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Bitcoin Might Lose Cloak of Anonymity to 2 New Upstarts

Bitcoin has risen to international prominence as an alternative to fiat currencies because it provides a degree of privacy not found in fiat currencies. You don’t need to reveal your name or any other details of your personal identity when you use Bitcoin for transactions. In fact, transaction details are converted into a string of letters and numbers designed to protect the identity of both buyers and sellers.

The anonymity cloak helps to keep Bitcoin decentralized and devoid of government control or interference. However, Bitcoin transactions are not completely anonymous because each transaction is recorded permanently in a public ledger. Now, Bitcoin users have to grapple with the reality that modern investigative and analytic techniques have started to make it possible to peel away the covers of anonymity in Bitcoin transactions.

Sadly, the fact that Bitcoin might not be as anonymous as previously imagined is already causing the emergence of new cryptocurrencies with better cloaks of anonymity. This article examines two of the latest Bitcoin wannabes.

Meet Zcash, offering confidential transactions

zcash-logoZcash is a new cryptocurrency launched last month as ” an open and programmable financial system” that has a special focus on privacy because “companies need privacy in order to conduct their business; and we believe that privacy strengthens social ties and social institutions, protects societies against their enemies, and helps societies to be more peaceful and more prosperous. ”

Zcash’s emphasis on privacy has made it an overnight success causing the value of a unit ZES to rise all the way to $5000 soon after the launch last Friday—it has since settled to about $500. Interestingly, the founders of Zcash admit that the cryptocurrency’s emphasis on privacy could make it a choice means of exchange for illegal activities in much the same way that Bitcoin was the defacto legal tender on Silk Road before it was shut down.

Nonetheless, the Zcash founders have generalized that

“bad guys will use anything. Bad guys use cars, bad guys use the Internet, bad guys use cash, bad guys use the current banking system. Our goal is not to invent something that bad guys can’t use, it is to invent something that can empower and uplift the billions of good people on this planet.”

Zcash Genesis Block

Meet Monero, offering untraceable transactions

monero-logoMonero is a cryptocurrency that claims to be “secure, private, untraceable currency. It is open-source and freely available to all.” The main selling point of Monero is that transaction details are kept private in sharp contrast to Bitcoin where transactions are stored in a public ledger.

Monero also goes to great lengths to ensure that transactions cannot be traced to any user by leveraging ring signatures, which are a group of cryptographic signatures with at least one real participant, thereby making it practically impossible to know the person who spent or receive funds.

Monero – How it works and Current Market Status

Final words…

However, both Zcash and Monero are still in their early days and it is somewhat hasty to pronounce any judgment on how they are likely to fare against Bitcoin. Bitcoin enjoys a first-mover advantage in the cryptocurrency market and it is not likely to cede marketshare over to newcomers overnight. More so, Bitcoin is time-tested and proven after withstanding series of mishaps that could have rendered it useless as a currency.

More importantly, Bitcoin has been able to find fair value against the U.S. dollar after it went through some impressive skyrocketing and crashes in its value. Hence, people are more likely to use Bitcoin for the stability it offers instead of going through the stages of acceptability with every new currency that debuts.

The Bitcoin Startup Sector is Coming Alive, Here’s How to Come on Board

Coins is a fledging Bitcoin startup with big dreams to power financial inclusion in Southeast Asia with Bitcoin. If you are deeply involved in the Bitcoin startup ecosystem, you might have heard about Coins – a Philippines-based Bitcoin startup that prides itself as “the easiest way to pay and get paid” in Bitcoin of course.

If you are not deeply involved in the Bitcoin startup scene you might never have heard about Coins unless you happen to be an avid Bitcoin user in southeast Asia. Now, Coin is moving out of the shadows to come into the limelight as it starts taking proactive measures to develop its Bitcoin mobile wallet. The more interesting fact is breaking news showing that Coins has raised $5 million in funding from a number of high-profile investors.

$5 million funding to reach the under-served with Bitcoin

Coins is on a mission – a commendable mission to provide the underserved people of Southeast Asian countries with financial solutions. Coins already boasts 500,000 app user signups since launching in 2014 and it has been working behind the scenes to promote financial inclusion. Coins’ CEO, Ron Hose says, “we’ve been quiet for a long time, but it’s not because we’re not running.”


Now, some global venture capitals have bought into Coin’s lofty ambitions and the startup raised $5 million in its Series A round. Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund led the Series A round – Accion is a fund with a targeted interest in supporting startups working on financial inclusion for underserved communities. Other funds that bought into Coins’ Series A round include Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, Pantera Capital, Digital Currency Group, and BeeNext.

Coins is also getting technical support from two major incubation labs as part of efforts to ensure that its product doesn’t die on the altar of execution. IdeaSpace Foundation and Kickstart Ventures have both committed to providing Coins with technical support.

The best part is that incubation labs are backed by major telecom services providers in the Philippines; hence, Coins can easily leverage the relationship to create Bitcoin mobile wallets domiciled on the phones of subscribers on their networks.

The Bitcoin startup scene is heating up

In all honesty, entrepreneurs who are setting up shop in the Bitcoin startup sector deserve medals for courage because they are swimming against the tide. To start with, most people do not yet understand Bitcoin and traditional financial institutions are pushing the propaganda of fear in order to stifle the growth of Bitcoin. Secondly, the regulatory environment for Bitcoin is still somewhat grey and no one can tell if regulatory policies will favor or hurt Bitcoin.

Nonetheless, the Bitcoin startup scene is heating up, not just in Southeast Asia but globally all the way from Silicon Valley to Sydney. A simple search for Bitcoin startups on reveals that there are 897 Bitcoin startups, 1,707 investors, and 126 jobs on the platform alone. You can then begin to imagine the number of players with a stake in the Bitcoin startup ecosystem globally.

If you want to get on board the Bitcoin startup train, you might want to consider setting up shop in remittance payments with Bitcoin. The remittance market is a $500B annual market and the fact that Bitcoin could emerge as a global currency makes it a strategic option for remittances. You might also want to consider setting up shop in the micro-transactions market. The fact that Bitcoin transactions attract almost zero-transaction costs makes Bitcoin a strategic alternative for Micro-transactions.