Darknet Cryptocurrency Showdown – An Unbiased Comparison of Zcash vs Monero

To compare these two privacy-focused cryptocurrencies we talked to Konstantin Gladych, CEO at Changelly.

Zcash is a new privacy-focused cryptocurrency that is getting a lot of positive feedback and coverage recently despite just being launched. Monero is believed to be one of the most in-demand untraceable CryptoNote cryptocurrencies. Providing anonymity and unlinkable encrypted transactions, Monero became one of the kind in Darknet, and its rates skyrocketed thrice as high on trading platforms.

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Changelly is a crypto exchange with two years on the market. It offers instant transactions without amount restrictions, supports 25 cryptocurrencies and has over 100 thousand active users from around the world, making more than 1000 transactions daily. Changelly also offers an instant exchange API and widgets for digital wallets, ICO platforms and merchants. The company has recently partnered with CoinMarketCap, DECENT, official NEM/XEM nanowallet, Freewallet, Navcoin and other services.

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To compare Zcash and Monero and offer a clear vision of their main features and differences, we talked to Konstantin Gladych, CEO of Changelly which supports both cryptocurrencies:


Anonymity is the main feature both Zcash and Monero are about. Can it be different? The confidentiality of Monero is achieved due to so called one-time ring signatures. It’s the basis of the original CryptoNote protocol implemented in the crypto. The protocol hides a sender, recipient and transaction history.

The Monero team keeps testing new technologies for even better privacy protection. The upcoming Ring Confidential Transactions (Ring CT) system will allow users to hide the amounts of XMR they send. Thus with the next hardfork Monero is going to be totally private and untraceable.

Zcash does pretty much the same as Monero. But why is this crypto so appealing for many users who want to protect their data from third parties? Is Zcash better than Monero, after all? To answer this question, let’s take a closer look at its principle of work. Zcash uses a different zero-knowledge proof construction, called a zk-SNARK that hides transactions with all payment metadata and protects users from robbery or cheating.

Unlike CryptoNote, the proven stealth algorithm, zk-SNARKs aren’t used anywhere. In addition, Zcash requires special key data for a ‘Trusted Setup’. In other words, it’s the proof of guaranteed secure transactions made in order to eliminate the possible fact of fraud in the global blockchain. Monero doesn’t need this ceremony which takes time and efforts on a user’s part.

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Konstantin Gladych, CEO, Changelly
Konstantin Gladych, CEO, Changelly

One of the main differences between Monero and Zcash is that Monero currently mixes one transaction data with others, whereas Zcash hides them completely. However, this issue is to be solved when Monero’s Ring CT is released in 2017.

Despite new technologies implemented in Zcash, the new yet lacks the strong technical realization of true anonymity. However both of currencies have their unbeatable advantages – Monero is the market-proven cryptocurrency with reliable mechanisms of work. As for Zcash, it has a great team of developers behind and technical innovations which are about to be enhanced.

Another feature of Zcash is that it can function as the Bitcoin fork and support regular, traceable transactions, which is crucial for large trade platforms and wallets.

GUI wallets

Although Monero was released several years ago, it still hasn’t a GUI wallet which you can download to your computer. However, there is a plenty of online Monero wallets including ones for smartphones.

Zcash appeared to be more prompt at this point. Its GUI wallet is available on GitHub.


As a rule, the mining process requires powerful machines since the power is directly related to the mined amount. Both Zcash and Monero have different mining algorithms.

Monero has CryptoNight, a proof-of-work algorithm designed for CPU mining without special devices like ASICs.

Zcash, in turn, uses Equihash, another PoW algorithm that consumes massive amounts of GPU memory making the mining process virtually unavailable on average desktop computers. Currently Equihash hasn’t been optimised for mining. The Zcash team keeps working on this.

Bottom line

What’s the best? This is up to the investors to decide. Monero is a time proven and reliable crypto beloved by the Darknet. Zcash is a brand new digital currency with unique algorithms providing both public and private transactions.

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