Horizen (ZEN) is a Quiet DeFi Disruptor With Lots of Potential
The "blockchain trilemma"
The blockchain space is filled with projects who promise to solve the biggest problems plaguing crypto. Vitalik Buterin coined the term "the blockchain trilemma" to refer to the scalability, decentralization, and security problems that all blockchains at some point face.
The difference between the projects who are all talk and the ones who can actually solve most of the trilemma is where the best investments are. Seemingly every blockchain has a unique protocol that can handle the billions of people who will inevitably use crypto in the future.
While it's nice in theory to solve this puzzle completely, a single blockchain is unlikely to. There are always going to be some issues in software, no matter how good the programmers are.
Horizen is an impressive blockchain
Horizen is a blockchain and sidechain platform focused on DeFi built with privacy-preserving tech. They may have made a convincing case with real evidence that they solved most of the trilemma. Since Horizen is a Zcash fork (and Zcash is a fork of Bitcoin), there is a max supply of 21 million coins, and the block rewards halve every 4 years. Bitcoin and its forks are known for having impeccable tokenomics.
The network uses a unique multi-tier node structure that ensures a high degree of decentralization and security. The Horizen consensus protocol uses proof-of-work to validate transactions, while sidechains use a new protocol called Latus, which is a delegated proof-of-stake mechanism. Block rewards are split up with POW Miners get 60% of the block reward, while secure and super nodes receive the last 10 and 20%, respectively.
This design allows for a massive number of nodes: 40,703 at the time of writing this!
For comparison: Bitcoin SV, a centralized Bitcoin fork created by Faketoshi Craig Wright, only has 33. Remember, the more nodes you have, the more decentralization there is.
Horizen works by having regular full nodes carry an entire copy of the blockchain. Then, secure nodes are responsible for encrypting communications between nodes. super nodes are responsible for validate Zendoo sidechain transactions. Like any other blockchain, Horizen wouldn't work without regular nodes.
Their sidechain platform, Zendoo, allows for 10,000 total sidechains, an impressive number. Also, thanks to their unique technology, each sidechain can reach an impressive 1,000 TPS.
Another positive is ZEN's high liquidity, since it is traded on almost every major exchange.
It's not really a privacy coin
As mentioned previously, Horizen is a fork of Zcash. This, along with the fact that they utilize many different types of privacy-preserving technology, would logically indicate that Horizen is a "privacy coin." But it isn't as simple as that.
First and foremost, Horizen is a blockchain platform focused on DeFi, not on privacy. A mod in the official Horizen subreddit confirmed this by hinting that the team does not see it as a privacy coin. ZEN uses privacy-optional technology. Another Bitcoin fork, Dash, was originally seen as a privacy coin, but their team has since clarified that it is not. Horizen appears to be heading the same way.
Horizen was actually involved with the launch of the new Apecoin. While it wasn't a major role, the Horizen team helped write the whitepaper for the project, and Horizen President Dean Steinback provides his expertise as a member of the Apecoin board.
Despite the fact that they helped the Apecoin launch, there has been little buzz about it since Horizen has not made many posts promoting their role. But, they must've helped the project behind an ERC-20 token for some reason, which leaves speculation that Apecoin will eventually run on Horizen's Zendoo as well.
Horizen does have its weaknesses. The first would be that there are not many known dapps. While there are some impressive use cases like Dash building a new blockchain on Horizen, ultimately there is no DEX or other well known dapp.
A second weakness would be their lack of marketing and community. When you open the Horizen subreddit, there are little to no posts, and while Horizen has a presence in the sub, they don't put out much content. Their discord is fairly active, at least.
Other than the discord, their other social media accounts do not appear to be getting much traffic either.
A Promising future for ZEN
Horizen has proven that it is capable of success. In fact, they have already succeeded in a number of different areas including getting Zendoo launched, high level partnerships and all the major exchange listings. Horizen has an impressive team that has created a unique blockchain with undeniably good tech.
They have an excellent network of well known companies like IOHK (the company behind Cardano) helping Horizen's development.
Despite some trivial issues like a lack of dapps and marketing that will eventually be fixed, Horizen is an excellent blockchain with a promising future.