Yesterday, May 10 the ZCash (ZEC) project announced that the Zcash Company had invested in StarkWare Industries, a new company developing STARKs.
STARKs are a new cryptographic proof system which is scalable, toxic-waste-free, and post-quantum secure. STARKs may prove to be useful for building more secure and scalable blockchains, as well as potentially providing privacy and computational integrity to other applications beyond blockchains.
The creators of StarkWare Industries include Zcash founding scientists, professor Eli Ben-Sasson and professor Alessandro Chiesa. Now, the early developers return as advisors and partners to the ZCash project, attempting to unroll the STARKs technology for anonymization.
Zero-knowledge (ZK) proof systems are already used on ZCash, in the form of ZK-SNARKs, and the StarkWare company plans to introduce an alternative workup.
Recently, a team of British scientists tested the ZCash system, and discovered that users were compromising their privacy through address usage. Using a mix of transparent and shielded address makes ZEC transactions easier to trace.
Besides that, the ZCash team faces research and a decision on the Antminer Z9 ASIC. Part of the community supports an ASIC-disabling fork, and threatens to leave the project in case large-scale ASIC mining is allowed to continue.