Zcoin changing name to Firo
Cryptocurrencies,  Technology

Privacy-focused Zcoin changing name to Firo

The burn-and-redeem privacy coin is rebranding as it launches a new mainnet and protocol it says provides cash-level anonymity

Privacy-focused Zcoin is changing its name to Firo with the launch of a new anonymity feature designers say brings “high practical anonymity similar to cash.”

Firo Project Steward Reuben Yap (Photo: Firo)

The fiery new name comes a week after announcing its new Lelantus protocol, which will allow Firo holders to burn existing coins and then redeem them in batches for new coins with no transaction history. 

By allowing the redemption in batches, Zcoin adds another layer of practical anonymity as the burn-and-redeem cycle need not produce the exact same amount of coins, which is a good clue for tracers to follow.

The rebrand to Firo (FIRO) takes place on Nov. 30, while the Lelantus protocol will go live in mid-January.

“Going from zero to Firo accurately describes Zcoin’s evolution away from it’s Zerocoin protocol origins,” said Reuben Yap, project steward of Zcoin. “This captures the essence of the burn and redeem privacy mechanism developed by our team, and signals a new era of practical yet powerful anonymity. The word Firo also is succinct, easy to say and sounds like money, so it’s perfect for a cryptocurrency.” 

It also does not sound like Zcash, a better-known privacy coin for which Zcoin was commonly mistaken, according to the first item in Firo’s FAQ page. 

“A common misconception is that Firo is a fork of Zcash,” it says. “While the Zerocoin paper and Zerocash paper share common authors and both use zero knowledge proofs, they rely on different cryptography. There is otherwise no relation between the two projects.”

Simple anonymity

The anonymity feature is simple, with the burn-and-redeem cycle requiring just a single click. But it also allows users to make “regular transparent transactions when needed to work with exchanges, wallets, and cross-chain bridges.”

The new Lelantus protocol went live on a testnet on Oct. 20

“Lelantus pushes the boundaries of privacy with powerful technology that offers very high practical anonymity while requiring no trusted setup, and an elegant cryptographic construction,” Yap said tat the time. “Private crypto transactions live today either suffered from low privacy via small anonymity sets or required a degree of trust, something that is against the philosophy of public blockchains. Zcoin addresses both these issues.”

The new protocol comes at a time when researchers are claiming they can track transactions on leading privacy coins Zcash and Dash, while the IRS has put a $1 million bounty on Monero’s untraceability claims. There is a total supply of 21.4 million Firo coins, which utilize a proof of work consensus protocol and offers trustless setup.

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Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus editor-in-chief, is a New York-based journalist who has traveled the world writing about incentive travel. He has also covered consumer and employee engagement, small business, the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, and New York City crime, nightlife, and politics. Disclosure: Jakobson has put some 401k money into Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.