Getting Started — Zcash (ZEC) is one of the most well-known privacy cryptocurrencies. It uses advanced cryptography to give users optional anonymity. Prior to Zcash, cryptocurrencies were mostly designed to be pseudonymous like Bitcoin (BTC), which meant data about the amount users exchanged, the addresses they sent funds to and the addresses they received funds from were always recorded on the blockchain for everyone to see. Therefore, while people tout cryptocurrencies as a way to protect their privacy, that’s not the case. Companies, governments, or nefarious actors can (and do) link data to the individuals making transactions. Zcash introduced shielded addresses in 2016, which encrypt the address and transaction details on the blockchain. Zcash allows users to choose how much anonymity they want, offering two types of addresses: transparent addresses (that appear on the blockchain) and shielded addresses (that don’t). Transactions can be sent between the two types of addresses, though that brings additional privacy concerns.