Posted by: Greg Miller
October 28, 2014
All the parts are available in the Armsrace Tag – Once published
It takes much more than a solid protocol to become a successful anonymous crypto-currency. Many of these schemes require large adoption of the coin, in order to work. Plus, merchant adoption, good press, and a solid developers are key elements. Here are the current top players in the space.
- Price Per Coin: $ 2.94 (At the time of writing this article)
- Market Capitalization: $ 13,817,985
- Volume: $ 99,134
- Available Supply: 4,696,337 DRK
- Mining: Proof of Work
Darkcoin in the past was a coin of a great suspect. It rocketed in adoption and market capitalization, but failed to really bring any anonymity to the coin. Worse of all, it was closed sourced, and smelled strongly of scam. Besides that, it abandoned its plans to implement ring signatures and instead focused on a mixing scheme. Mixing technology has proven to be insufficient in past. It is a coin that a lot of people use, and has the highest market capitalizations out of the all anonymity focused crypto-currencies.
Recently, it has open sourced its code, updated its mixing technology, and has been reviewed by respected security researchers. This has cleared any suspicions and cemented its lead in the anonymous crypto-currency space. It is one of the most widely used anonymity crypto-currencies, and is the most liquid as well. Though, its development has been slow, and has experiences many bumps in the road – it is the most solid and widely used anonymity focused coin out there.
- Price Per Coin: $ 4.40 (At the time of writing this article)
- Market Capitalization: $ 5,222,490
- Volume: $ 14,171
- Available Supply: 1,185,798 BTCD
- Mining: PoW/PoS
Out of all four, BitcoinDark has the most to prove. BitcoinDark markets itself, as you can plainly see, as the Darkcoin of Bitcoin. In the whitepaper, that they call Darkpaper, it describes faults with all current anonymous crypto-currency schemes. Saying Darkcoin’s mixing is insufficient, and CryptoNote’s ring signatures are too much of a burden on the blockchain. BitcoinDark’s solution is something that is still being tested, but is called,”Teleport”. Teleporting is a unique approach to crypto-currency anonymity. According to their “Darkpaper” is the act of sending funds off the blockchain through telepods. Telepods are packets of information containing everything needed to make a transaction. Allows the person who receives the telepod to be able to send funds from that address, but the funds stay in wallet of the person who sent the telepod. That way it there is no linkage between the two people.
Telepods are sent off the blockchain by massaging the telepod to the person you want to send the funds to. The whitepaper suggests you to immediately send the BitcoinDark if you do not trust the person who sent the telepod. Apparently there is no safeguard against the very possible reality that person who is sends the BitcoinDark removes the funds from there that account and send the funds to other another address. It gets really confusing, as the Darkpaper goes on to say, these telepods can be sent to person after person. Making it very hard to know who has it originally, and thus impossible to know whether that person is trustable or not. Also, the whitepaper says that with a VPN or Tor the first two people, the person who creates it and person who sends it, won’t know anything about each other, making it very unclear to me how you are suppose to know that the funds that you can send are really there. It is also unclear if the person who has the telepod has the private key, and move other funds in the wallet.
I have a lot of suspicion of BitcoinDark. The coin promises a lot, including anonymous debit cards, dividend ends for holders of BitcoinDark in BItcoin, but it hasn’t produce that much yet. It is also has a very high market capitalization, among altcoins. BitcoinDark might not be a scam, but it deserves a lot of suspicion until it proves otherwise.
- Price Per Coin: $ 1.22 (At the time of writing this article)
- Market Capitalization: $ 4,566,209
- Volume: $ 76,320
- Available Supply: 3,748,663 XMR
- Mining: POW
Monero works off the very strong anonymity of CryptoNote. If you are not familiar with the anonymity features of CryptoNote, it comes down two things – ring signatures, and sleath addresses. To learn more about these things, read part two of this series. Monero is a very strong in the department of anonymity, but ring signatures put a lot more stress on the blockchain, as they are about twice the size of a regular transaction. They also take longer than a regular transaction which hurts it ability to be used in daily commerce.
In terms of actual anonymity, it is one of the few coins out there with a stable and proven anonymity scheme, despite some limitations. It is working on I2P integration, which would help add to the anonymty of the coin. Monero, like a lot of anonymous focused altcoins, does not have very good website, or marketing. That is likely one of the reasons why Monero isn’t being adopted by more people. BitcoinDark might end up beating Monero in terms of anonymity, if Teleport is successful. Currently it does not have any anonymity features in place, but is far ahead of Monero by market cap. The reason being, they have much better marketing.
- Price Per Coin: $ 0.792956 (At the time of writing this article)
- Market Capitalization: $ 1,016,240
- Volume: $ 26,573
- Available Supply: 1,281,584 ANC
- Mining: POW
Anoncoin is the current underground favorite. It has a team of anonymous programmers, and economists. It is openly for the darknet markets, the elephant in the room for most anonyous coins. It has a small, but faithful fanbase. Tis currently last, among the 4 coins in market capitalization, but its volume is almost double of BitcoinDark’s. A very interesting and powerful sign that people are actually using this coin. There is good reasons why they are. The coin is highly developed. The devs get what they promise done, and that has lead to a rather robust coin. You can run Anoncoin through Tor or I2P, which masks your IP. Anoncoin is currently implementing their version of the ZeroCoin protocol. That is the now defunct decentralized mixer project that I described in greater detail in part two. Zerocoin has one of the highest levels of anonymity out there, but it fails to provide true anonymity because it needs a trusted third party to start the currency. That is a point of failure that is disastrous for software, but Anoncoin’s developers have found a work around and soon they are going to release their version of ZeroCoin, that doesn’t require a third party to set up.
The coins lacking market cap probably has very little to do with the technology behind the coin. It has a really good dev team who has a track history getting things done. Marketing for this coin is at poor, at best. It really is non-existent. Anoncoin has gotten very little press, and their blog is not regularly updated. Important, and basic info about the coin is harder to find, than it should be. Despite that, its devs are pretty active on reddit, and IRC, mustering a strong community. While it has a core group of users who truly believe in the coin, it is not too friendly to the mildly interested new user. A greater focusing on marketing can take this coin from position 30 on coinmarketcap.com’s list, to 20 or 15 easily because the technology and dev team is very solid.
The Arms Race
Who will win these arms race? That is left up to the market to decide, but what we seeing from this is a real market emerge for anonymous crypto-currency. This competition has resulted in many innovations in crypto-currency anonymity, and is bringing these ideas to life. These currencies are making a future of financial freedom, and privacy possible.