ZCash (ZEC) is one of the most popular blockchain networks due to the fact that it utilizes a specific hashing algorithm and implements security protocols to maintain the privacy of users.
As such, it has been dubbed the “privacy coin” of choice in the eyes as well as the minds of a lot of cryptocurrency investors.
The main way through which this is achieved is through the usage of zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs) and shield transactions, making the contents of a transaction private, even on a public blockchain.
If this has piqued your interest and you want to run your own ZCash full node, in that case, we are going to go over everything that you need to do in order to accomplish this goal step-by-step.
- ZCash was created by The Electric Coin Company (ECC) and has implemented zk-SNARKs as a means of accomplishing privacy for each transaction.
- This means that all of the transactions can be fully encrypted on the blockchain whilst still allowing them to be verified as valid by the network’s consensus.
- ZCash was originally created as a fork of Bitcoin (BTC). However, it differentiated itself through the usage of a different algorithm and different security protocols.
- If you are interested in running your own ZCash node, we are going to go over everything that you need to do in order to accomplish this goal with ease.
What is a Node?
A node within the sphere of cryptocurrency is a critical component that enables a high level of functionality.
In other words, blockchain nodes are stakeholders within the network, where their devices are authorized and responsible for the process of keeping track of the distributed ledger. They serve as communicators for a variety of different network stats.
The primary goal that a node has is to confirm the legality of each batch of network transactions, which are known as blocks. Each node is also allocated a unique identifier, which distinguishes it from other nodes within the network.
Nodes can determine if a block of the transaction is legitimate and either accept it if true or reject it if false. They store transaction blocks, and they broadcast this transaction history to other nodes that might need to synchronize.
Pros and Cons of ZCash Nodes
- There is a fixed supply of ZCash, which incentivizes nodes to run.
- ZCash offers a high level of anonymity.
- ZCash is highly secured.
- Its mining process is limited to CPU mining
- Requires Linux-based operating system
How to Set up ZCash Nodes
Before you get started, you will need Zcashd & Zcash-cli that will allow you to run a full node and interact with it through a command-line interface.
The Zcashd full node downloads a copy of the entire blockchain and enforces the rules, which means that it can execute all functionalities, while Zcash-cli lets you interact with the node.
- Step 1: Getting the right software
Before you get started, here is what you will need:
- Docker (containerized DebianOS)
- Debian/Ubuntu (officially supported)
- Step 2: Configuration
Zcashd will require a zcash.conf file to run, which you need to create.
To generate one, you can use this code:
Now, you will need to run Zcashd.
To do so, use this command:
Now, if you are running it for the first time, wait for the node to fully sync prior to using the RPC. This is a procedure that will typically take a day to complete. However, it could be more to prepare for that.
Once it has fully synchronized and running, and you confirm that Zcashd is running in the background, you can open up a new terminal window and run this command on it:
Every Zcashd will come with an embedded Zcash wallet, as well as the private keys, and any other information associated with it can be found in the following file:
Make sure to regularly backup this file and keep its permissions private.
You can now begin generating some addresses and then send or receive transparent and shielded transactions.
- Step 3: Upgrading at a later point in time
If you are using zcashd but have not upgraded within the span of 16 weeks of a given release, it will reach the end-of-support (EOS) halt and exit with an error message.
However, the node will give you a warning two weeks in advance, so you can intervene.
To upgrade Zcashd & Zcash-cli, you can use the following command to get the latest updates:
Note that if you do not want to manually create a ZCash node and want to utilize a pre-made one as a means of fetching specific data from the blockchain in specific use-cases, you can utilize an alternative method of doing so.
NOWNodes is a blockchain-as-a-service provider that will provide you with access to a ZCash (ZEC) node through a simple PRC connection through the utilization of an API key.
All you have to do is navigate to the official NOWNodes website, after which you can enter your email address and click on “GET FREE API KEY.”
Through these nodes, you can get data surrounding the hashrate, difficulty, block height, wallet addresses, transaction data, balance history tickers list, or anything else that you need.
Hopefully, now you have a higher level of understanding as to what ZCash (ZEC) is, how it works, why you might want to run a node for yourself, and how you can easily connect to one through the utilization of NOWNodes.
This is a quick and straightforward process that anyone should be able to complete within the span of a few minutes.
Remember to regularly check the node and back up your wallet as safely as possible.