Published on: May 19th, 2021 • Duration: 31 minutes
Ash Bennington, senior crypto editor for Real Vision, welcomes Robert Viglione, co-founder and president of Zen Blockchain Foundation, to discuss Horizen Global, Zen Blockchain, and proof of reserves as well as his thoughts on the future of blockchain technology. During Viglione's deployment in Afghanistan, he researched and wrote a dissertation on crypto finance when he learned about the Hawala Network, an ancient informal peer-to-peer payment network based on trust and nodes. From this, Viglione realized Bitcoin was recreating the same human-to-human network for the digital age—he saw this as an opportunity to build on that in order to move away from centralized monetary systems. Filmed on May 13, 2021.
When investigating why Bitcoin trades at different values across different countries, Viglione discovered that the primary driver is frictions to markets, ease of access by centralized entities, economic opportunity, and jurisdictional risk. With Horizen (originally Zencash), the blockchain was formed with the idea of applying "better economics" and sustainability to the Bitcoin model – "on the margin, compensating people for their contributions". Horizen aimed to provide an incentive mechanism so that anyone and everyone that is contributing to the network can be compensated relative to their contribution, evolving from the idea of simple coin transfers to building on top of that and generalizing data structures to allow for privacy.