Anonymity was what originally made Bitcoin famous as a digital currency. Born out of the 2008 financial crisis, the idea of a currency which couldn’t be tracked (or outright confiscated) by banks and governments caught on fast.
Sadly, the true anonymity benefits of Bitcoin have since been undermined significantly. The good news, however, is that anonymous forms of cryptocurrency now exist, which are far superior to Bitcoin in terms of speed, affordability, and price stability.
Monero - The Cryptocurrency Designed for Anonymity
The top spot for the most anonymous cryptocurrency in 2018, belongs indisputably to Monero.
Using what in cryptocurrency development circles are known as ‘cryptographic ring signatures,’ Monero adds complete stealth and 'unlinkability' to XMR transactions. This means that even if authorities are aware of a Monero wallet address, no one can independently verify a wallet balance, nor see whom funds are sent and received between.
Dash Coin - The Anonymous & Censorship Resistant Cryptocurrency
While not designed completely in mind of user anonymity, Dash Coin is hailed by many as the world’s most easy to use privacy themed cryptocurrency.
Using a Dash feature called ‘PrivateSend’ Dash users can ‘mix’ tokens as these are transacted. This means that when Dash is sent between addresses, coins themselves are mixed with coins transacted by other Dash users. As a result, coins sent via the Dash PrivateSend feature can’t ever be traced back to their true point of origin.
NAV - The Privacy Coin with a Robust Development History
At present, cryptocurrency coins like Verge, DeepOnion, and PIVX, have a growing anonymity conscious user base. Sadly, almost all such coins are relatively new to the cryptocurrency market. Either this or coins themselves are the result of unofficial forks from top market cap digital currency tokens.
Thankfully, NAV is neither new nor a clone of any other coin on the market. Instead, NAV has been in continuous development since 2014. Much more importantly, NAV brings a new way of making transactions anonymous to the table. Specifically, by virtue of NAV's ability to mix sent and received coins on a dedicated privacy-centric sidechain.
Zcash - Easy to use but not 100% Anonymous
Like NAV, Zcash benefits from a robust development history coupled with ongoing innovation. Much more importantly, Zcash allows users to preserve their anonymity online, by allowing users to encrypt sending and receiving Zcash addresses. It should be noted, however, that in-depth blockchain analysis can still be used to discover key details such as user IP addresses and transaction history data.
Bitcoin - Still Anonymous When Used Via Bitcoin Mixers
As we mentioned at the start of this article, Bitcoin isn’t the anonymity vanguard it used to be back in 2009. In reality, however, this is only due to the fact that users need to buy Bitcoin from dedicated exchanges which demand that users hand over key personal information.
Thankfully, Bitcoin can still be used to facilitate fully anonymous transactions. All users in need of anonymity need to do a few extra privacy safeguards.
- Using TOR and/or privacy designed PC operating systems, users should create new Electrum (or similar) wallets
- Bitcoin users in need of anonymous coins should then send coins from regular wallets to Bitcoin mixer
- When users enter their TOR created Electrum wallet into mixers as a receiving address, they will then receive new ‘clean’ Bitcoin to that which they originally deposited
Of course, with privacy coins like Monero on the market, many may not see the benefit of mixing Bitcoin. In reality, however, Bitcoin is still the most widely used form of digital currency. This makes Bitcoin easier to transact with, more secure as a store of wealth, and easier to use to send large sums of money between users.