Zcash is booming. On Tuesday, the 22nd-largest cryptocurrency rose nearly 14 percent in the space of 24 hours, reaching a price of $360.79 per token and a market cap of $1.42 billion. The spike came as the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange, owned by Bitcoin barons Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, became the first licensed Zcash exchange.

What is ZCash and how is it different from Bitcoin? The cryptocurrency is what Gemini refers to as a “friendly fork” of Bitcoin, meaning it’s a member of the “Nakamoto Family Tree” of commodities. The token’s developers describe it as a secure transport layer version of Bitcoin. It uses zero-knowledge proofs on the blockchain, which in practice allows for fully encrypted transactions. Gemini’s support is a big sign of confidence in this technology, as it’s named as a highly trustworthy exchange by hedge funds like BlockTower, but it only offers exchanges between Bitcoin and Ethereum. The announcement led to a surge in price for Zcash, which experienced a total boost in price of a staggering 55 percent after the announcement.

Zcash's performance over the past week.
Zcash's performance over the past week.

Gemini is offering its full-throated support to Zcash. Tyler Winklevoss, CEO of Gemini, said in a statement that Zcash “picks up where Bitcoin left off,” because “Bitcoin has many strengths, but privacy is not one of them.” In an interview with Bloomberg, Cameron Winklevoss noted that coins like Zcash have a small market cap because people are unsure about regulations, but “today demonstrates that through education and collaboration and with the right controls in place, regulators can get comfortable with privacy technology.”

Zcash faces an uphill battle, as its market cap is still less than 1 percent of Bitcoin’s $146 billion. The world’s largest cryptocurrency experienced a slight drop on Monday, declining 2.36 percent amid a wider market sell-off. Zcash was the best performer in the top 100 cryptocurrencies. It was founded just 18 months ago, but it’s already making a name as a key player in emerging cryptocurrencies.

How do you trade ZCash? Gemini users will be able to deposit tokens in their accounts from May 19 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time, while trading will start on May 22 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time.

The Winklevoss twins have made a name for themselves in the cryptocurrency space, and it all started with a fear of astro-gold causing a crash in the commodities market. It appears to have been a safe bet.