Combining a unique technological architecture, innovative infrastructure incentives, and Bitcoin-like monetary economics, Horizen (formerly known as ZenCash) is a privacy-preserving currency and financial network. Horizen goes beyond the simple use case of a peer-to-peer (P2P) cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin or Zcash, to unleash the power of privacy technology within a network of interconnected decentralized applications (DApps).

Horizen launched in May 2017 as a blockchain platform for privacy-preserving DApps. The Horizen system is comprised of two core technological layers:

  1.  the main blockchain (mainchain), which serves as the base layer for a simple P2P digital currency protocol, like Bitcoin
  2. parallel blockchains (sidechains), which provide for additional functionality and blockchain application features.

In this sense, Horizen is a blockchain-of-blockchains. Both the mainchain and sidechains share a common digital currency, ZEN. Together, along with Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Arguments of Knowledge (“zk-SNARKs”), an innovative privacy technique first introduced on the Zcash network, these features have the potential to enable the development of practical, scalable, and customizable real-world blockchain applications with enhanced data privacy on Horizen.

Learn more about the history and defining characteristics of Horizen in our report, which is part of the Building Blocks series: