Zcash is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency primarily focused on the privacy of its users. It utilizes zero-knowledge cryptography construction (zk-SNARK) to protect the privacy of transactions, obscuring the sender, recipient and value of transactions on its blockchain. Zcash still allows for “normal” transparent transactions which do not hide these details, and users can choose which of these they want to use with their transaction. Encryption is a key part of its functioning. Zcash is essentially a fork of the Bitcoin Core with an added layer of much-needed privacy that Bitcoin does not provide by itself. ZEC is the token which can be sent on the Zcash blockchain, both in transparent and shielded transactions.
Zcash is the first open, permissionless cryptocurrency that can fully protect the privacy of transactions using zero-knowledge cryptography.