What are anonymous coins and how do they differ from bitcoin
Some crypto-assets often referred to as confidential coins, private coins, or anonymous coins, attempt to hide transaction information, giving users more privacy.
Such assets include Monero (XMR), Zcash (ZEC), Verge (XVG), Beam, and Grin. Dash is also on the list because it provides additional anonymity, although the coin is not technically classified as a private asset.
One of the industry’s most prominent privacy-focused assets. The coin is based on a proprietary Proof-of-Work blockchain, supports hidden addresses and RingCT (Ring Confidential Transactions).
In 2020, Monero sparked the interest of the U.S. government. At that time, the Internal Revenue Service set a reward of $625,000 in exchange for cracking the coin’s privacy technology. Two blockchain analytics units, Integra FEC and Chainalysis, took home the prize just weeks after the IRS announced the award.
Zcash appeared in 2016 and is another popular “anonymous” asset in the crypto space. Zcash is open source and runs on its own PoW consensus blockchain.
ZEC allows both private transfers, called secure transactions, and public transactions. Zcash’s selective disclosure features allow the user to share some transaction details for compliance or audit purposes.
Dash is another coin that is renowned for its privacy. However, its developers, the Dash Core Group, have clarified several times that Dash is not a privacy asset, although it has additional features for added anonymity.
“Dash is a payment cryptocurrency with a focus on usability, which includes speed, cost, ease of use, and user protection through additional privacy,” commented Fernando Gutierrez, the group’s director of marketing, on the issue of anonymity.
A PoW asset running on its own blockchain, Verge exists as another cryptocurrency promoting stealth opportunities. “Verge currency was created in 2014 under the name DogeCoinDark,” the asset’s website says, but was later renamed Verge Currency.
An open-source resource, Verge allows private transfers through I2P and Tor technologies that hide the location (IP addresses) of transaction participants.
According to TradingView, Verge rose significantly in value in late 2017, hitting a high of about $0.31. The asset currently trades at about $0.023.
Beam and Grin
Grin and Beam broke into the cryptocurrency market in 2019. They are currently the best-known implementations of Mimblewimble (a PoW protocol with extensive scalability and enhanced privacy capabilities).
MimbleWimble is a blockchain protocol whose main goal is to provide anonymity and high scalability by verifying the validity of transactions without having to store the entire chain history. What makes it unique is that it scales much better than other cryptocurrencies aimed at anonymity, like Zec and XMR.
Private coins and regulation
Government surveillance of private coins has increased in recent years, as evidenced in part by IRS efforts against Monero technology. References to private coins also appeared in the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s proposed rules for autonomous cryptocurrencies in December 2020.
“Certain types of private coins (e.g., Monero, Zcash, Dash, Komodo, and Beam) are becoming increasingly popular and use various technologies that limit researchers’ ability to identify transactional activity using blockchain data,” the December anonymity document said.
In addition, anonymous assets were outlawed in South Korea in November 2020. Some cryptocurrency exchanges have delisted the above assets. In October 2019, OKEx Korea stopped trading Monero, Zcash, Super Bitcoin (SBTC), Dash, and Horizen (ZEN) on its platform. BitBay removed Monero in early 2020. Bittrex removed Zcash, Dash, and Monero from its exchange in January 2021. A number of other crypto platforms have also delisted privacy-enhancing assets in the past few years, including ShapeShift.