In this digital age of social media and eCommerce advertising, it seems like we’ve lost all aspects of our personal privacy. Everybody from Facebook, the government or online eCommerce giants like Amazon and eBay are collecting massive amounts of data on what you purchase. Some are collecting even more intricate details like behavioral profiles (interests, favorite places you visit, etc) . I mean you can’t even fart in the wind without technological advancements tracking it.
Realize that you won’t be able to entirely hide all your spending habits as long as you shop online. You do however have a choice of where to shop.
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You can always leave your house and shop at a brick-and-mortar store. To some, depending on how old you are, can almost seem old fashioned. This can you the ability to retain some of your privacy…to an extent. However, it doesn’t really give you the convenience you’re accustomed to with the internet.
With convenience comes a lack of privacy. Fortunately for us, privacy coins are here to change all that!
Ask yourself this simple question. Do you really want just anyone to view how much money you own or the purchases you make online? Of course not.
If you’re familiar with cryptocurrency, you may be asking yourself… well, what about Bitcoin? The truth of the matter is, Bitcoin is fairly easy to track with regards to transaction and wallet amounts, if you know what you’re doing.
So this brings us to the point of privacy coins. Their entire purpose is to hide your data from wandering eyes. Within this guide, I’m going to cover the more popular privacy coins as well as how they secure your privacy.
A Growing List of Privacy Coins
Monero – most individuals that have spent more than a few weeks studying cryptocurrency have heard of this coin. It’s considered to be the ultimate privacy coin.
It was an original fork from Bytecoin. The coin uses stealth addresses and Ring Confidential Addresses (RingCT) in order to keep your online wallet as well as your transaction data anonymous.
The team behind Monero are constantly adding new features to stay one step ahead of those pesky hackers or financial institutions that want to access your information. The coin has always been completely focused on privacy even though it may sometimes mean that the usability isn’t always there….yet.
Verge – this coin has a very controversial history, which was recently made more controversial regarding their partnership with the infamous Pornhub. You can now purchase all your Pornhub goodies with this currency and stay completely anonymous doing it. You know, in case you weren’t doing that already.
Verge’s privacy tech is derived from TOR and an IP address anonymizer that ensures your connection to the blockchain is anonymous. You can also send your transactions through I2P, which is a secondary IP anonymizer.
The Wrath Protocol, Verges claim to fame, allows users the option to send transactions through private or public blockchain. When sending through the private blockchain, you can use stealth addresses (similar to the ones used by Monero) together with TOR. This combination allows for double layers of anonymity.
Dash – although not quite as devoted to anonymity as some of the other coins on this list, Dash does allocate a great deal of privacy. It’s a fork of Bitcoin, so you can find a good amount of Bitcoin’s technology deep inside Dash’s crypto programming.
What makes Dash so special is their PrivateSend feature. This allows anyone to send your coins anonymously to other recipients. As a part of the PrivateSend feature, Dash masternodes (computers) mix your coins, multiple times, with other Dash coins sent within their network. This effectively makes your coins indistinguishable from other Dash coins.
Pretty cool right? It’s essentially “laundering money” through its pool of other coins, however not to worry, the technology is completely legal.
Bytecoin – one of the oldest privacy coins on this list, created in 2012, many cryptocurrency enthusiast consider Bytecoin to be the original privacy coin.
As stated earlier, Monero is a fork of this coin. Bytecoin uses a protocol by the name of CryptoNote. This is a mixture of ring signatures as well as one time stealth addresses.
The coin utilizes a unique, one time public key that avoids address recycling (just think disposable addresses) and makes sure that you’re not able to track the transaction history.
As of late, the project developers have begun communicating more with its community. They’re currently going through a re-branding phase as there’s been a recent resurgence to the original development team.
Zcash – this coin is one of the newer privacy coins and currently utilizes a technology called zk-SNARKS. This stands for zero-knowledge Succinct Non-interactive Arguments for Knowledge or zk-SNARKs for all you crypto nerds out there.
The technology is a mathematical proof of accurate transactional information without having to reveal the information itself. It also ensures that transnational data is encrypted.
Although this coin is considered a privacy coin, the development team has been clear that they do not encrypt multi-signature data or mask IP addresses.
Bitcoin Private – is being described as a “fork-merge” of Bitcoin and Zclassic. The coins main goal is to maintain the security and branding of Bitcoin while keeping the privacy functionality of Zclassic. The owners of Bitcoin Private can redeem their funds without any traceable history.
Zencash – has more going on with it than just privacy. It includes a messaging and content platform alongside a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO).
Much like most of the other privacy coins, you can keep any of your transactions that start with addresses “z” and “t” private. Zencash is also planning to start a decentralized exchange, peer-to-peer insurance, as well as banking services. All these services will include inherent privacy features. As you can see, this coin has a lot going for it.
PIVX – is another fork of Dash and one of the newest privacy coins. The name stands for (Private Instant Verified Transaction). PIVX utilizes its Zerocoin protocol to completely withstand blockchain analysis which means that both the sender and receiver keep their privacy. This is unlike its predecessor Zcash and Dash.
In order to use the PIVX privacy feature, you first need to convert them to zPIV coins and send them to your recipient who will receive standard PIVX coins. Zerocoin protocol enables the transaction to be verifiable on the blockchain and still preserves both the senders and recipient’s privacy.
Nav Coin – includes both anonymous and public options for transactions. The private side of NAV transactions reside on the NavTech subchain.
Sending the transaction directly to the recipient includes encrypting and sending through the proprietary Navtech subchain. Next, the coin enters a pool of servers and encryption layers where NavTech sends a different set of coins from this pool to your recipient. This is similar to how Dash handles their “laundering of coins” however with added encrypted layers.
The Privacy Coins Saga Continues
There are a ton of other privacy focused coins in the top 100 as ranked by CoinMarketCap, however the ones listed above are some of the more prominent ones.
Others worth mentioning are…
Aeon (Monero fork)
Enigma (private decentralized applications)
Wanchain (private smart contracts)
With the ever pervasive infringement on our individual privacies, the lists of privacy coins, along with the blockchain technology that supports them, will continue to grow.
Check back later as this list will continue to grow and evolve over time. If you know of any other popular privacy coins that should be added to the list, please leave us a comment below.