The Zerocoin Electric Coin Company (ZECC), which developed the Zcash digital currency, announced a partnership with J.P. Morgan to integrate Zcash technology into the financial company’s enterprise blockchain platform, Quorum.
Zcash Private Money
Last year, Zcash was introduced as the first truly private digital currency, also called by its founders the “HTTPS for money.” The high degree of privacy is afforded by recent breakthroughs in cryptographic technologies called “zero knowledge proofs.”
The privacy of the payments and of the sender and receiver is guaranteed mathematically. Only the fact that a transaction was made remains transparent to the network. Even the amount of the transaction remains private.
J.P. Morgan’s Quorum
Quorum is an “enterprise-focused version of Ethereum.” Ethereum is a sort of a next-generation digital currency platform that allows not just money transactions to happen, but also “smart contracts.” Smart contracts are computer protocols that automatically verify and enforce the conditions of a contract.
J.P. Morgan’s Quorum platform will be used by “applications requiring high speed and high throughput processing of private transactions within a permissioned group of known participants.” J.P. Morgan, like other financial companies, sees blockchain platforms as the future of financial transactions due to their higher security and accountability and their more modern and lower-cost infrastructure.
Both J.P. Morgan and ZECC are members of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, a recently created group of over 100 companies that aims to create enterprise-focused applications for Ethereum-based blockchains.
Zero-Knowledge Secure Layer (ZSL)
J.P. Morgan’s Quorum platform will implement Zcash's zero-knowledge security layer (ZSL) in the same way the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol was implemented by websites in the early days of the internet to secure transactions. The ZSL layer will give Quorum the same privacy features of Zcash, but it will also allow J.P. Morgan to scale down some privacy protections if necessary to comply with government regulations.
“By adding the Zero-knowledge Security Layer into Quorum, we are able to explore how state of the art cryptographic privacy technology will enhance the next generation of financial services applications,” said Suresh Shetty, J.P. Morgan Executive Director and Blockchain Center of Excellence Lead Architect.