How to Buy Zcash – A Beginner’s Guide
By: Ofir Beigel | Last updated: 5/3/20
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.
How to Buy Zcash Summary
Here’s how to buy Zcash in 4 simple steps:
- Get a Zcash Wallet (Ledger, Coinomi)
- Locate your transparent Zcash address
- Find a Zcash Exchange (Cex.io)
- Buy and withdraw your coins
If CEX.io doesn’t work out for you, here are some additional options for buying Zcash:
That’s how to buy Zcash in a nutshell. 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?
- Frequently Asked Questions
ZCash is a project which is headed by Zooko Wilcox, that’s here to tackle one of bitcoin’s most urging issues – traceability.
Zcash is actually a fork of Bitcoin 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.
As you may or may not know, Bitcoin isn’t completely anonymous. 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.
Before buying Zcash you’ll need to first obtain a Zcash wallet to hold your coins. There are two main types of wallets – hardware wallets and software wallets.
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. There are two main companies to consider when it comes to hardware wallets.
Ledger – Ledger hardware wallets allow 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 – TREZOR’s 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 Software Wallets
Software wallets are free to download but are considered less secure than hardware wallets. Software wallets keep your private key on your device (desktop, mobile, tablet) which is always connected to the Internet and therefor is in greater risk of being hacked.
Exodus – A simple to use desktop only 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.
Jaxx – Also known as Jaxx Liberty. Jaxx is a mobile cryptocurrency 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.
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.
For additional options you can take a look at the complete list of Zcash supported wallets here.
Locate your Zcash Address
Once you have your wallet, it’s time to find your Zcash address. 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.
eToro is probably the easiest way to buy Zcash for investment purposes only. eToro allows you to invest in Zcash 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 or want to send the actual coins to someone else, I suggest avoiding this method. You can read my complete eToro review here.
CEX.io is one of the leading crypto exchanges around. It 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 my complete CEX review here.
Coinbase is a US based cryptocurrency exchange that supplies a variety of other services including a wallet, custodial services and more. You can buy Zcash on Coinbase through their brokerage service (simple but more expensive) or the Coinbase Pro trading platform (for advanced users).
Coinbase accepts users from 103 countries around the world and its payment methods include debit cards and domestic transfers such as ACH and SEPA. You can read my complete Coinbase review here.
Binance is the biggest crypto to crypto exchange out there and one of the industry leaders. If you’re looking to buy Zcash and already own a different cryptocurrency you can use Binanace to exchange between them. You can read my full Binance review here.
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. If you leave your coins on the exchange you risk losing them if the exchange gets hacked or goes insolvent. Make sure to send the coins to your own wallet (using the transparent address you retrieved in Step 1).
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.
What’s the Price of Zcash?
The price of 1 ZEC = 61 USD
How do I Start Mining Zcash?
- Install your GPUs and configure your PC
- Get a Zcash wallet address
- Download and install a Zcash mining program
- Join a mining pool
- Start mining!
For a detailed explanation of each step check out my Zcash mining guide.
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.