Zooko Wilcox, the CEO of Zerocoin Electric Coin Company (ZECC), the development team behind the anonymous cryptocurrency Zcash, revealed that Slush Pool, the world’s first Bitcoin mining pool, added support for Zcash.

In a public statement, Slush Pool announced:

“We have introduced support for Zcash mining today. That is quite a huge step for us, as we have focused solely on Bitcoin and merged mining so far. It took us many months to develop and thoroughly test our Zcash mining system. We have already successfully mined over 20 blocks during the private testing stage and we are hungry for more.”

Security and privacy

In its blog post entitled “5 Reasons to Mine Zcash with Slush Pool,” Slush Pool outlined five major reasons why miners should be interested in mining Zcash. One of the reasons listed by the Slush Pool team was Advanced Account Security.

In October of 2016, Trezor reaffirmed the importance of Universal Second Factor (U2F) and its advantages over applications such as Google’s Authenticator that is built on top of a 2FA implementation called a Time-based One-time password.

While the TOTP method utilized by Google and its widely utilized application Google Authenticator is simple to implement, the Trezor development team revealed that it has severe weaknesses and inconveniences.

Mostly, the disadvantages of TOTP are related to security issues that may arise due to the lack of back up and the maintenance of backup codes online. Any file, data or server that is connected to the Internet and brought online can be vulnerable to attacks and security breaches. Most importantly, TOTP allows the provider to hold the same cryptographic key or one-time password, which then enables hackers to get ahold of user passwords.

“You and Provider share the same secret. If an attacker hacks into a company and gains access to both the password and the secrets database, he/she will be able to access every account completely unnoticed,” explained the Trezor team.

Considering the security benefits of using Zcash with Trezor and U2F authentication and the reputation of Slush Pool, real-time statistics of Zcash mining and elimination of pool fees, Slush Pool stated that miners who are interested in mining alternative cryptocurrencies apart from Bitcoin should actively look into Zcash mining.

What to mine after Ethereum’s PoS

It is a positive move for both Slush Pool and the cryptocurrency community that more reputable and legitimate cryptocurrencies such as Zcash are being availed to miners. Currently, the two major cryptocurrencies which miners focus on is Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Although Ethereum’s Ether is considered more as a crypto asset due to its characteristics and inflationary nature, its staggering $4.4 bln market cap appeals to a large section of the global mining community.

However, as noted in a Cointelegraph exclusive interview with Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, the Ethereum network is planning on switching to proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus protocol by this year or by early next year. He confirmed that the first phase of PoS development is nearly completed.

Buterin told Cointelegraph:

“I expect Proof of Stake to be finished in the next one or two years. We plan to do a transition from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake in several steps. The first step is close to being finished and is starting to be tested now. We’ve already done a lot of work in making sure the algorithms are correct and formally verified. We’re planning to start implementing the first stage very soon and, depending on how quickly that goes, then move on to Proof of Stake over time.”

It helps that there are mining pools such as Slush Pool that are adding legitimate alternative cryptocurrencies such as Zcash which miners can rely on after major digital assets like Ethereum migrate to a PoS protocol or a proof of work (PoW) / PoS hybrid protocol.