Zcash is a private cryptocurrency that supports transparent and shielded transactions. Shielded transactions use state-of-the-art cryptography to encrypt sender, receiver, and transaction information on the blockchain. Visit our technology page to learn more about the cryptography behind Zcash. To learn more about the privacy enhancing properties of Zcash and learn how to use shielded transactions correctly, see some of our blog posts on the topic.
Choosing a Wallet
Before you acquire some Zcash, you'll want to make sure that you have a secure wallet set up to store it. Here's a community-maintained list of cryptocurrency wallets that support Zcash. Note that at this point, many wallet providers may only have support for transparent addresses, since they are easiest to integrate into existing services. However, to take full advantage of the new properties of encrypted transactions that Zcash adds, you'll want to get familiar with our command-line client and gain an understanding of how shielded transactions work. As with any cryptocurrency, you are ultimately responsible for managing the security of your funds. We recommend that you always keep a backup of your wallet, and research the security of any third-party services you use.
There are three main ways to get Zcash: buying from an exchange, mining, and accepting Zcash as a payment option. If you just want to get some Zcash to use, you can buy online from an exchange. Here's a list of exchanges that support Zcash. If you're interested in mining yourself, you're most likely to be successful in earning some Zcash if you join a mining pool. Here's a list of Zcash mining pools with instructions on how to get started. You can also check out the mining guide on our wiki.
Downloading the Zcash Client
To take full advantage of the Zcash network, you'll want to install the command-line client and run your own node. The easiest way is to download the binary package and follow our step-by-step installation video, both available on the download page. You can also download the Debian package, using this install guide. The other option is to build from source. Our 1.0 User Guide has instructions on how to build from source, as well as examples for how to send and receive shielded transactions using the command line client once you've successfully installed the software (using any method).
Joining the Community
Zcash launched in the fall of 2016, and is still being integrated into applications and exchanges. To discuss topics like mining, use cases, and ongoing development, join our community chat or our forum. For answers to frequently asked questions, see our FAQ page.