Privacy coin Zcash is becoming more mainstream every day, as crypto investors increasingly look to shield their payments. If you don’t believe us, check out this waterfront property for sale on the Greek island of Lemnos, with a listing price of 180,000€ payable in euro or cryptocurrencies, including ZEC. Another sign of mainstream adoption is digital wallet Abra, whose creators have suggested that they may be adding support for Zcash withdrawals, even sooner than ETH.
Heck, you can even direct donations to the Freedom of the Press Foundation in Zcash. Not to mention that Coinsave recently revealed its support for Zcash, giving Canadians the ability to purchase ZEC with the Canadian Dollar.
If you believe that privacy is also on the rise, especially in light of revelations of Facebook snooping, then Zcash, among other privacy coins, could take off like wildfire.
One meme on social media is making the case for privacy coins, whether or not that was the intention:
— mine Zcash ᙇ♥️ (@mineZcash) December 28, 2018
There’s no shortage of options for hodling or mining ZEC. But with all this focus on privacy and the zk-SNARKS technology, how do you know which one to choose? Not all wallets are created equal, especially when it comes to privacy coins.
For instance, as ZcashCommunity.com points out, Zcash addresses begin with either a Z or T for privacy and transparent addresses, respectively. There are also different transaction types including “transparent, shielding, deshielding and shielded,” the latter of which delivers the “most financial privacy” via encryption. Zcash’s recent Sapling upgrade bolstered shielded transactions so that they can now be integrated with mobile devices.
USB-powered hardware wallets Trezor and Ledger use the transparent version, but they win on security because users remain in control of their own private keys. Popular crypto exchange Coinbase, which supports ZEC, plans to explore the addition of shielded Zcash withdrawals.
But if it’s anonymity you’re after, you may want to consider something else, and security also differs. Let’s take a look at some of the leading wallets for ZEC storage:
Up-and-Coming Zcash Wallet
Zero-Knowledge Bank is an app designed for Zcash on the go, with smartphone browser and web versions. They made some waves on social media after asking users for their Zcash address and private keys. A warning on Twitter prompted a response by the ZKB team to accusations that the service might be a scam:
@mineZcash You’re right with an assumption that we have no history of service yet. We are at the beta testing stage of our Zero-Knowledge Bank client for Zcash at the moment. Your feedback and questions are very appreciated in our official Telegram group: https://t.co/Vd4L1nN3tz
— Zero-Knowledge Bank (@zkbankorg) December 29, 2018
The problem is that it’s unwise to trust anyone with your private key, let alone an app with no transactional history to glean from. The selling point is “forever free” and the absence of a know-your-customer requirements. Max Tarasenko, the Zero-Knowledge Bank administrator on Telegram, explained:
Zero-Knowledge Bank is the first application for making simple anonymous transactions with ZEC cryptocurrency without downloading a full Zcash node (20+GB).
Beta or not, trusting someone with your private keys is never a good idea.
We checked the site, and lo and behold, there is a field in the wallet for a private key. Although ZKB will soon publish its code, many users are waiting for it to be open-source.
Local Wallets Keep Your Privacy
While hardware wallets deliver security, they tend to sacrifice privacy. There is a way to achieve both, including the only official Zcash client, zcashd on Linux. There are also multiple third-party wallets, all of which “run the Zcash client and a full network node on your computer” and support shielded addresses.
These include WinZEC, zec-qt, ZECmate and Kozyilmaz for Mac users. WinZEC, which was previously known as Zcash4Win, was the “first port of the official Zcash client to Windows,” and its Sapling-ready version was recently released.
The Zcash Foundation, which is a separate entity from Zcash, recently announced its financial support for two independent wallets: the zec-qt wallet, which was created by Aditya Kulkarni, in addition to an iOS open-source reference wallet built by Justin Smith. The zec-qt wallet is missing signed commits and releases, which the developer plans to address next week.
Justin Smith (just what the community needs, another Justin) is also behind the open source X Wallet for rival privacy coin Monero, which has been on iOS for the past year. With the support of the Zcash Foundation behind them, these two wallets could wind up at the top of the heap alongside zcashd.
If shielded payments are not a deal breaker, there are a number of other transparent online wallets that also support Zcash, including Cryptonator, Bitgo, Jaxx, Exodus, Mobi and Guarda, to name a few.
The author is invested in digital assets, including Zcash, which is mentioned in this article.