Zcash Can Be Sent to Human-Meaningful Addresses, Here’s How

Does anyone remember using the internet in the early 1980s?

Me neither. Why?

Because in its early days, it wasn’t easy to use.

To use the internet back then, you needed to know the actual numerical coordinates of the server that hosted a website. If you wanted Stanford University, you had to know the IP and then go to 171.67.215.200. That’s not very meaningful to a human brain. It’s no surprise the first users of the internet were enthusiasts, university researchers, and people who didn’t mind doing things the hard way.

Then, something magical happened.

In 1983, Paul Mockapetris created a decentralized Domain Name System (DNS). Now, when you want Stanford University, you go to stanford.edu. Much more palatable. What followed? Global adoption of the internet grew like microbes in a petri dish.

So with cryptocurrency, how to we make the leap from keys being long, random alphanumeric string of digits, to something our human brains can work with?

In other words, how do we solve this problem?

“Hi Mike, can I send you some Zcash?”

“Sure!”

“Okay, where can I send it?”

“Uhhh, hold on. Let me find my address. Does your desktop wallet have a QR code reader? Hrmm. Maybe I could paste it into an email for you?”

I think you know where I’m going here.

Wait, hold on. Doesn’t Zooko’s triangle say you can’t have 1) decentralized 2) secure and 3) human-meaningful?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zooko%27s_triangle

Absolutely. Usernames could enable some fraud and phishing. And usernames mapped to *transparent* blockchains are the first steps to a dystopian future where the eye of Sauron watches us all.

But stay with me for a second. What if the answer is a 2 part system? What if 2 of the right kind of systems paired together could give users all 3 elements of the triangle — secure, decentralized, and human-meaningful?

Zcash can live in the secure and decentralized part of the triangle. And a username protocol like FIO can live in the human-meaningful part of the triangle. Both systems sharing the real estate, living symbiotically in one environment, a cryptocurrency wallet.

Not long ago, Edge wallet added Zcash shielded addresses. This is really useful on its own, because Edge is widely adopted, non-custodial, and multi-chain. But Edge takes it up a notch. Edge also supports the FIO Protocol, a blockchain-based global username system. So now, for the first time, Zcash users have the option to send and receive shielded Zcash using a human-meaningful handle.

Today, EDGE is the only wallet to support shielded Zcash + FIO. But the FIO protocol can be built into any Zcash wallet. Other wallets and exchanges supporting FIO handles include Coinomi, Guarda, Shapeshift, ChangeNOW, Changelly, Opera, Midas, Mycelium, and Trust Wallet. More than 500,000 FIO handles have been registered worldwide. The network effects are growing rapidly, like microbes in a petri dish:).

Under the hood, FIO protocol is quite simple. It maps a user’s crypto handle (mike@edge) with a native blockchain public address (zs1l5m59p4f03zpsu8zzqt7eqz5sgl73m72pdjw865say8dj727p5tsyx9ge3kxksxrkx422ztzzzz). When a user types mike@edge in the send field in Edge wallet, the FIO blockchain queries the corresponding address.

It’s blockchain based, so no one can edit or get in the middle of the handle/address pairing that you register and post to the FIO blockchain using your unique private key. Further, FIO’s blockchain never interacts with Zcash’s blockchain, so the privacy, security, and decentralization of shielded Zcash is preserved, keeping your balance and transactions encrypted and private.

If you already have Zcash in an Edge wallet, a handle is really easy to set up.

1) In Edge, click on the 3 lines in the upper right corner

2) Click FIO Names.

3). Register new address. The first one is free and doesn’t expire. The format looks like addressname@edge.

4) Map that username to the Zcash z-address in your Edge wallet.

Viola! Now you have the option to use Zcash in a human-meaningful way.

“Hi Mike, can I send you some Zcash?”

“Sure!”

“Okay, where can I send it?”

“mike@edge”

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