Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies aren’t fully anonymous and untraceable as so many people think.
Most blockchains leave behind a public record of all transactions. There is a concern that users can still be identified based on their activity which is why some people turn to privacy coins. Below is a list of some of the best and most popular privacy coins.
Monero was launched in 2014 and is currently the 10th most popular cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization. It is a bitcoin fork with several anonymity features. Monero transactions are completely anonymous. The three most important features are Ring Signatures, Ring Confidential Transactions (RingCT), and Stealth Addresses.
A ring signature is a digital signature that can be performed by any member of a group of users that each have keys. A message signed with a ring signature is endorsed by someone in a particular group without revealing which of the group members’ keys was used to produce the signature.
Ring Confidential Transactions (RingCT)
RingCT is how transaction amounts are hidden in Monero. It is an improved version of ring signatures and was implemented in 2017. RingCT allows for hidden amounts, origins and destinations of transactions with reasonable efficiency and verifiable, trustless coin generation. It is now mandatory for all transactions on the network.
Stealth Addresses allows the sender to create random one-time addresses for every transaction on behalf of the recipient. Monero users have a public address that is shown on the blockchain, but their transactions will be passed through stealth addresses. Only the sender and receiver can determine where a payment was sent.
Monero is currently implementing BulletProofs instead of RingCT to reduce transaction sizes. Their roadmap is available here.
Dash is both a cryptocurrency and a DAO. Same as Monero, Dash is a bitcoin fork created in 2014. It is an open-source peer-to-peer cryptocurrency with many features similar to bitcoin’s, but Dash also offers an option for instant and private transactions.
The InstantSend function sends transactions along the second-tier of the Dash blockchain, which allows for quick confirmation.
The PrivateSend function is a trustless method of running a sequence of transactions making it impossible for an external observer to determine the source of funding when a PrivateSend transaction is created.
Dash is a self-funded organization because the 10% of the rewards for a solved block goes to the Dash DAO. Another 45% of the mining rewards to masternodes that act as a second-tier to the network. Masternodes verify transactions and the governance of the network. In order to run a masternode, a user must have more than 1000 tokens in their wallet.
Dash is currently working on an updated version of their roadmap.
Zcash is also a Bitcoin fork. Zcash users can opt for both public or private addresses. In contrary to the other coins on this list, Zcash only has a handful of privacy features.
The primary privacy feature is zk-SNARKs; zero-knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge proofs. This feature encrypts all transactional data stored on the Zcash network. zk-SNARKs verifies the accuracy of the data without revealing the all of the transaction details.
Zcash is expecting to release Sapling by the end of 2018. Their roadmap is available here.
SafeX aka Safe Exchange is a decentralized marketplace and they are aiming to disrupt the E-commerce world. As stated on their website, “It [the marketplace] resides on a blockchain which allows for autonomous exchanging to occur using crypto currencies.” They are using the Chille blockchain for the exchange of goods and services. Cryptographic escrow systems and rating systems will ensure high-quality experiences while transactions are anonymous. SafeX will provide a platform that protects people’s civil liberties from criminals/hackers. Fees charged on the blockchain will be distributed to SafeX coin holders.
SafeX recently launched their blockchain and they are hoping to launch the safex marketplace in Q4 2018.
Nav Coin based on the most recent Bitcoin Core. Unlike Bitcoin and the other coins on this list, Nav Coin’s consensus mechanism is Proof-of-Stake resulting in faster transactions and no need for expensive hardware to maintain. Nav Coin holders can stake their investment and receive 5% rewards of their balance per year for doing so.
Nav Coin provides its users with easy to use and functional wallets. Transactions take 30 seconds and the costs are kept at a minimum.
Like the other coins on this list, Nav Coin is also very privacy oriented. The dual-blockchain security system allows users to send and receive NAV completely anonymously, and they even have an embedded option to use the Tor network for extra privacy.
They are currently implementing the lightning network transactions to allow instant, cross chain, atomic swaps between NAV and other supported cryptocurrencies. Their roadmap is available here.