General Privacy Resources
For those are who investing in cryptos for privacy reasons, specific steps must be taken to maintain complete anonymity. Privacy-minded individuals should read The Art of Invisibility by Kevin Mitnick prior to creating any exchange account(s).
Additionally, privacy-minded folks should take a serious look at DeepOnion, Verge, Z Cash, & Monero.
This section aims to identify specific tools you can use if you are concerned about digital privacy. Curious why privacy is important? Check out THIS article explaining the specific data Facebook collects.
General Privacy Protection Tools
- Tor Onion Browser (download available HERE) (super private browser that can be used to access the dark web)
- HTTPS Everywhere (chrome extension available HERE) (this should be installed on EVERY computer you use)
- Keyboard Privacy (chrome extension available HERE) (varies the speed of keystrokes reported to various websites which decreases their ability to track you based on how fast you type)
- LeakTest (test for IPv6 leaks, DNS leaks, Torrent leaks, WebRTC leaks, GPS leaks, & Email leaks for free; this allows you to check if you are browsing the internet anonymously while using a VPN or Onion browser)
- Learn how to change your DNS to Google's Public Servers by clicking HERE (learn about DNS leaks HERE)
- OpenVPN (the BEST VPN client on the internet; I like using it paired with ProxySH)
Coins & Exchanges
Best Coins for Privacy
For those who'd like to protect their privacy, it's hard to imagine a better coin than DeepOnion. DeepOnion runs on the Tor network and is completely anonymous. The DeepOnion developers are always working on upgrading available features and ease of use and the community support for the project is fantastic.
Monero (XMR) has a variety of strong privacy features such as:
- Stealth addressing and unlinkability (making it impossible to tell who sent a transaction or if multiple transactions were sent by the same people)
- Confidential transaction amounts
- Untraceability (if someone knows about certain funds you have, it is impossible for them to tell if you've spent or sent those funds)
Monero is also working on new privacy features, including I2P (invisible internet protocol). I2P "will protect you from passive network monitoring, so that not only are your payments untraceable, but people snooping the network cannot tell you are even using Monero at all."
Z Cash (ZEC) "is a type of open-source and decentralized cryptocurrency that has incredibly strong protections for privacy." Blockonomi.com reports "Zcash uses peer-reviewed cryptography research and has been built by an engineering team specializing in security. It uses an open-source platform that was based on the Bitcoin Core codebase, which has been rigorously tested." You can read in depth about Z Cash's privacy features by reading their white paper HERE.
Z Cash has a variety of strong privacy features including:
- Zero knowledge proof construction (called "zk-SNARK") which "allow[s] the network to maintain a secure ledger of balances without disclosing the parties or amounts involved"
- User-controlled option to send transactions publicly or privately
Verge (XVG) is a coin backed by Bitcoin that's principal focus is on providing strong privacy features. Like many cryptocurrencies (but not all), Verge relies on it's decentralized community of developers for servicing the project and providing funding. To really get a good idea of how Verge works, you will need to look at their black paper (instead of a white paper).
Some of the privacy features Verge implements include:
- Stealth addressing
- Multi algorithm support (supports five different proof of work mining scripts)
- I2P integration (invisible internet protocol)
- Tor + SSL integration
- Encrypted P2P (peer-to-peer) chat features
Coins & Exchanges
Best Exchanges for Privacy
While blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are often sold as extremely private, the truth is that many blockchains expose important information to the public. For an overview of the privacy flaws affecting Bitcoin, check out this article entitled Bitcoin Transactions Aren't As Anonymous As Everyone Hoped (Aug. 23, 2017). This is important because if you give your personal info to an exchange to register, and then send a Bitcoin to that exchange, the Bitcoin can be linked directly to you. This means that if you exchange a Bitcoin for another cryptocurrency, the other cryptocurrency can also be linked to you through the magic of information reporting and blockchain technology.
Luckily, a few exchanges are extremely geared towards privacy and make it easier to avoid being linked to any specific transaction.
Some of the best exchanges for maintaining your privacy include:
- ShapeShift (no user info required)
- Bisq (decentralized, open source P2P (peer-to-peer) exchange that, like DeepOnion, uses the Tor network to ensure your anonymity)
- Local Bitcoin (for in-person trading)
- Paxful (buy Bitcoins anonymously; various payment methods accepted, including Amazon Gift Cards!)
For a more complete list of exchanges, click HERE to be redirected to our list.
While we do not suggest you use a Bitcoin Tumbler (it's considered money laundering and may present it's own privacy concerns in that the tumbler will have both your incoming and outgoing wallet addresses and in that you have no guarantee that the tumbler will give you back your deposited coins after tumbling), you can learn more about what they are HERE.
- Beginner’s Guide to Open Source Incident Response Tools and Resources (Feb. 21, 2017): https://www.alienvault.com/blogs/security-essentials/beginners-guide-to-open-source-incident-response-tools-and-resources (last accessed Jan. 14, 2018)
- 10 Steps to Maximize your Home Wireless Network Security [Updated] (Nov. 10, 2016): https://heimdalsecurity.com/blog/home-wireless-network-security/ (last accessed Jan. 14, 2018)
- How to Choose the Best VPN Service for Your Needs (Feb. 28, 2017): https://www.howtogeek.com/221929/how-to-choose-the-best-vpn-service-for-your-needs/ (last accessed Jan. 14, 2018)
- Security Risks in the Age of Smart Homes (June 20, 2016): http://scitechconnect.elsevier.com/security-risks-age-smart-homes/ (last accessed Jan. 14, 2018)
- 17 Steps to Being Completely Anonymous Online (Jan. 1, 2018): https://www.csoonline.com/article/2975193/data-protection/9-steps-completely-anonymous-online.html (last accessed Jan. 14, 2018)