Monero (XMR) takes the number one spot as the privacy currency of choice.
Monero is currently the Mack Daddy of Privacy coins by market cap. However, the technology is now older and it is supposed to be untraceable, but coders recently found two flaws in Monero, however developers are now solving these issues.
Monero features: anonymous, stealth addresses, fungible, dynamically scalable, ASIC miner resistant & ring signature protection (RingCT).
Monero is still the most private cryptocurrency, althought it doesn't offer anonymity and doesn't hide your IP address.
All transactions are set to private by default and it offers the ability to share a view key to let someone else see the details of a transaction you send.
However, it’s also one of the slower privacy cryptocurrencies and it has the highest fees. It also has a bloated blockchain, mainly due to the way its privacy technology, RingCT, works.
Monero is working on "Bulletproofs", which should drop the size of a transaction by 80% and should lower the fees.
Sitting in the #2 spot is DASH, also known as "Digital Cash"
Instant Send payments confirm in under 1 second.
You can set up masternodes to earn 8.3% p.a.
Dash uses "CoinJoin" in which several users put funds into the same transaction in order to increase the chances of privacy. But, DASH is not an anonymous and private coin as such. It uses Proof of Service (PoS) masternodes and miners.
You can also use DASH to buy gold online, pay bills & other purchases. It is an older coin with an active community.
Click here for a list of DASH Merchants.
ZCash (ZEC) is a "Zero Knowledge Proofs" cryptocurrency.
JPMorgan has integrated Zcash privacy tech into their Quorum Blockchain and Goldman Sach's owned Circle Pay has also added ZCash.
Circle Pay also owns the Poloniex exchange, which will likely become the first SEC-regulated exchange in the USA.
The scientists, advisors and engineers of ZECC developed and launched the Zcash protocol; this includes all of the authors of the Zerocash protocol, most of the creators of the Zerocoin protocol and leading researchers of zk-SNARKs themselves.
You can send either public or shielded transactions.
Interestingly, over the last month only around 2% of the value transactions were shielded, which makes me think, people merely want the "option" to send coins privately.
Ethereum wants to integrate Zk-Snarks as it enters its Metropolis phase and the way that they are planning to do so is by creating an alliance with Zcash which will include a mutual exchange of value.
Zcash enhances privacy for users by encrypting sender, amount and recipient data within single-signature transactions published to its public block chain ledger.
Zcash does not encrypt data for multi-signature or protect against correlations made with public transactions.
For instance, Zcash is not encrypted when exchanged for another cryptocurrency and it also doesn't hide your IP address.
It is possible to use ZCash in conjunction with an anonymising network such, as the Tor browser, in order to obtain protection against network eavesdropping which is complementary to transaction privacy, but some of the newer privacy coins have IP protection built in.
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