Privacy. It is every human’s inalienable right and yet it has become commoditized currency traded on the Internet. Reclaiming it is no easy task. And world turns to corner to almost accept a total loss of digital privacy, society is facing what feels like an insurmountable amount of data breaches. In 2019, reported data breaches rose 17% from the previous year, to over 1,470 cases. A data breach costs an average U.S.-based company nearly $8.2 million, according to a recent IBM security report. And this security breach epidemic is global.
There is hope that we will be able to both reclaim our privacy and secure our information better than we ever have before. Many believe that hope was born on January 9th, 2019, with initial release of Bitcoin. Today, the field of blockchain technology enables data encryption measures on a scale that the global society has never experienced before. In fact, blockchain technology includes the words immutable, cryptic, and decentralized in most definitions. Even as the most popular blockchains are open, transparent, and public, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, the privacy-focused blockchains and cryptocurrencies continue to capture the headlines and attention of consumers, businesses, and regulators alike. With privacy more sought after than ever, privacy coins have become paramount to protecting identity and transactional data, showcasing one of the best use cases for cryptocurrency.
Here are the 3 most promising privacy coins to watch in 2020
Launched in the Spring of 2014 originally by the name of the BitMonero project, Monero is considered to be perhaps as the most well-known privacy coin in cryptocurrency today. Monero uses an obfuscated public ledger and several anonymity features to provide its users complete privacy control over their identity and transactions.
The cryptocurrency uses a combination of stealth addresses and Ring Signatures to ensure past transactions cannot be linked to a single address while making transactions virtually untraceable. A key part of Monero’s formidable bid to become a widely used privacy coin is Kovri. Kovri is a software used by Monero that allows Monero uses to hide both their IP address and location.
Thanks to its focus on anonymity and privacy, Monero has become widely used by on the darknet and has received its fair share of scrutiny from regulators. In addition, developers of the cryptocurrency disclosed nine security vulnerabilities last summer, including vulnerabilities that may have been used to try and steal money from crypto exchanges. And just this past Fall, Monero’s website was compromised with malware installed by hackers. These past security issues have been dealt with since, pushing Monero to take renewed privacy measures of their own. Excitement has sprung this year as the Monero Research Lab has proposed trustless, logarithmic-size ring signatures that can improve the coin’s privacy without any performance issues.
With a market cap of just over $1.4 billion at time of writing, Monero is the 14th largest cryptocurrency by market cap. Monero is set to have a lot of ongoing progress to increase its anonymity and is vying to be the spotlighted as a shining force for privacy protection in 2020.
Founded in early 2017, QURAS is touted as a next generation, ‘Privacy 2.0’ blockchain that enabled anonymous, private transactions in public smart contracts. Unique to QURAS, the protocol uses a mix of leading privacy technologies, Zero-Knowledge Proof and Ring Signature, to offer the highest level of privacy protection to its users. With its mainnet slated to launch by this April and a recent major partnership inked that expands its community into Africa, QURAS is aiming to be a catalyst for mainstream and enterprise adoption in 2020.
Unlike Monero and many other privacy coins, QURAS has its own blockchain protocol which gives the project greater development leverage than most. And by combining smart contracts and privacy features, QURAS operates at an untapped intersection of the greater blockchain space that gives it vast potential. The privacy coin gives users and enterprises options in choosing the suitable privacy level for any type of transaction, freely choosing transparent, partially-private, or completely anonymous transactions. Anonymous transactions allow only the involved parties to view the transaction while the smart contract resides on the public QURAS blockchain. By utilizing a ‘best of public and private worlds’ blockchain, QURAS gives enterprises the opportunity to use blockchain for efficiency gains, value creation, and incentivized responsibility while protecting confidential information.
What is also unique to QURAS is the self-sustaining ecosystem it has created where project owners receive between 20% to 40% of all their smart contract transaction fees. In addition, QURAS recently announced that its native token, XQC, will be accepted as a form of payment in over 100 stores across Japan once its mainnet goes live this Spring. Upon mainnet launch, XQC will become the most accepted alternative cryptocurrency in the country, second only to Bitcoin as an accepted form of crypto payment. With a keen focus on the Asian market initially, QURAS has vowed to be mindful of regulatory compliance as it seeks the support of regulators in its expansion efforts.
On the near-term horizon, QURAS has plans to integrate Non-Fungible Tokens, begin transaction staking and test launch a decentralized file storage feature while also starting development for faster encryption. Today, QURAS is listed on three crypto exchanges, the largest being Bithumb Global, with said plan for many more listings to follow the mainnet launch. Keep your eye on QURAS this year.
Originally forked from DASH in February of 2016 and originally called Darknet, PIVX is an open-source, decentralized cryptocurrency that focuses on privacy, security, anonymity, and instant transactions. PIVX is the first proof of stake privacy coin to implement the Zerocoin protocol, giving the cryptocurrency and edge in privacy over other proof of stake cryptocurrencies.
By utilizing the Zerocoin protocol, PIVX users enjoy a slew of benefits, including the ability to hide your coin balance, stealth source and receiver addresses, a 2.5 second transaction speed, and untraceable transaction history. The privacy coin has caught the attention of the greater crypto community that is keenly focused on the protection of privacy and personal freedoms, helping the PIVX surge over 50,000% since rebranding in the beginning of 2017. Although news last summer has cited PIVC and other PoS coins being vulnerable to a major staking bug, PIVX was quick to deny the vulnerability allegations and issue a reply citing that neither PVIX or its clients fund are at at any risk.
PIVX distinguishes itself in many ways beyond its protocol. For one, the privacy coin is self-funded and self-governed that has no finite coin supply and no pre-mining. Additionally, the privacy coin gives its users multiple reward opportunities by allowing staking of their holdings in a masternode or a staking wallet, a unique option that PIVX has been commended for. And as a past fork of DASH, the privacy coin has all the features that DASH currently.
Earlier this year, PIVX released what was touted as ‘the most advanced QT core wallet in the cryptoverse.” The project continues to make great strides as it set to release a detailed roadmap for the rest of 2020 as well as 2021 soon. Stay tuned in on PIVX.