Today, Zcoin implemented a new mining algorithm that hampers FPGA, ASIC, and botnet mining. Merkle Tree proof of work (MTP) has the potential to move cryptocurrency mining away from huge farms and back into the hands of crypto enthusiasts, once again decentralizing mining.
Merkle Tree proof of work mining is a solution implemented to remedy the issues faced by small-time miners. Most mining algorithms are susceptible to FPGAs and ASICs, mining hardware which is far more efficient than readily available computer hardware. Usually, this hardware is only available to huge corporations whose engineer can design better hardware.
MTP is protected because it is “memory” intensive. It is much more difficult to develop specialized mining hardware for a memory-intensive mining algorithm. By making cryptocurrency mining more egalitarian, it is further decentralized. Greater decentralization makes it harder for miners to collude and perform a 51 percent attack, or perform other nefarious activities which could harm the performance and security of a blockchain.
Another issue that MTP addresses are botnets. Currently, there are millions of devices that have malicious code. Hackers fill their wallets by using these hijacked devices to mine cryptocurrency.
According to Zcoin’s website, users infected by computer viruses that participate in botnets experience noticeable performance degradation and are therefore more likely to suspect something is wrong with their computer.
Once a user notices a dip in performance, a clever user could deduce that there might be malicious miningoccurring, and would have an opportunity to eliminate the malicious code. This feature is unique to Zcoin and is not seen in other ASIC resistant algorithms.
Zcoin is a privacy-coin that uses the unique ‘Zerocoin’ protocol. This protocol uses zero-knowledge proofs enabling scalable privacy to the many thousands of transactions, unlike Bitcoin mixers and ring signatures, which are limited to a few hundred transactions and have other privacy vulnerabilities, according to the Zcoin’s website.