Zooko Wilcox, also known as Zooko Wilcox-O’Hearn, is an American computer scientist, cryptographer, and cypherpunk who is the founder and CEO of Zcash, a privacy-preserving protocol that forked off from Bitcoin in 2016. He is also the CEO of Electric Coin Company (ECC), a for-profit company leading the development of Zcash.
Zooko is known for his work on the Tahoe Least-Authority File Store (Tahoe-LAFS), a secure, decentralized, fault-tolerant filesystem. He is also the designer of Zooko’s triangle, a schema that relates three desirable properties of identifiers. He is a member of the development team of ZRTP, a secure voice communication protocol, and the BLAKE2 and BLAKE3 cryptographic hash functions.
A pioneer in the field of privacy-preserving cryptocurrencies, Zooko worked on the first cryptocurrency, DigiCash, with David Chaum in 1996. He later created Zcash, which uses zero-knowledge proofs to enable transactions that hide the sender, receiver, and amount of money transferred.
Zooko has also invested in several other Web3 projects, such as Handshake, Orchid Protocol, and Agoric.