One of the best books ever written is Robert Pirsig’s Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance. Even after several rereads and three decades, the words remain vivid, coherent and relevant.
Essentially the book talks of madness and how motorcycle road trips can clear the mind and bring intelligent people back from the dead. It clarifies life and explains some of the darkest mysteries of the human mind.
Such clarity is much-needed in the New Tech World of cryptocurrency and ICOs. The proliferation of technologies, so-called solutions and competing standards will take more than a motorcycle journey to understand.
However, smart contract blockchain company Zen Protocol believes it can has the answers, not only to cryptocurrency ‘maintenance’, but also to the future of the technology.
Namely, it makes secure and peer-to-peer finance possible on a public blockchain, obviating the need for intermediaries such as brokers and banks.
Current financial systems are centralized, complex, and difficult to access. While established and experienced players can usually deal with the paperwork and bureaucracy, many businesses and individuals find the barriers to entry impossible to overcome.
Potential trades and deals are lost, as these participants in finance are forced to use intermediaries to gain limited access to the system, without the ability to issue assets or even to trade in some asset classes.
Zen allows anyone, anytime, anywhere to create and trade financial products on a platform secured with a proof-of-work blockchain. Zen provides users with an open marketplace for options, futures, digital currencies and all types of financial instruments.
Unlike other platforms, Zen makes it possible to build smart contracts with real utility, making it viable for them to use real-world data and work without any intermediaries or central control. All assets on Zen are created by contracts, making possible decentralized, automated escrow; meaning that traders on Zen no longer need trusted counterparties.
Zen miners can verify how much computation each contract requires, before ever running it. This allows Zen (unlike competing smart contract platforms) to work without a virtual machine or a resource counter, making contracts in the Zen Protocol as fast to execute as compiled system code.
Additionally, Zen has first class tokens, assets that can be held and transferred without running their issuing contracts. Moreover, people can use any token to pay transaction fees (rather than being limited to Zen’s native token), reducing complexity for consumers who just want to move around dollars and pay fees in dollars.
This is a step forward in usability and compatibility from platforms that implement tokens as a second-layer protocol. With Zen, new assets are always usable by any existing or future contract.
In an attempt to address some of the political issues seen in the Bitcoin space, where different interest groups try to promote and make changes to the core protocol level, Zen are implementing a system they call Multi Hash Mining.
This distributes mining rewards to several hashing algos, while giving users (stakeholders) the power to vote on which hashing algos will receive the rewards. Zen believes this mechanism will create a fairer and more balanced discussion between miners and token holders.
“Tokens are the incentive for mining. We believe in Bitcoin’s model of bootstrapping security via inflation, when the costs would otherwise be carried by the user base. We are focused on creating a fully decentralized finance platform that offers secure, scalable transactions,” said Adam Perlow, CEO of Zen Protocol Development.
The Zen blockchain is parallel to Bitcoin, but incorporates commitments to the state of Bitcoin’s blockchain. Every fully verifying Zen node is also a Bitcoin node.
This close connection to Bitcoin makes it possible for contracts to sell assets on the Zen blockchain for bitcoins, for users to create pegged Bitcoin assets on Zen, and for the Zen Protocol itself to use any future sidechain support in the Bitcoin protocol.
For those only remotely versed in the knowledge of Bitcoin and the blockchain, Zen may be on the next road to the future. Zen has also announced that it will be holding its token sale in November.
Such journeys, as anybody who has read Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance knows, are not without roadblocks, but smart people generally get there in the end.