Rob Viglione co-founder of Horizen and CEO at Horizen Labs
Congratulations on your recent partnership with Dash! What’s next for Horizen?
Thank you! We’re very excited about the work we’re doing with Dash.
This partnership couldn’t come at a better time as our scalability protocol Zendoo is being utilized in a number of novel ways to launch an application-specific blockchain.
This is a really exciting time for us. We are working on quite a few things in the pipeline right now, the main one being Zendoo’s upcoming release on Mainnet.
Once Zendoo has been released, we will start going full steam ahead with more partnerships and enterprise solutions built on the Horizen blockchain.
What are the implications of your partnership with Dash?
Together we are building a blockchain on the Horizen platform that will motivate activities that drive mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency payments, increase the growth of Dash’s ecosystem, and allow users to earn rewards for their efforts.
This will help enhance Dash’s activities in the digital payments race.
Essentially, Zendoo will allow Dash to compensate users in $DASH for performing tasks aimed at growing real-world adoption of cryptocurrency.
How did Horizen emerge as a secure blockchain ecosystem?
We first launched as ZenCash in 2017 and have since rebranded as Horizen.
Since our release, we have focused on enhancing the security of our ecosystem in a few ways.
We started by creating a massive decentralized node ecosystem of over 40,000 nodes.
It’s actually the largest public blockchain ecosystem in the industry. Decentralization is just the foundation of our secure ecosystem.
We also use zero-knowledge cryptography to enhance security in our ecosystem in a way that enables people to opt for secure dapps and custom-built blockchains on our ecosystem.
For example, we recently announced zkAudit, a complete and integration-ready blockchain built on Horizen by Horizen Labs for companies that would like to increase their transparency while preserving user privacy. zkAudit is being utilized by Celsius as a transparent and secure way to show proof of reserves.
On top of all of that, ZEN is the ﬁrst cryptocurrency with full end-to-end encryption to protect internode communications.
Its optional privacy feature allows you to control your digital footprint through private transactions and private messaging through the Sphere by Horizen wallet app.
How exactly does “reward marketing amplifier blockchain application” work?
The partnership is aimed at encouraging the promotion of crypto adoption through incentives for completing tasks.
I think Ernesto Contreras does a great job of explaining it.
“The participation of Dash enthusiasts is integral to the growth and adoption of DASH as a payments cryptocurrency.
The crypto industry rarely sees innovative incentive models targeting crypto usability, and we’re excited for the Dash community to be rewarded in $DASH for their effort to promote the real-world adoption of cryptocurrency.”
Ultimately, Horizen will work with Horizen Labs and Dash to expand the reward marketing solution to develop a completely decentralized system with privacy-preserving features using zero-knowledge proofs and automated rewards distribution to participants.
Once it’s fully functional, we’ll open the system up for anyone to develop their own reward marketing programs.
Please, can you tell us more about the Zendoo sidechain protocol?
We’re very proud of what we’ve built in Zendoo.
It’s the first completely decentralized and fully customizable sidechain protocol on the market, enabling businesses and developers to affordably and quickly create real-world blockchain applications on Horizen’s fully distributed, secure, and privacy-preserving architecture.
A couple of important differentiators, when compared to other scalability protocols, are:
Zendoo is an asymmetric protocol. The main Horizen blockchain doesn’t need to know anything about any sidechain running off of it, giving developers full freedom to customize their blockchains without changing in the Horizen mainchain. This also protects the Horizen mainchain from malignant sidechains. Basically, the Horizen mainchain just acts as a truth engine.
In the future, Zendoo will also be consensus agnostic meaning that sidechains can be built using any consensus mechanism in the future.
Sidechains can also utilize zero-knowledge proofs to enhance their security without giving up any of the benefits of transparency.
What are the benefits for those who use the new ecosystem?
Zendoo enables businesses and developers to build custom dapps and blockchains.
I went over the more technical benefits in the previous questions, but in addition to those, Horizen has a great team and community that is always happy to help answer questions or help people through any sticking points.
It’s not something that you see in many projects.
How did you get involved with cryptocurrencies and their allied technologies?
Like a lot of folks who got involved with crypto early, I picked up on it through online communities.
I’m somebody who thinks a lot about global imbalances in the financial system and free markets.
In 2011, Slashdot posted an article highlighting Bitcoin’s dollar parity and it seemed like Bitcoin was the perfect experiment in creating free market money for the digital age.
While deployed in Afghanistan, I began hosting educational meetups around bitcoin and blockchain technology.
While I was working on satellite radar, space launch vehicles, and combat support intelligence, much of my understanding of how blockchain technology could change the trajectory of global societies began to take shape.
This led to me co-founding Horizen as a hobby project while wrapping up my Ph.D. dissertation with two major goals in mind: bring sustainable economics to crypto and scale privacy.
Where do you see Horizen in the next decade?
Horizen has certainly accomplished many milestones within the last few years.
As we look forward to the next few, our goal is to continually empower people and bring the world together through next-generation technologies that generate a robust and sustainable ecosystem.
We have our sights set on providing the best tools that can create blockchain solutions for real-world usage while ensuring information integrity and data privacy, without compromising scalability or security.
Are there any plans you have for 2021?
Horizen and Horizen Labs both have a lot of exciting partnerships in the works and, getting back to our relationship with Dash, we’ll see the commencement of our deployment on testnet in Q4 2021.
Horizen Labs also recently closed a $7 million seed round involving several major funds like Kenetic Capital, Digital Currency Group, and Liberty City.
These investments show the faith being put into our company — and blockchain technology as a whole — and enable us to continue building the necessary tools and technology to create fully programmable, highly effective blockchains and decentralized applications.
If you had three wishes and a genie that could make them come true, what would they be for Horizen?
Over the last two years, we’ve worked with partners — and potential partners — across many different verticals while helping a variety of third-party enterprises integrate Horizen’s scalability protocol into their businesses.
So I would say that my first wish would be that Horizen and Horizen Labs are able to continue this trend for the foreseeable future.
The second would be that Horizen is able to get the spotlight that it truly deserves because our team has created some incredible technology that I believe can really change blockchain technology.
My final wish would be that crypto/blockchain adoption becomes mainstream.
The technology has the potential to really drive a lot of great changes in the world like transparency in government, increasing security in technology, and more.