How to Buy Zcash – A Beginner’s Guide
Last updated: 1/30/19
As the need for anonymity increases online, people are looking for solutions other than Bitcoin (which is far from anonymous). Zcash (ZEC) is one such solution, globally known as privacy coins. In the following post I’ll explain what Zcash is in a nutshell and how you can buy it online.
Here’s how to buy Zcash in 4 simple steps:
Step 2 – Get your Zcash address
Step 4 – Buy and withdraw your coins
If you want a more detailed review about Zcash and the different buying options online keep on reading. Here’s what I’ll cover:
- What is Zcash?
- How to buy Zcash?
To address this issue, Zcash has one major feature added on top of bitcoin, which is completely private transactions.
This means that both the recipient and the amount sent are being kept a secret, unknown to anyone but the sender and the recipient.
Now you’re probably thinking: If the amounts are being kept a secret, how do I know there aren’t new coins being generated and inflating the amount of existing coins?
The answer is called Zero-Knowledge proofs, or zk-SNARK.
zk-SNARK is a way of proving that you have knowledge of something without giving out any information about the thing itself. While it’s far too technical to get into in the scope of this post I’ll just say It’s used in ZCash to prove the transaction is valid and does not create new coins, without giving out information about the amounts and the recipients.
For a deeper explanation about Zcash and privacy coins in general, watch this video:
Zcash is actually a fork of the Bitcoin coin with added anonymity. Some research suggests that the anonymity of ZCash is fundamentally stronger then the ones provided by other privacy-focused networks such as Dash or Monero.
Before buying Zcash you’ll need to first obtain a Zcash wallet to hold your coins. Wallets come in both desktop and mobile forms.
Desktop, Mobile, Web
Zcash Hardware wallets
Hardware wallets are probably the safest way you can store your Zcash since the private key to your coins is kept offline on the device itself.
Ledger – The Ledger hardware wallet allows you to store, send and receive Zcash through the Ledger Live app. The app can be used through your desktop and mobile device. There are currently two ledger models – The Nano S and the Nano X (the latter provides bluetooth capabilities for use with your mobile phone). You can read my Ledger review here.
TREZOR – The two main models TREZOR One and TREZOR Model T allow you to store, send and receive Zcash easily and securely. The main difference between the models is that the Model T has a touch screen for easier usability and also better privacy. You can read my TREZOR review here.
Zcash mobile wallets
Coinomi – A mobile altcoin wallet available for both iOS and Android, which allows you to hold Zcash. After you’ve downloaded the app, hit “Create a new wallet”. Write down the passphrase and go through the process of typing it back into the app to make sure you backed it up correctly. You can read my Coinomi review here.
Jaxx – Also known as Jaxx Liberty. Jaxx is a mobile altcoin wallet that also has a desktop version which can be paired. The wallet supports Zcash and a variety of other altcoins. You can read my Jaxx review here.
Zcash Desktop wallets
Exodus – A simple to use desktop wallet that allows you to store Zcash as well as a variety of other cryptocurrencies. This wallet is extremely recommended for new users as it’s very simple to install and operate. You can read my Exodus review here.
ZEC-QT wallet – Available for mac and windows this wallet is a full node, meaning you’ll need to download the complete Zcash blockchain to your computer. Once you install it, you can use the wallet right away but you won’t be able to see transactions before you let it sync for a night or so, depending on your internet connection.
If you still want to check out additional options you can take a look at the complete list of Zcash supported wallets here.
eToro – If you’re looking into Zcash just for investment purposes, the easiest way to do this would be eToro. eToro allows you to invest in Zcash relatively in a simple manner with very low fees. What’s the catch? You can’t actually access your coins, you can only exchange them back to fiat currency.
This method is probably best suited for speculators who are looking to turn a profit from investing in the coin. If, however, you’re looking into Zcash for its anonymity a suggest avoiding this method.
CEX.io – One of the leading crypto exchanges, CEX offers the ability to buy Zcash (ZEC) through its brokerage service as well as its trading platform. Payment methods include a credit card which make it one of the easiest buying processes available (although a bit more expensive than using a wire transfer). You can read our complete review of it here.
Kraken – One of the oldest exchanges around. Kraken allows you to purchase ZEC directly with fiat currency. The platform has been known to be a bit buggy with extensive downtime and is also more suitable for more experience traders as it is not very intuitive. You can read my full Kraken review here.
Binance – If you’re looking to buy Zcash and already own a different altcoin you can use Binanace to exchange between them. Binance is the biggest crypto to crypto exchange out there and one of the industry leaders. You can read my full Binance review here.
If you’re still looking for more buying options you can view the complete Zcash supported exchanges here.
Once you’ve bought your coins it’s time to withdraw them to your wallet. Zcash has two address formats:
Transparent addresses – Similar to Bitcoin, where everything is visible on the blockchain. These addresses start with a “t”.
Private address – for sending funds privately in an anonymous way. These addresses start with a “z”.
For funds sent from an exchange you’ll need to use the “t” addresses. You can track your transparent address in any block explorer that’s tracking the Zcash Blockchain, such as ZCha.in by simply pasting your address into the search bar.
As people (and governments) start realizing that Bitcoin doesn’t supply true anonymity, the popularity of privacy coins will continue to rise. Zcash is currently one of the top 3 contenders in this category (the other two being Monero and Dash).
Keep in mind that if you want true anonymity you should start the process even before buying your coins. You can get a good understanding of how to remain anonymous on the web from my guide on how to buy cryptocurrencies anonymously.
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