Is this justified, though? Absolutely not! Fundamentally, Zcoin is a sleeping giant.
- Zcoin did pioneering work in crypto by being the first project to implement the Zerocoin protocol in 2016 (their genesis block is also 1 month older than Zcash's which should answer the question if they're a fork)
- After a slow start in crypto, they really picked up speed in 2017 and invested most of their money into development. If you haven't heard of them or haven't seen any marketing, this is why! Most of their funds go straight into development.
- This lead them to constantly improving Zerocoin, implementing the network-level privacy protocol Dandelion++ way ahead of Bitcoin and - most importantly - establishing a team of cryptographers and coders with experience in implementing cryptography.
- They have about 10 full-time devs now with 4 of them being solely responsible for researching and implementing cryptographic schemes.
- All this effort is currently culminating and... then they got hacked. Someone was able to exploit the basic cryptography that the Zerocoin protocol is based on. This affects all Zerocoin-based projects (PIVX, Veil, NIX...). While this is not a deanonymizing attack, the attacker was able to create coins out of thin air and inflated the supply.
- Luckily, Zcoin had already been working on a replacement called Sigma. This doesn't only introduce more robust crypto but also removes the trusted setup (look at Zcash to see why you don't want that in a cryptocurrency). Testnet is in full swing and within the next month or so (expect July 1st) this will be unleashed on the main net.
- This is only a first step though as after that, a novel privacy protocol called Lelantus will be implemented. It uses Sigma too so that wasn't wasted time but the first building block of the new protocol. Lelantus, as all things Zcoin implements, is based on a peer-reviewed academic paper - just this time it's Zcoin's own cryptographer who wrote that paper. I don't want to bore you with the technical details but this will be a highly-competitive privacy protocol. It got Zcoin's team some serious cred on crypto street and even Monero's head of research spoke highly of it in his April update to the community.
All this leads me to believe that there are three stages to this
- Stage 1: This is where we are now. Horrendous charts, a hacked coin with no privacy protocol dead in the water, getting close to ATL , blood in the streets. What do we know about blood in the streets? Smart money knows a thing or two about that.
- Stage 2: Sigma is released, people take note but Zcoin has already begun its uptrend. Second best time to get in.
- Stage 3: After the announcement of Lelantus (but before its release), it's blastoff! After this, you're just chasing the pump.
There are more fundamentals to this (I haven't spoken about partnerships brewing and adoption for example). Potential investors should keep a close eye on social accounts run by their COO who knows no consideration of strategic new placement and just spurts out everything lukewarm (especially on the Telegram group). Also recommend his update videos on YT where he innocently speaks his mind. If you lurk on their Telegram channel you get the impression that they don't really have any secrets. It's quite perplexing... they never have any news that come out of nowhere. Maybe that's where there are so few pumps. I'll let you be the judge if that's transparency or idiocy.