I have been following Horizen for a few years now. It is a fork of another privacy coin called Zcash, though at this point in its development it hardly has any resemblance. With such features as domain fronting and having the largest node network (over 40,000 machines) it has really made some great progress over the last few years.
I showed up during some troubling times with the altcoin as it just experienced a 51% attack. Though changes were made to the blockchain to stop this from happening in the future. By introducing penalties to delayed block production they stopped such an exploit from taking place again. Keeping up on the news of this event I felt it was handled well and I stayed with the coin.
Sidechains have been launched on this coin natively, a big accomplishment as many coins such as Steem and Hive has needed a layer 2 solution to pull that off. And by running a Supernode (Staking 500 ZEN) you can pick and choose which sidechains to support and earn rewards from the chains you decide to mine on using a Proof of Stake node system.
In a few weeks, another big change will be occurring on the Horizen blockchain. The block rewards will be cut in half from 12.5 ZEN per block to 6.25 ZEN per block. As we have seen with Bitcoin and its havening that occurred on May 11, 2020 this tends to cause the price of the coin to have a large bullish correction after the markets adjust to the change in block rewards.
Now I must point out just because a coin halves does not mean it will go up right away, we saw this with Litecoins halving on August 5 2019. But I feel due to global crypto prices being in a decline at that time we did not see it pump. But now we are in a bull cycle we are seeing larger than normal gains for this altcoin. So the halving effect seems to be catching up now prices are pumping.
Secure Node chart
Super Node chart
Bitcoin Node chart
Ethereum Node chart
One of my favorite features of Horizen are its strong node network, with over 40,000 Secure nodes that handle the main blockchain and over 4000 Super nodes that handle the side chains and main chain. In comparison Bitcoin has a little over 11,000 nodes and Ethereum has around 10,000.
Another one of my favorite features is its security algorithm. Using a system called zk-snarks, it makes use of the zero knowledge proofs security protocol. Which when compared to others such as Dash, Monero and other "privacy coins" it leaves them in the dust. You also have the option on Horizen to send transactions in the clear, making it more flexible at times you do not need the privacy and just want to send coins with a trail of proof.
Domain fronting is another feature that has been implemented into Horizen allowing users in countries with firewall issues (Iran, China, Turkey, Vietnam, Egypt and others) to still be able to use Horizen. Some argue setting up a Horizen node is harder than a normal "masternode" because of this. But the support team on Horizens offical discord is always there to help. And I never ran into a problem they could not help me fix.
I like to think of Dash, Monero, Verge, Pivx and other OG altcoins as first generation privacy coins. They were a great start but I do not see them expanding much past what they have already designed. Horizen is such a coin that has taken other security solutions and applied to to their chain to make it one of the most secure and anonymous out there.
My closing thoughts on this coin are to suggest to keep an eye on it. If the bull cycle keeps up we may see more than usual pumps for this altcoin, once the sell orders dry up due to the miners getting less rewards. Though from what I have read this only applies to the POW miners on this network using video cards. Not stakeholders running the POS side of coin such as Secure and Super nodes. I expect security researchers studying privacy coins to find this one as a gem.
Grayscale, a large publicly traded company holds Horizen, it bought $6.3 million worth of ZEN tokens. The investment was made as it believes in the crypto's technology. I expect others to do the same, its FCAS score on coinmarketcap is a big tell of this.
If you are tech savvy look into setting up a node of your own, You only need 42 ZEN to set up a secure node. But if you want take the extra leap then 500 ZEN is needed for a super node. You can even have it hosted and managed through a third party, you do not have to give them access to your coins. Only tell them the public key address where your staked coins are located.