In the world of alternatives to Bitcoin, very few focus on comprehensive security and privacy. Zen is different.
Zen has a clear vision as a private and fully encrypted currency, and will also be a distributed and secure basic communication system. All communications between Zen nodes and wallets will be encrypted, and in addition to being able to send private financial transactions, Zen users will be able to send short messages to each other about the transaction (or anything else), and link to distributed documents on the IPFS.
It is launching as a fork of Zclassic, at Zclassic block 100,000, which in itself is a fork of Zcash. So it has a good history of software development, security, and codebase, as Zcash is a fork of Bitcoin with the addition of shielded private transactions. The launch is scheduled for April 29th, 2017.
Zen is structured for long-term operations through a redirection of a portion of the miner reward to both node operators as well as a Distributed Autonomous Organization (DAO). The DAO will pay for operational costs and continued software development.
There’s three basic ways participants in the Zen community can make earn Zen money.
The first and easiest is to buy Zclassic on the open market at an exchange like Bittrex, hold it, and expect that as the developers and other people involved with Zen work to make it a stronger and more useful currency that it will go up in value over time. One of the unique aspects about the launch is that as a planned fork with Zclassic any current holders of Zclassic will be awarded the equivalent amount of Zen at launch.
If you hold Zclassic in your own wallet on your own computer you can export your keys from your Zclassic wallet, import them into your Zen wallet, and then all your Zen that was made available to you at launch will immediately show up. The same thing should happen if for any Zen stored on a exchange, but it is always better to have positive control of your own crypto-currency, so I recommend transferring it off the exchange to your desktop wallet.
A second way to earn Zen, which is slightly more difficult, is to run a Zen node. This involves operating your own server and running the Zen node software. Zen is going to be optimized for security and resiliency I would recommend staying away from putting your VPS on a Raspberry Pi or similar device and instead rent an actual VPS at a hosting provider. You should be able to find one that meets your specifications for $10/month.
To get better rewards get a public certificate for your VPS so it can have verified secure Communications with other Zen nodes. This can be done for free using Let’s Encrypt. I expect that nodes are going to be tested for resiliency against high utilization in order to be able to receive their node reward. Perhaps not immediately, but in the future.
There will be a requirement to own some Zen to be able to receive Zen payments as a participating node operator, so it would be a good idea to purchase some Zclassic now, to have Zen later. It may be around 20-50 Zen per node. You can prepare for setting up a Zen node now by setting up a Zclassic node. Instructions are at the Zclassic Github.
A third way to make money with Zen is to mine for it with a GPU Miner. Zen will use the same algorithm as both Zclassic and Zcash, the Equihash algorithm. If you set yourself up to mine Zclassic or Zcash right now, test your systems, and get them working at a Zclassic or Zcash mining pool then when Zen launches you will be able to immediately point your GPU Miner at a Zen mining pool and start mining to your own Zen address. A 6 rig GPU miner running Windows or Linux would be a good place to start.
The developers for Zen are already preparing packages to provide to mining pool operators so they'll be ready when Zen launches. If you have questions, you can get support for both Zclassic and Zen in the Zclassic RocketChat. Zen will have it’s own support structure as the launch gets closer.
Zen will be secure and resilient and also incorporate two of the key features that have made Dash a successful currency so far, the payments to node operators and the funding for business, marketing, operations, and development. Zen has a different focus than Dash, however, and is going to be enable fully secure crypto-currency transactions worldwide.
Use the time between now and the launch of Zen to get your systems ready to support the currency and make money as a Zen node operator and miner. Then spread the word and start using Zen!