As a private cryptocurrency, Zcash uses cutting-edge and complex cryptographic algorithms along with a broadly distributed computer interface to encode transactions so that no third party can trace the details of the sender, the receiver or the amount of the transaction.
In contrast to other cryptocurrencies, Zcash makes use of a unique feature to publish transactions on the blockchain network by utilizing 2 different kinds of addresses:
1. Transparent Addresses (also known as T Addresses) operate in a somewhat similar fashion to that of the Bitcoin blockchain. The transaction data may be viewed by anyone and everyone on the public blockchain.
2. Shielded Addresses (also known as Z Addresses) is the typical Zcash feature that is missing in Bitcoin and other altcoins. As a user, you can privately receive or send Zcash without the transaction details being available to the third parties. Only the sender and the receiver will have access to these details.
Before you start Zcash mining or trading, it is important to have a Zcash wallet where you can store your earnings. Different kinds of wallets are available for users and one can simply download them to hold Zcash tokens. Some classic examples are:
1. Internet Wallets: Internet wallets are the easiest and fastest way to accept Zcash payments. Quite a few websites as listed below have their own applications which may be downloaded on your smartphone so as to better manage Zcash earnings. Do not forget to use a strong password and permit the 2-factor authentication as and when required. Here are a few web-based wallets/applications that operate on Zcash T Addresses:
2. Hardware Wallets: These offer one of the safest ways to save your Zcash and other altcoin earnings. As for now, the major drawback is that these wallets are a little costly and only support Zcash T Addresses. The price ranges from $79 to $199. It is a physical device that you will have to purchase- one that has quite a few protection layers to counter theft. It also provides you with emergency steps to recover your Zcash savings in case your device is lost. The two famous hardware wallets are Trezor and Ledger.
3. Local Wallets: Local wallets run the Zcash platform and a full network node on your workstation or PC. These wallets are technically difficult to set up and use. In order to use Zcash Private Addresses, you must download Zcash for Linux or Zcash for Windows. The first one is for the approved Zcash client. The Windows release has the most updated Mac version.
4. Exchange Wallets: These wallets are quite easy to set up. All that you need to do is create an account on an exchange platform that supports Zcash. Once you have created an account, you can simply generate an address, so as to send/spend/trade Zcash. Currently, no exchange supports Zcash Private Addresses.
It is important to note that by using a wallet (on your computer, mobile app, or an exchange), you are running your own bank. By any chance, if you misplace/lose/forget your wallet password, or someone hacks your wallet, then your Zcash tokens will be lost forever. One needs to be extremely careful when dealing with these wallets. It is advisable that you conduct regular backups and use strong passwords to secure your wallet.
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