the Horizen ecosystem through our unique scalability protocol, Zendoo.
Zendoo provides all necessary components for an easy and speedy deployment of fully customizable blockchains on Horizen and focuses on scalability, flexibility, and data privacy.
Cryptogeek: Could you give us a few examples of possible use cases of your blockchain ecosystem which you had in mind when creating the project?
Also, are there already any existing real-world use cases of your project for now?
Rob Viglione: Horizen is heavily focused on bringing real-world use cases to the Horizen ecosystem. For example, we recently announced major partnerships with Celsius, Morpheus.Network, Dash, LTO Network, and more.
These partnerships are all bringing exciting use cases to Horizen. Celsius is utilizing an automated audit blockchain that leverages zero-knowledge cryptography created by Horizen Labs built on Horizen, called zkAudit. This application solves some of the biggest problems in today’s audit process by auditing in near-real-time and increasing transparency in current auditing processes without revealing private customer data.
Dash is in the process of building a blockchain on the Horizen platform that will motivate activities that drive mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency payment and Dash ecosystem growth, and allow users to earn rewards for their efforts. This will help enhance Dash’s activities in the digital payments race.
Morpheus.Network is building a supply chain on Zendoo, to act as a blockchain component for the Morpheus.Network platform. This will benefit Morpheus through lower operating costs and enabling businesses to record each step in the supply chain process on a public, permissionless, and decentralized blockchain. They will also explore the implementation of privacy features leveraging zero-knowledge technology and the integration of IoT devices for supply chain workflow automation.Although Zendoo is not released to mainnet yet. The launch is scheduled for the end of Q3/beginning of Q4. The project closest to completion is Celsius’ zkAudit blockchain. The release is anticipated within 2021. So, be on the lookout for announcements.
Cryptogeek: What is your priority - the development of ZEN as a cryptocurrency or the development of your own blockchain platform and ecosystem? How exactly is one related to the other?
Rob Viglione: Our priority for the rest of 2021 is releasing Zendoo to mainnet. As mentioned before, we anticipate the release at the end of Q3/beginning of Q4. Zendoo’s code has recently undergone a couple of audits to ensure the security of our code prior to the release. The results of the first audit were released in February and the results of the second audit will be released soon.
The release will coincide with some really exciting initiatives created by Horizen and, in some cases, with Horizen Labs. This includes an initiative that will jumpstart development on Zendoo that we are calling Zen Ventures, which pairs projects that would like to build on the Horizen ecosystem with investors. We are also planning on hosting some hackathons with Celsius in the future around the release of zkAudit.
Additionally, we will continue to partner with a variety of businesses and projects to further the growth of the Horizen ecosystem and adoption of Zendoo and zero-knowledge-based blockchain solutions for real-world use cases.
Cryptogeek: Tell us more about your Zendoo sidechain solution. What is it and what are its possible uses? How popular is it for now?
Rob Viglione: Zendoo is our scalability protocol which enables the creation of fully customizable blockchains and dapps on the Horizen ecosystem. It is incredibly lightweight and fast, but on top of that it’s fully decentralized, preserves data integrity and privacy. Zendoo is able to support tens of thousands of crosschains running in parallel, with a global maximum transaction throughput of 20,000 transactions per second across all the applications.
Our crosschain implementation is based on our “Latus” model which uses recursive SNARKs technology, potentially avoiding the need for the nodes to download the whole history of the blockchain. This design makes our crosschains very light. Latus also enables the usage of zero-knowledge techniques to enable privacy, not only for transactions, but also for specific application data. This makes it possible to preserve user privacy so that real-world use cases can be implemented on our crosschains.
We recently published our new Proving System Whitepaper, based on Marlin but specifically optimized for recursive proof composition and modified so that no trusted set-up is necessary on Zendoo. The design makes our crosschains easily customizable and efficient.
Zendoo has attracted partners like Celsius, Dash, Morpheus.Network, and more and include use cases like zkAudit, the auditing application, supply chain management, and reward marketing amplifiers, but because of the functionality and customizability of the platform, there is very little limit on the type of applications you will see on Horizen in the future.
Cryptogeek: At the moment, according to Coinmarketcap, ZEN has a market cap of over $730 million. You also have a very large and active community with over 100k Twitter followers. How confident do you feel in the cryptocurrency market today, as a coin?
Rob Viglione: Our community has continuously rallied behind us throughout the last few years. From the beginning of this year until now, ZEN has experienced tremendous momentum and I’m confident that the upwards growth will only continue as our ecosystem continues to grow.
Cryptogeek: According to Coinmarketcap, you are in 94th place in the general list of cryptocurrencies. Obviously, there is wild competition in this market.
How do you position yourself and what is your main key difference compared to other altcoins today?
Rob Viglione: ZEN is the ﬁrst cryptocurrency with fully end-to-end encryption at the node and internode level. It is a Proof-of-Work, Equihash-based, mineable cryptocurrency and has an optional privacy feature that allows you to control your digital footprint.
The key difference between Horizen and many other altcoins today is that our primary focus is on our ecosystem rather than on our cryptocurrency, ZEN. ZEN will be used as fuel to power our transactions on our mainchain, crosschains, and dapps on the ecosystem. I believe the price of ZEN is tied to the usability and growth of our ecosystem. Many altcoins focus only on just having a coin rather than contributing to the further development of blockchain technology, which is not sustainable and ties into the over saturation of the market. Horizen is also designed with a decentralized governance model incorporating multi-stakeholder empowerment and the flexibility to continually evolve to optimally suit our community. Our founders built in a mechanism to direct 20% of block rewards to sustainably fund the development of our ecosystem.
Our incentivized rewards system also led to the creation of our massive node network which decreases our vulnerability to attacks, and leaves the system architecture open for unbounded future development.
Cryptogeek: Let's talk about anonymity and privacy. How anonymous is the use of ZEN today?
Rob Viglione: Horizen (ZEN) offers elective privacy through shielded Z-Addresses and public T-Addresses that work similarly to Bitcoin. However, sending funds from a Z-Address to a T-Address will show the amount received. Our massive node network of over 40,000 nodes worldwide also helps to improve anonymity and decentralization in our transactions and crosschains.
Cryptogeek: On your website and in various reviews of your project on the Internet, it is often mentioned that Horizen has over 40,000 nodes, much more than Bitcoin and Ethereum. Could you explain in simple language for our readers what technical significance it has and what advantages does it give to your project?
Rob Viglione: I touched on this in a previous question, but there are a couple reasons the size of our globally dispersed node network of over 40,000 nodes is important. Our node network improves the scalability, reliability, security and speed of the network. This enhances our ecosystem’s ability to fend off certain types of attacks, protects the privacy of our private transactions, and enables the massive growth of crosschains and dapps on Zendoo.
Horizen’s secure nodes also enable security and resilience of the network with enhanced point-to-point encryption and decentralization, which further enhances our ecosystem against certain threats.
Cryptogeek: Let’s talk about the cryptocurrency market in general. What trends are current in the altcoin market? What has changed in recent years?
Rob Viglione: I am not able to speculate on the market, but I can share what I’ve seen recently. Overall, the markets have seen a positive trend that I foresee continuing indefinitely. I believe the main differentiator is that there are projects like Horizen, Polkadot, Cosmos, and Solana that are driving the advancement and innovation of blockchain technology. This innovation is what has changed in recent years and leads to mainstream adoption through partnerships to build real-world use cases such as auditing technology, supply chain management, and others that are building on Horizen and other blockchain ecosystems already. The more mature these scalability technologies and the industry become, the greater the cryptocurrency market will continue to grow and become mainstream.
Cryptogeek: How do you see the future of the cryptocurrency market? Is it possible that many different cryptocurrencies retain their value and become a medium of exchange? Or will it eventually come down to a small number of major cryptocurrencies?
Rob Viglione: There’s a lot of different use cases for cryptocurrencies, especially with projects like ours, because anybody can build innovative blockchain technologies on top of it and transactions are fueled by our cryptocurrency, ZEN. I foresee this becoming an industry standard which will drive the creation of new projects and innovation of the space. I don’t foresee the industry ever coming down to a small number of major cryptocurrencies. If it did, that would be devastating for the continued innovation of our underlying technologies. This industry is massive and has so much potential. I would like to see it continue to be competitive to drive further growth and innovation of the technology.
Cryptogeek: Do you think Bitcoin will be able to maintain its leadership over the years despite its aging technology?
Rob Viglione: When people think of cryptocurrency they automatically think of Bitcoin. I believe that Bitcoin will always be the ‘ring leader’ in the space especially as we witness increased mainstream adoption as well as mainstream financial institutions getting involved with Bitcoin. However, I believe that as adoption continues, Bitcoin may not be the top of everyone’s thoughts when discussing cryptocurrencies and blockchain.
Cryptogeek: How do you see the future of your project and what are your goals for the next couple of years?
Rob Viglione: As I’ve mentioned previously, there’s a lot of exciting development in the pipeline for our project. The main one being Zendoo’s release on Mainnet in the coming months. Once Zendoo has been released, we will start going full steam ahead with more partnerships and enterprise solutions built on the Horizen blockchain. We have also begun rapid team growth in the areas of Engineering and Product Development to enhance our ecosystem and products. We want to ensure that Horizen is one of the most usable ecosystems and offers robust tools that enable developers and businesses to easily build innovative products on top of the ecosystem. We would love for developers and other blockchain specialists to look into our project and consider applying to work with us. We are also looking to grow our network of content creators and evangelists through our ambassador program. The ambassador program enables you to design your own ambassadorship. It incentivizes everyone to help us increase brand recognition and growth through individual talents and goals.
Cryptogeek: Thank you for the interview.
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