Zcash (ZEC) and Monero (XMR) are some of the key players in the privacy space within the cryptocurrency industry. Both platforms offer privacy coins that allow users to transact while maintaining certain elements of the transaction such as the sender, recipient and transaction amount private. While Monero uses ring signatures, ring confidential transactions and stealth addresses, Zcash utilizes shielded transactions to reach zero-knowledge proofs for transaction verification. Unlike Monero which obfuscates certain information by default, the Zcash platform also allows for selective disclosure, which gives users the option to provide selective information for purposes of audit and compliance.
In addition, Zcash provides for transparent transactions enabling for integration with wallets that have no support for private transactions. The additional support for transparent transactions offered by Zcash give it more functionality and improves access compared to Monero.
As of today (October 5, 2018), Monero (XMR) coins traded at USD 113.9 with a market capitalization of USD 1.875 billion ranking it 10th. Zcash (ZEC) on the other hand has a market capitalization of USD 637 million, about 1/3 of Monero. The ZEC coin traded at a price of USD 128.9 ranking it 21st among cryptocurrencies. Zcash has however continued to outperform Monero in terms of trade volume where XMR has consistently registered 24 hour trades below USD 50 million against ZEC’s USD 100 million plus for the better part of 2018. Higher trade volumes reflect more activity within the Zcash coin compared to Monero. Compared to their price on September 19th when the market generally saw a surge, ZEC has gained about 18% while Monero has only registered a 1.6% gain. In the last 24 hours, ZEC has gained 4.56% while XMR has shed 0.36%.
The ring signature technology used by Monero has received praise for privacy levels it offers. When a transaction is initiated, a group of cryptographic signatures appear with at least one being valid. This makes it impossible to identify and trace the legitimate transaction making it completely private. This has however brought concerns over the platform’s use with some linking it to criminal operations around the globe.
The potential for cryptocurrency to facilitate criminal operations has been one of the major issues for government and regulatory bodies. It also creates a dark cloud over the coin that is likely to affect its attractiveness and adoption among the public. Zcash on the other hand attempts to provide a solution to this problem by providing for transparent transactions in addition to the shielded transactions.
Zcash (ZEC) is expected to release a Sapling upgrade towards the end of October, a development that is expected to be the most innovative and exciting advancement in blockchain privacy technology. Sapling will speed up the process of shielding transactions, the zk-SNARKS or generation of proofs which result from Zcash privacy tools. The feature will extend to forks of Zcash preventing counterfeiting that would result in the process of setting new public parameters for the forked chains. This has been described as the most important upgrade for Zcash and the cryptocurrency privacy space in general.
The basic technology and features of the Zcash platform offer more options for users balancing privacy and transparency in transactions. At the same time, the platform continues to transform the space with upgrades and superior features. The market’s appreciation of the platform can be seen in its trade volumes and price gains in the recent past where it has outperformed Monero. With continued effort, Zcash (ZEC) is on track to catch up or even surpass Monero (XMR).