Altcoin Spotlight – Zel
Community voice was clear, Zel won our Twitter poll, and we are pleased to announce Zel crypto project as our newest altcoin spotlight. With a good reason, we don’t call Zel just a cryptocurrency since the team is working on a variety of crypto projects. Previously you might have heard of Zel as ZelCash. However, they have dropped the Cash – it is just Zel now. Zel branches into two parts. Zel Foundation (Zel Technologies GmbH) – a private company and Zel open source project that is funded by the community. Let’s crack the hood of the Zel crypto project and see what it has to offer.
Zel – The Cryptocurrency
As we have already mentioned, this is a big project. Nonetheless, it is still powered by one cryptocurrency called Zel. We will discuss all the projects coming from the same team, but let’s first see what this specific cryptocurrency is about. Zel is a PoW currency. The technology and foundations of Zel are based on Zcash. This means Zel applies opt-in privacy features, much like Zcash to administer privacy for its blockchain. Zel Technologies work on making a Zel ecosystem. To put it simply, Zel Technologies work on a variety of projects, which will be an addition to Zel. These projects will complement each other and create unity. In this review, we will dive into the exciting projects which are coming from Zel Technologies. Zel is used as payment on various platforms, such as a subscription to ZelCore+. It is also a payment method to process verifications for Zel ID.
Zel had a 6.2% premine of the total supply. This comes to around 13,200,000 ZEL, and the remaining of these funds belong to the Zel Foundation. The rest of the coin supply, 93,8%, was left to be distributed via mining and ZelNodes. All of this is transparent, and current numbers are visible on their explorer’s rich list. Also, Zel team published a transparency report which supports all of this data.
As we already mentioned, Zel is a mineable cryptocurrency. It is based on Zcash, and previously it used the Zcash PoW hashing algorithm. However, since then the mining algorithm was switched to a custom ZelHash mining algorithm with which the team continues the proactivity of being ASIC-resistant. There are a lot of mining pools that support Zel. Unfortunately, over 55% of miners are using a 2miners PPLNS pool. Even though ZelNodes should protect the network from 51% attacks, it is still important to evenly spread the hashing power. All miners are encouraged to explore other available mining pools. The second most popular pool is Zel’s own pool called ZelLabsPool, and the third most popular pool is Equipool.
Zel block time is 2 minutes, and the reward is 150 ZEL. Next block reward halving that happens every two and a half years is supposed to happen next year, sometime in August. This will reduce the block reward to 75 ZEL. Block reward is split between miners and node operators. PoW rewards are 75% while the remaining 25% is reserved for ZelNodes.
Genesis block: 18 January 2018
Consensus: Hybrid (PoW/MN)
Algorithm: ZelHash PoW
Block time: 120 seconds
Block rewards: 150 ZEL
Circulating supply: 84,307,000 ZEL
Max supply: 210,000,000 ZEL
Premine: 13,200,000 ZEL (6.2%)
Usually, when we review a coin, we have a separate section for cryptocurrency wallets. However, Zel has something better. ZelCore is a multi-currency wallet available on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Mobile platforms are supported as well. We tested the Android app, and it works as expected, but the design looks dated and does not follow Google Material guidelines. The wallet includes a lot of coins such as stable coins, ETH tokens, various PoW coins, and Neo tokens. Altogether, there are over 100 crypto assets supported, and new ones are added on a regular basis. One feature that stands out is the possibility to trade on Binance, Bittrex, and Kraken directly through ZelCore. Users can integrate API keys for either exchange and then trade on the platform. However, those features require ZelCore+ subscription that costs $9.99 per month. ZEL, BTC, and a few other coins are supported as payment options. ZelCore platform will also be a host for Zel dApp store and ZelEx exchange. It is important to note that ZelCore is a product of Zel Technologies, GmbH and is therefore closed source.
Before we discuss Zel ID, we would like to describe Zel dApp Store. This is Zel’s store, which aims to be a center for decentralized and centralized apps. Zel dApp Store contains an app called Zel ID – an authentication system that allows users to maintain control over their digital private information such as property and health records. It also aims to keep other information users might want to store on a decentralized, encrypted network instead of keeping it on a printed form or on some other centralized servers. Zel ID aims to give the users ownership and control over their information, something that we all long for. Presently, Zel ID handles ZelCore logins and its d2FA security layer.
ZelLabs is a platform which will work on managing various partnership and collaborations in blockchain/crypto projects. It will provide expansion for both Zel and ZelCore. ZelLabs will focus on start-ups in blockchain space and connected cryptocurrency industries. In picking the projects with which they want to collaborate, they will focus on blockchain technology, investment, and business education. They will look for professionals who are invested in the area and who possess experience, knowledge, and passion for crypto. However, they will also look for enthusiasts who are tech-savvy and eager to learn more. This platform has no interest in any kind of ICO-s, IEO-s or similar business practices. They are searching for projects which are self-developed and self-funded. Partners will receive platform access to Windows, Apple, Linux, Android and iOS via ZelCore. ZelLabs will help their partners hasten any legal, security, business, and operational issues and offer them mentoring. Fees vary and are determined on a case by case basis.
ZelNodes are Zel masternodes that will power and offer scalable, decentralized computational resources for Zel network. Until development of ZelFlux is finished, ZelNodes act as regular full nodes and are in charge of processing transactions. In future, they will provide computing power for running dapps and smart contracts. ZelCore infrastructure will be the first to make the switch to the ZelNodes network. There are three tiers of computational nodes users can run:
- ZelNode Basic – 10,000 ZEL – 4% of block rewards
- ZelNode Super – 25,000 ZEL – 6% of block rewards
- ZelNode BAMF – 100,000 ZEL – 15% of block rewards
A wallet containing ZEL collateral does not have to be online and the node can be stopped at will. There is no lockup period. ZelNodes require good uptime and significant system resources depending on respective tier. Since ZEL uses hybrid consensus mechanism, ZelNodes add another protection layer that protects the network from attacks. How the process works in practice can be read here. Currently, there are around 1,100 active ZelNodes. Various statistics can be explored on ZelNodes dashboard. A profitability calculator can be found here.
ZelFlux or just Flux is something we talked a great deal about in our monthly Twitter updates. This is the open-source operating system of ZelNodes. You can basically say it is the “brain” of ZelNodes decentralized network. It unites all three tiers of ZelNodes together, and it provides useful work for Zel Network. Also, Flux contains an updated system for benchmarking to ensure each ZelNode meets the hardware requirements and to actively recognize and prevent cheating. The team describes Flux loosely as an operating system. It is more of a layer on top of Linux that manages system resources, network traffic and running application services. Flux acts as the ultimate coordinator for launching applications, sidechains, and asset layers. It was built to provide software that was completely compatible with ZelNodes network. This will allow for faster development and easier maintenance.
Zel crypto project has quite a team, with five core team members, seven developers, two members in legal, and over 15 members dedicated to marketing and community. The biggest surprise to us was the 3 in 1 founder, CEO, developer, and designer of the team – Miles Manley. Since there are a lot of team members, we will focus on the core team and dive deeper into their profiles.
Miles Manley founded Zel when he was 15. He wanted to develop a fast and scalable blockchain which would naturally be decentralized. One of his goals was to enable developers to create dApps easily. Now, he is 17 and spends most of his time working on Zel. This young CEO looks forward to Zel future and hopes it can better cryptographical space.
In the position of CDO and working in development and design, Lumi Ibishi comes in place. He has over 15 years of experience working in graphic design and leads the design team at Zel Technologies. His expertise is UI and UX development. Ibishi is the co-founder of Zel Technologies GmbH. Under his current employments, except Zel, we found that he works at Macforum AB (Apple Premium Reseller firm) as an IT consultant.
Another core team member working in various fields of Zel is Parker Honeyman. He is COO, a community manager, and works in business development. With a bachelor of science and mechanical engineering from Santa Clara University, he previously worked in Sandra Medical as an R&D engineer. Besides Zel, he is currently employed as an engineering consultant at JC Medical. In Zel he works on a lot of things from content development to researching new technologies and hardware.
Daniel Keller works at Zel as a CSO and also in business development. We weren’t able to find his LinkedIn profile, but after a little research, we discovered that he has over 20 years of experience in healthcare IT. Keller is also prominent in nonprofit charities and besides business, focuses on charity initiatives at Zel Technologies.
Zel is very active on their social platforms. The platform on which they are most active and where you can find useful information is their Discord server, which counts over 5,700 members. Everything is discussed there, and the latest news about the project coming directly from the team members are reasonably regular. Team members are very active and ready to help; we promptly received responses to all of our questions. Their Twitter account counts a bit over 3,500 followers. They tweet daily with various updates and even have separate Twitter accounts for Zel sub-projects. Their Telegram group counts a bit fewer members than other social platforms, around 750 members. It is not unusual for crypto projects to have subreddits, so Zel has one too, with over 300 members. However, one of the best places to get all the details about Zel projects is Medium. Not only do they post all news about the project, but they also describe every change in length so users can understand all the little details and new implementations.
Overall, we like what we saw under Zel’s hood, and we are looking towards further developments. Some potential downsides include lack of focus that stems from working on many different projects at the same time, closed source ZelCore, inexperienced CEO, and fierce competition in the decentralized exchange field that they plan to tackle with the ZelEx. However, given their solid track record and numerous active team members, we believe they have what it takes to keep steering Zel in the right direction.
Ana & Petar