Zcash is a cryptocurrency that grew out of the Zerocoin project, aimed at improving anonymity for Bitcoin users. The Zerocoin protocol was initially improved and transformed into Zerocash, which thus yielded the Zcash cryptocurrency in 2016. The founder and CEO of Zcash is Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn. Its founding team includes cryptographer Matthew D. Green from Johns Hopkins University. Roger Ver was one of Zcash's initial investors.
Zcash payments are published on a public blockchain, but users are able to use an optional privacy feature to conceal the sender, recipient, and amount being transacted. Like Bitcoin, Zcash has a fixed total supply of 21 million units. In the first 4 years, 20% of the coins created in that period are allocated to a "founders' reward" shared between investors, developers, and a non-profit foundation.
Zcash affords private transactors the option of "selective disclosure", allowing a user to prove payment for auditing purposes. One such reason is to allow private transactors the choice to comply with anti-money laundering or tax regulations. "Transactions are auditable but disclosure is under the participant's control." Wilcox has hosted virtual meetings with law enforcement agencies around the U.S. to explain these fundamentals and has gone on the record of saying that "they did not develop the currency to facilitate illegal activity".