Before we get into the details of Dash and Zcash, let's take some time out to understand the concept of privacy and anonymity in the world of Blockchain technology. All cryptocurrencies that operate on a Blockchain network allow users to work with a nondescript identity, mostly as aliases. But, what we need to understand is that privacy and anonymity/pseudonymity are two different things altogether. The Bitcoin Blockchain is public and traceable like many other cryptocurrency networks that are similarly based on Bitcoin's core open-source structure. One can link addresses or trace transaction amounts on this network.
In total contrast to public coins which are not aimed at maintaining the privacy of its users, private coins use certain features to avert the risk of traceability and identity disintegration. All cryptocurrencies are shared resources since they hold open ledgers. But, with private coins, the difference lies in the transaction details being protected at different levels so as to cover the identity of its end users.
As the anonymous race to the finishing line continues, different altcoins have come up with variable features to close all the loopholes that Bitcoin inherently possesses. The starring role of private, zero-knowledge dealings comes into focus here.
ZCash as a virtual currency has drawn a lot of attention lately. Founded by Zooko Wilcox in January, 2016, it is a decentralized currency that operates on an open-source network and aims at setting a new standard for privacy. Its unique zk-SNARK algorithm (developed exclusively by the Zcash developers) leaves no room for traceability (this is done by erasing the memory, or rather, the transaction history) and puts a full stop to the possibility of double-spending. The operational metadata of the network is secured with end-to-end encryption. ZCash's fungibility (the specific feature that allows coins to interchange positions) confuses the hackers and makes it harder for them to track the ongoing transactions. One major difference that sets Zcash apart from other altcoins is that you can touch base with the creators. Despite all these merits, ZCash remains an open-sourced platform which makes it vulnerable to cyber threats. Also, its users are restricted in numbers and it is not widely accepted or mined.
An open-sourced digital money that was released in the year 2014, Dash or Darkcoin (as it was formerly known) makes use of the PrivateSend feature to anonymize all transactions by the process of mixing coins. Dash makes use of Masternodes to deal with this coin mixing service. Mixing of coins is more of a third-party venture which may sometimes be applied in the operations of public cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, so as to add a certain level of privacy. But with Dash, coin mixing is a default feature. Masternodes have been of assistance to the Dash community and helped form a voting scheme that is encoded within the network. This network, in turn, receives transactions simply by mingling equal inputs from different operators into one solo transaction with numerous outputs. Dash’s network works on a privacy tool Called InstantSend through which transactions happen faster even when there’s a huge rush in traffic. Dash has established itself as one of the top 5 cryptocurrencies in the world in terms of value and mass popularity.
One of the major criticisms (mainly from a privacy viewpoint) that attempts to spoil the popularity of Dash is, it is dependent on third-party mixers (the masternodes) rather than advanced cryptography. Also, its former association with Darkweb (the ‘grey area’ of the Internet used by criminals) gives it a shady character.
If any of the altcoins have the potential to go mainstream like Bitcoin, it is Dash. Dash, unlike Zcash, is acknowledged and accepted by some genuine traders. You can also opt for Dash’s Visa Card or download the Shakepay app (for android) or the TenX app (a Singapore-based e-wallet) to convert Dash in Dollars or Euros or any other Fiat currency of your choice.
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