008 – One of the most recognized developers, computer security specialists, hackers and cypherpunks in the cryptographic world is Zooko Wilcox O’Hern. And it is that thanks to his ingenuity and the extensive career and experience that this computer guru has had, he has earned a privileged place along with the most recognized cryptographers by all.
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To learn more about his life, Zooko Wilcox O’Hern was born in Phoenix, Arizona in May 1974. From an early age, Wilcox was drawn to the wonders of computers and science, as his father, Ron Wilcox, was a Very versatile computer engineer, who developed very important jobs for the Texas Instruments company. Where he was widely involved in the design and creation of one of the first home computers.
Zooko, who was living his childhood at that time, became more and more interested in the digital world, getting fully involved in understanding everything about it. Later in his adolescence in the 1990s, he immersed himself in the cyberpunk movement, who firmly persecuted and defended the right to privacy of software and application users who carried out financial operations through these digital systems.
When David Chaum released the cypherpunk mailing list to voice his ideas on how to create a digital payment system that couldn’t be traced, Zooko was one of the first to join this list. It was a kind of club where the members could debate and make their ideas and opinions known, so Zooko was nourished with important information and knowledge that would later lead him to develop one of the most recognized cryptocurrencies worldwide for its high level of privacy and anonymity.
For the year 1998 Wilcox finished university and graduated with a computer science degree. In 2000, he launched his first computer project, creating the Mojo Nation system that allowed users to download and share files independently and autonomously. Later in 2007, he launched a system known as the Tahoe Least-Authority File Store, a project that would lead to him becoming widely recognized in the world of information and computing.
After this, his popularity and prestige grew; and at the same time the name of Satoshi Nakamoto became known within the cyberpunk world, as someone who was creating the first digital currency (Bitcoin), many thought it was Wilcox himself, under a pseudonym. But this never transcended since it was not true.
In 2014, he founded the Zerocoin Electric Coin Company (ZECC) and the Zcash Foundation, tasked with developing the security and privacy cryptocurrency Zcash. His knowledge of cryptography and his experiences within the cyberpunk movement led him to develop this cryptocurrency. The goal is to create a means through which users can enjoy true privacy and anonymity in their financial transactions. Thus, currently, through Zcash, users can make transactions and use their money freely and anonymously; something that more famous cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, cannot offer to their community.
One of Wilcox’s most recent jobs is having participated in the creation of the Blake3 hash function. This function, which is an enhancement of the old Blake2 algorithm, is intended to provide secure hashes using a very fast implementation. The implementation is as secure as SHA-256, but being Blake3, 17 times faster and more efficient. Even compared to SHA-512 and SHA-3, Blake3 is superior in speed without, as its creators claim, sacrificing implementation security.
We will continue to hear more from Zooko Wilcox and her work in the cyber world.