It’s difficult to achieve privacy in a highly interconnected world. Anytime you use your cards to purchase services or products in brick-and-mortar shops, you can be sure that your information is being shared with your financial service provider and the company you are transacting with, among other entities. Online shopping, while convenient, is also far from private, as your internet activity is being tracked all the time. After searching and clicking a few links, it’s only normal to see advertisements that appeal to your preferences while you’re checking out your social media accounts or visiting popular websites. This is all by design.
For some people, being tracked in this way is part and parcel of enjoying modern conveniences like online shopping and using voice assistants. Some even welcome it, as they find that seeing ads about the things they like while they’re browsing the internet bothers them less compared to seeing ads that don’t interest them at all. However, some people are of the belief that what they do with their money is their business and no one else’s. It’s not that they’re doing anything bad or illegal; it’s just that knowing that a third party is privy to all their financial transactions does not, in any way, sit well with them.
If you’re part of the latter group, then it’s worth looking into cryptocurrencies that champion privacy. These decentralized financial networks are designed to enable people to complete transactions without sacrificing their anonymity or giving away their personal data. Here are the digital coins that enable you to do just that:
Released in 2014, Monero is designed to be non-traceable, preserving the anonymity and privacy of the currency’s users as well as the fungibility of the coins and tokens that make up the blockchain network. At the same time, it’s easy to get into XMR, as the currency doesn’t require the use of special hardware or software. To get started, simply create an account on the best Monero wallet and purchase some coins. Mining the coin can also be done through the use of consumer-grade hardware.
There are 3 technologies that play a crucial role in maintaining the anonymity and privacy of all transactions that make use of XMR. The first, ring signatures, obfuscates the sender by adding 10 more digital signatures to the sender’s original. The second, stealth addresses, hides the receiver by using one-time addresses with each transaction. Finally, ring confidential transactions works by hiding the total amount of each transaction, preventing unauthorized parties from seeing how much users are exchanging. Because transactions cannot be traced from one person to another, it’s not possible to block XMR coins that come from or have been used by particular entities. It’s either all XMR coins are accepted or they’re not—there’s no in-between.
Confidentiality and accessibility are two qualities that users typically associate with ZCash. This cryptocurrency can either be transparent or shielded, and it gives private users the option to disclose the details of their transactions. Transparent ZEC coins are used in T-to-T transactions where the sender, receiver, and value of the exchange can be viewed by the public. Shielded ZEC coins, on the other hand, can be used in Z-to-Z transactions where the amount and memo field are encrypted. Currently, only about 4% of ZEC coins are used in private or shielded transactions.
Cryptocurrencies are still fairly new to the financial scene, and there are different rules in how to use and regard digital coins in different countries. If you want to have the option to obscure and reveal your financial transactions before your complete them, then DASH is a great choice. Released in 2014 as a fork of Bitcoin, this cryptocurrency enables users to remain private or anonymous simply by using the coin’s PrivacySend feature. If you choose to obscure your transaction, the said feature will hide the origin of your funds at the cost of a higher transaction fee.
Launched in 2018, BEAM is a cryptocurrency network that sets its transactions to private as default. The blockchain behind the coin does not store any information about the participants in a transaction. On top of its privacy features, the coin also offers a high level of versatility as it allows transactions to exchange other than value. It’s possible, for example, to conduct time-locked transactions and use escrow mechanisms.
Instead of using cryptographic techniques like the other currencies on this list, Verge relies on the tried-and-tested technology used by The Onion Project (TOR) and the Invisible Internet Project (I2P) to hide the identity of the coin’s users. By bouncing the user’s communication through TOR’s different networks and tunnels around the world and using I2P’s encrypted and peer-to-peer network, the coin hides the locations and IP addresses of the participants in any given transaction.
If you’re looking to protect your privacy or simply prevent commercial entities from getting your information as you use your money, then check out these privacy-oriented cryptocurrencies. Perhaps, you’ll be able to breathe more easily and maximize your assets if you’re sure that absolutely no one is breathing over your shoulder as you do your bidding with your hard-earned money and digital coins.