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In this review guide, we will explore the world of privacy coins. A different type of cryptocurrency that fights to protect our right to privacy using decentralised technology.
In this guide, we will review the following 8 popular privacy coins:
My pick for the 8 best privacy cryptos for 2020 list
1 – Monero – the winner!
Monero is the oldest and the most popular privacy coin in existence.
Monero was launched back in 2014 and have throughout the years continued to improve and perfect its privacy features. With Monero all transactions are private by mandate. Compared to other privacy coins with optional privacy features.
Monero makes use of a zero-knowledge protocol in order to completely hide the sender’s as well the receiver’s address from the public.
And it has the Ring Signatures and Ring Confidential Transactions (RingCT) technology in place: This privacy algorithm was available on the network since January 2016. It allows users to keep their transaction amounts private
The protocol used by Monero also hides the transaction amount between the users.
Thus, making it one of the most complete privacy cryptocurrencies out there. No one can browse the Monero blockchain and track the users of Monero.
Another key reason for why Monero is a leading privacy coin is that the coins are fungible. This is because all coins and transactions are completely private.
With the fungibility aspect, no coins can be traced and all coins are interchangeable. Meaning if someone used some coins for illegal activities and you, later on, bought them in good faith the coins themselves can’t be linked to any illicit activities, nor have a change in value for you.
Monero has for the past years been the unchallenged leader in the privacy space.
Monero prides itself on being the top coin because it has the strongest suite of privacy features.
Advantages of Monero:
- It is fungible – that means all coins are interchangeable. There are no bad or good coins. So past history won’t reflect or change the value of any of the coins. This is very important for any privacy coin.
- World-class research. With top scientists, researchers and academics all building to Monero’s development (read more here).
- Stealth addresses: To keep accounts anonymous and untraceable
- Ring Signatures and Ring Confidential Transactions in place (learn more about it here)
2 – DASH
DASH is after Monero one of the most well-known privacy coins. It also provides its users with the feature of private send.
The way the private transactions are processed on the DASH network is that the transactions are broken down into smaller amounts and these smaller amounts are mixed with the transaction happening between two other users as well.
In the end, the total amount that you intend to send is transferred to the receiver’s wallet. DASH is using a modified version of CoinJoin.
DASH makes use of a group of masternodes in order to help verify the transactions at a very high speed.
These masternodes are hosted on dedicated VPS. Whenever a transaction occurs on the DASH blockchain, the wallet generates a new receiving address.
The masternodes transfer the amount into this newly created wallet address and will never know the actual wallet address of the receiver.
Thus, helping maintain the privacy of the network and maintaining decentralisation and privacy as important features.
Advantages of DASH:
- Strong suit or privacy features
- Run by a decentralised and community
- No record of any previous critical bugs
3 – Verge
Verge was created in mid-2014 by Justin (Vendetta) “Sunerok” Valo under the name DogeCoinDark. The coin was later rebranded to Verge Currency. This is another privacy crypto that was extremely famous during the last crypto bull run.
Unlike most other privacy cryptocurrencies, Verge does not rely on cryptography to hide the transactions. Verge makes use of technologies such as Tor and I2P to hide the IP address and the location of the user from the rest of the world.
Verge also offers stealth addresses. That allows the users to generate a brand new Verge address to send the XVG, which can only be seen by the owner.
But all is not great with Verge. Who came under heavy fire in the past 1-2 years. Much due to their leadership team (Verge’s lead developer is Justin Erik Valo aka Justin Vendetta aka Sunerok).
Advantages of Verge:
- Their use of TOR and I2P, and the stealth addresses and wallets.
- No pre-mining and community-led team
- Low fees and fast transactions
Where you can buy Verge: Buy Verge at Binance
4 – ZCash
ZCash provides its users with an option to send funds privately to other users. If this option is chosen then the transactions are going to be impossible to trace back to the source.
ZCash makes use of the Zero-Knowledge protocol as well. This means that the user’s identity need not be compromised or for them to know that a transaction has been made to their wallet address.
“Zcash addresses are either private (z-addresses) or transparent (t-addresses). Z-addresses start with a “z,” and t-addresses start with a “t.” Using encryption on a blockchain is only possible through the use of zero-knowledge proofs. The owner of an address may choose to disclose z-address and transaction details with trusted third parties — think auditory and compliance needs — through the use of view keys and payment disclosure”.
ZCash technology insights – ZCash website
Advantages of ZCash:
- Optional privacy features with greater flexibility between private and non-private transactions
- Strong background throughout the years, and with little to non critical bugs reported
- Low transaction fees
5 – NavCoin
NavCoin is an open-source blockchain with a privacy cryptocurrency. It also has a very strong community focus.
What makes Nav interesting is three-folded. Being a privacy coin is one, the other two is that it is really fast to send and cheap.
NavCoin is not yet the fully fletched privacy crypto that they aim to be. Right now they provide us the users the possibility to transact between each other privately, and thus maintaining our right to privacy on the internet.
On the 15th of January 2019, NavCoin Core Engineer Alex Vazquez published his academic white paper describing ZeroCT — A new protocol for private on-chain cryptocurrency transactions. As the name suggests, ZeroCT is based on a combination of the Zerocoin protocol and Confidential Transactions. But it’s more than just the combination of two existing protocols. ZeroCT expands on the Zerocoin protocol, increasing privacy and improving usability.NavCoin medium article by NavCoin engineer Craig MacGregor
Advantages of NavCoin:
- Cheap (NAV can be sent for fraction of a cent)
- Fast (transactions will show up within seconds and confirmed in 30 seconds)
- Privacy (NavCoin wants to help you keep your privacy while interacting on the blockchain. So that your information can only be given with your consent, not taken)
Where you can buy NavCoin: Buy at NAV at Binance,
6 – PIVX
PIVX is a fork from DASH and another privacy coin and open-sourced blockchain project.
Similar to NAV it offers extremely fast and cheap transaction and privacy features, like sending private coins to each other through the “Zerocoin Protocol”. This is how PIVX works to make them top crypto:
- Private identity: Allowing users to easily create new wallets without any personal ties.
- Private network: Allowing users to stake without entering their personal details.
- Private send and spend: A feature that uses zPIV allowing users to make their entire transaction history and balance completely private.
- Private rewards: With zPOS (Zerocoin Proof of Stake) users can now stake zPIV and keep their entire staking process private and anonymous. Private exchange: A decentralised exchange that utilises the zPIV is also in the works.
Advantages of PIVX:
- Privacy enabled transactions, rewards, balance, and wallet
- Really fast transactions
- Self-govern system in place that works. With voting and proposal system guiding future development
Where you can buy PIVX: Buy PIVX at Binance
7 – Komodo
Komodo platform is trying to build a blockchain ecosystem. And with that, they mean a full range of products and services like a decentralised exchange, decentralised ICO crowdfunding platform.
Together with their focus on scalability, interoperability (atomic swaps, cross-chain features, bridging) and security being keys to their identity. Komodo provides users with features to protect themselves and their anonymity with for example its Jumblr feature.
The Jumblr feature takes non-private KMD and puts them through Komodo’s own Tumblr. Making them completely private and anonymous. By using zk-SNARK technology.
“While we here at Komodo Platform believe that personal privacy is extremely important, we respect each individual’s right to form their own personal opinion. We believe that each person should have the right to choose whether or not to keep their personal information private.That’s why Komodo offers users the option to make untraceable transactions with the Jumblr feature”.Komodo team about privacy
Advantages of Komodo:
- Strong set of security and privacy features
- The interoperability between different blockchains through their Atomic Swaps technology
- Unique decentralised add-ons like an exchange and ICO crowdfunding
Where you can buy Komodo: Buy KMD at Binance
8 – DeepOnion
DeepOnion was launched back in 2017 by a team from different fields, set out to create a blockchain with its own cryptocurrency with strong privacy features.
DeepOnion as the name tells us uses the anonymous Tor network by default.
Additionally, they have stealth addresses added to keep transactions private and free from being traces.
DeepOnion team has also been working on securing the complete transaction chain, from sender to coin and the receiver with their DeepSend functionality.
Where a random hidden wallet on the Tor network acts as a middleman and facilitates the transactions, making sure it is completely untraceable.
And making sure your identity is kept hidden and protected.
The team has also created its own secure and privacy-focused storing service called DeepVault.
Here users can secure their digital files on the blockchain without someone else viewing or accessing those files. It is available as a browser add-on for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Brave and Vivaldi
- Learn more about DeepOnion and their functionalities by visiting their website
Advantages of DeepOnion:
- Very quick transactions with near-instant confirmations. No need to wait for hours as if you’d use the Bitcoin network.
- Very strong privacy features built-in. With built-in Tor usage, stealth addresses, DeepSend and DeepVault. Making the cryptocurrency and the blockchain highly attractive to users with strong privacy needs.
- VoteCentral a decentralised voting platform that brings the users in on the decision-making process for future development
Where can you buy DeepOnion (Onion): You can buy Onion at Kucoin (few other exchanges available but with very low trading volume)
What are privacy coins?
With the blockchain all cryptocurrency transactions are recorded on an open ledger. That means if I had your wallet address I could see all your transactions, but also the value of your current holdings.
That is how blockchain and cryptocurrencies work.
Now if you would have wanted to avoid this. And stay private while transacting, and also maintain your holdings secret then you would need to use a privacy coin.
These cryptocurrencies that either by default keep all transactions private, where it is impossible to trade them.
Or they can have this as an added feature that you could activate. And all other transactions would be public and open.
It depends on the design of the blockchain.
Ever since the Facebook leak of 256 million users, cryptocurrency hacks and thefts and other data scandals more and more people are looking into how they can protect their identities and funds with cryptocurrencies
And this is especially important as blockchain with how it is designed is open and public by nature.
Why use a privacy cryptocurrency?
- To keep your transactions private of course. Keeping your transaction private can be an integral user right
- Also to keep your holdings secret from others. Since transactions on the blockchain are (usually) traceable, it also means they can see from which wallet and see what each wallet holds
Let us now have a close look at some of these privacy cryptos, what sets them apart? And what are their main advantages, and where you can buy them?
What does the government think about privacy coins?
Go Cryptowise could report earlier in March that France’s Finance Committee had published a report supporting the ban of privacy coins, like Monero, Zcash, Pivx, and more reviewed here above.
The president of the committee Éric Woerth suggests (read Go Cryptowise article here).
“It would also have been appropriate to propose a ban on the dissemination and trade in [cryptocurrencies built] to ensure complete anonymity by preventing any identification procedure by design… This is the case for a certain number of [cryptocurrencies] whose purpose is to bypass any possibility of identifying the holders. To date, regulation has not gone that far.”Éric Woerth president of France’s Finance Committee – Forbes
In the last year 2018 the Japanese Government, FSA put in place a ban on privacy coins (Investopedia). And the U.S Government has on several occasions spoken out against them.
Bottom Line – how to keep our right to privacy
Cryptocurrencies offer a very high level of anonymity to their users. However, these transactions can still be tracked.
Privacy-enabled cryptos provide the perfect solution to this problem. As more users have realised this fact. The fact of the matter is that cryptocurrencies aren’t truly private. And so the need began to create coins that truly was. We are surrounded by leaks of data almost weekly.
Our right to privacy. Protection and security should never be forgotten.
The giants like Facebook, T-Mobile, Google have all been compromised and exposing our private data to hackers and other ill-minded people (The 21 scariest data breaches of 2018 Business Insider article).
Thus the fight to maintain and protect ourselves online even more important. And the importance of privacy-focused cryptocurrencies will remain for time being.
I hope you liked this list of some of the best privacy coins to use and to protect your identity and funds with. Which one is your favourite?
Do you have a suggestion for another cryptocurrency to add to this list? Then let me know via the comment section!
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Hello and welcome to Go Cryptowise.
My name is Per Englund and I’m a long-term fan and investor of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. I’ve been around the space for a good few years, learning how it all works and to be a part of this engaging community.
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