Private: Monero uses a cryptographically sound system that allows
you to send and receive funds without your transactions being publicly visible on the blockchain
(the distributed ledger of transactions). This ensures that your purchases, receipts, and other transfers remain private by default.
The sender, receiver, and amount of the transaction are all private.
Some coins have a "Rich List" which allows anyone to see which account has the most coins. Since Monero is private, a Monero Rich List can't exist.
|Untraceable: By taking advantage of ring signatures (a special property of certain types of cryptography), Monero enables untraceable transactions. This means it's ambiguous which funds have been spent, and thus extremely unlikely that a transaction could be linked to particular user.|
|Secure: Using the power of a distributed peer-to-peer consensus network, every transaction is cryptographically secured. Individual accounts have a 25-word mnemonic seed displayed when created, which can be written down to back up the account. A password is mandatory when creating a wallet, and account files are encrypted with a passphrase to ensure they are worthless if stolen.|
|Fungible: All coins are equal and have the same value. A user, vendor, or any other entity can't block or blacklist certain Monero coins since the transaction history of Monero coins is ambiguous.|
|Decentralized: All Monero nodes are equal. There is no superclass of nodes which have more influence or control over transactions than other nodes. No person or entity can trace transactions by owning multiple nodes. Additionally, there is no trusted setup. This means that the need to trust a person or entity is not a factor. The only things that need to be trusted are the source code (which can be verified by anyone) and math.|
Monero has been 100% open source from its inception, meaning anyone can view the software's source code to verify that no backdoors exist and that the software is secure. Monero also has peer-reviewed research papers which mathematically and systematically verify all of its properties listed above.
|Private: DASH has a
so this is not a private coin.
The financial details of coin addresses are visible to anyone examining the blockchain.
“ Dash isn't cryptographically private at all...it's snakeoil and I'm just sort of beside myself about it, personally. ”
|Untraceable: Transactions are routed through a series of "masternodes" to make them untraceable. This practice could work if all masternode operators had only pure motives. However, if a government, group of hackers, other entity, or even an individual bought many masternodes (there would be no way to know if this occured), and if the transaction passed through a route where all of the masternodes were owned by that entity, then the transaction could be traced by that entity. Given the relatively low cost of masternodes and the enormous budget of governments and some organizations, the possibility that coins can be traced is real.|
|Secure:Transactions are cryptographically secure.|
|Fungible: Since transactions are not private, the potential exists for an entity to block or blacklist certain coins, making them less valuable than the others. See the note on the lack of Bitcoin fungibility below since the same principle applies to DASH.|
|Decentralized: Not all DASH nodes are equal. There is a superclass of nodes, called "masternodes" whose owners have more influence over the system than regular node operators. This makes DASH semi-centralized instead of the ideal 100% decentralized system.|
|Private: Zcash transactions are visible on their blockchain. They do enable hidden transations,
but less than 10% of transactions are hidden,
in part due the long period of time and computational effort needed by the user's computer to produce a hidden transaction.
Since hidden transactions are optional and not default (and rarely used), the
hidden transactions stand out on their blockchain,
drawing attention to themselves.
“ And by the way, I think we can successfully make Zcash too traceable for criminals like WannaCry, but still completely private & fungible. ”
- Zooko Wilcox, Zcash CEO, in a tweet
If Zcash can be "too traceable," then it can't be completely private or fungible.
|?||Untraceable: Regular transactions are transparent. Hidden transactions use the zk-SNARKS algorithm which is fairly new, and therefore it hasn't had rigorous academic testing. If the lead developer says that Zcash can be "too traceable," then Zcash can't be untraceable.|
|Secure:Transactions are cryptographically secure.|
|Fungible: Since all transactions are not private, the potential exists for an entity to block or blacklist certain coins, making them less valuable than the others. See the note on the lack of Bitcoin fungibility below since the same principle applies to Zcash.|
|Decentralized: Zcash is a company and currently it
takes 20% of all ZEC mined as a founder's reward.
“ Zcash is not unconditionally sound, can't be with current tech...requires a trusted setup...will need to redo the procedure [Trusted Setup] to upgrade the crypto over time so it's a vulnerability. ”
- Gregory Maxwell, Bitcoin Core developer and cryptographer, in a presentation to Coinbase (Youtube, time 29:30)
|?||Private: All Bitcoin transactions are visible on the blockchain, and there is a Bitcoin Rich List, so Bitcoin is not private. Bitcoin is pseudononymous, not anonymous. For Bitcoin mixers, you have to trust that they can keep their data safe and are not owned by or cooperating with a government, hackers, or other entities.|
|Untraceable: Since all Bitcoin transactions are visible on the blockchain, ALL Bitcoin transactions can be traced. A Bitcoin mixer can highly obfuscate transactions, making it much more difficult for someone to trace the Bitcoins, but not impossible. As technology progresses and companies which specialize in tracing Bitcoin transactions become more prevalent, once highly-obfuscated transactions will become relatively easily traceable:|
|?||Secure: Bitcoin transactions are cryptographically secure, but you have to trust the mixing service.|
|Fungible: Not all Bitcoins are equal and have the same value.
Some Bitcoins have been blacklisted and blocked by several entities, making those coins less valuable than the rest.
If you receive Bitcoins that were used in the past for illegal purposes, then your Bitcoins could be blacklisted even
though you had nothing to do with the illegal activity. Or, say a government, employer, or some other entity decides to
blacklist your Bitcoins in the future, much like they do with asset freezing or confiscation.
There would be nothing you could do. Since a mixer only makes it more difficult to trace
your Bitcoins, this category has been marked as "not fungible."
|Decentralized: Bitcoin itself is decentralized, but mixing services are centralized. This means you need to trust them.|
In our opinion, Monero is the clear choice if you're looking for a private, secure, untraceable, fungible, decentralized cryptocurrency with no trusted setup required. Anything else puts your privacy and security at risk. But don't just take our opinion. Do your own research and see for yourself. Consider that Monero is endorsed and used by entities which depend on privacy and untraceability, such as:
For more information about Monero: