A Short Introduction to Horizen (ZEN)

5 min readAug 31, 2021

Horizen is an interoperable blockchain system that allows businesses and developers to build customizable sidechains for their needs. The Zendoo technology makes the process fast, quick, and secure. The decentralized applications created with ZEN can be used in commercial goals for solving real-life problems.

In this article, we will see what Horizen is and why it’s one of the most secure cryptocurrencies. We will introduce you to the ZEN block explorer and explain how you can start using it for free right now.

Horizen (ZEN) ecosystem

The key elements of the Horizen ecosystem are the mainchain running on the Proof of Work algorithm and a number of Proof of Stake sidechains.

  • The PoW mainchain lies at the center of the ecosystem. It distributes the native token, ZEN, and ensures the security of Horizen with a wide decentralized network of nodes.
  • The Multi-Tiered node network is one of the largest in crypto including over 43,000 active Horizen nodes. Anyone can run their own ZEN node and earn passive income — however, that requires a minimum of 42 ZEN (about $3,700 at the time of writing) and some technical skills. To profit without running your own node, it’s possible to use a node hosting service.
  • PoS sidechains are customizable and decentralized chains that businesses and developers can build with the Zendoo protocol. These chains process thousands of transactions per second at low fees without security threats. Any type of rule can be deployed as a sidechain, which allows for dApp design freedom. The chains can be both auditable and privacy-preserving.

Horizen boasts of enhanced protection from 51% attacks. It leverages the improved Nakamoto Consensus with a penalty system for delayed block submission. The traditional consensus implements the longest chain rule — however, according to Horizen, the current PoW solutions don’t always incentivize miners to play fair. ZEN has introduced solutions that encourage honest block validation by miners.

Oracles in the Horizen ecosystem

Recently, Horizen has partnered with IOTA to enable the oracles functionality in its ecosystem.

IOTA is a protocol that ensures fast data exchange between machines and humans. Its goal is to become the backbone of the Internet of Things, and it allows for building supply chains, organizing smart factories and smart cities. Recently, IOTA has started working on Oracles that will bring off-chain data to the IOTA smart contracts. Today, IOTA and Horizen partner so that every project that builds on Horizen could leverage oracles.

What can you build on Horizen?

Horizen hosts dApps for DeFi, ID security and privacy, data security, and oracles. One of the Horizen-based services puts informal credits on-chain, facilitating connections between borrowers and lenders. In developing countries, small businesses prefer cash loans to IOUs (“I owe you”) — informal documents acknowledging the debt. However, this method has problems with legal recognition and trust.

By putting debt data on-chain, it’s possible to establish a credit history and transact with those outside the borrower’s closest trusted network. The collaboration with Horizen allows building the credit history, check transactions quickly and securely, safeguard financial data, and obtain legal certainty.

What is a ZEN block explorer?

ZEN block explorer is a search engine that allows you to see everything happening on the Horizen blockchain. With a ZEN explorer, you can see wallets’ balances, block heights, history of balances, and much more.

NOWNodes allows you to make 20,000 requests to the Horizen block explorer for free every day.

How can I access the ZEN ecosystem via nodes and block explorers?

To start making requests to the ZEN network, take three steps: fill in the form and get an API key; find the proper command in our request library; enter your API key into the request and run it.

Let us walk you through this process in detail:

  1. Go to NOWNodes and hit the yellow “Get free API key” button. Enter your email and receive the key in a few seconds.
  2. Head on to our Docs, the ZEN directory in the BlockBook API folder. Here, you will see a requests library for getting a block height, transaction status, wallet balance, tickers list, block hash, balance history, and much more. Find the request that suits your needs.
  3. Copy the example request and paste the API key from your e-mail in it. Your request is ready to be run.

Why NOWNodes?

  • Competitive connection speed. Our API’s response time is less than 1 second, which ensures you can always get fast updates from the ZEN block explorer.
  • We’re always on. NOWNodes’ uptime rate is 99.95%. If any issue with the connection occurs, our strong backup system gets you covered.
  • Flexible pricing. Free 20,000 requests daily and three diverse plans for more — take a look at them here and reach out to us at sales@nownodes.io to choose the plan and to get your API key.
  • 40+ other block explorers are available. If Horizen block explorer is not the only one you need, access dozens of others within the same plan: no overpaying and switching between numerous node providers necessary.
  • Responsive support team. We’re ready to help 24/7. To contact us, click the support chat icon at the bottom right.

Learn more

We hope this guide on the Horizen block explorer was helpful to you. If you’d like to learn more, feel free to take a closer look at NOWNodes in general and the ZEN explorer in particular. Check out our guide to access a Litecoin block explorer in case you’ve been looking for one.

Stay tuned!

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