Zerolink, a bitcoin-based privacy solution, has announced plans for a large-scale anonymity test. To ensure the pilot’s success, the platform’s creator is seeking volunteers to help trial the first “fully anonymous usage of bitcoin”. Using the mantra “anonymity likes company”, Zerolink has issued a call to arms for 100 transaction testers, who’ll be compensated for their efforts. The project is just the latest in a string of initiatives seeking to reclaim the right to anonymity.
Also read: Meet ‘Cash Shuffle’, the Privacy-Centric Protocol for Bitcoin Cash
You Have the Right to Remain Private
If 2017’s burning issues were decentralization, tokenization, and scaling, 2018’s look set to be P2P exchanges, atomic swaps, and privacy features. The need for privacy in an age of increasing surveillance and unprecedented scrutiny has never been greater, spurring the development of projects such as Coinjoin, which aims to combine the benefits of a public blockchain with the freedom to transact in private.
Zerolink, which uses a coin mixing solution based on Coinjoin, is the latest privacy-centric project to emerge – and it’s closer than most to being trialed in the wild. The project’s founder has issued a plea for 100 participants to enter a “massive scale Coinjoin”, and is offering a $10 bounty as an incentive. By stress-testing Zerolink at scale, the project’s developer – who has previously worked for bitcoin mixer Tumblebit – hopes to prove that anonymous transactions on the world’s biggest blockchain are feasible.
Anonymity in Numbers
The battle to attain transactional anonymity has led cryptocurrency developers in different directions. Zcash and its many spin-offs use zk-snarks, which essentially prove that a certain transaction is true without specifying who sent the sum to whom. In other words, it lets miners know enough to verify the transaction, without revealing the source or destination of the funds. In addition to powering the likes of Zencash – whose supernodes are set to launch this month – zk-snarks have also been tested on the ethereum network, with a plan for being introduced in 2018.
The other popular approach to private transactions is the Coinjoin route that Zerolink have gone for. The idea is that if two users transact an identical amount at roughly the same time, it’s possible to replace the one with the other, leaving blockchain onlookers none the wiser. The technology isn’t foolproof however, as to be 100% effective, it’s dependent upon a critical mass of transactions per second being reached. As Zerolink’s developer notes:
Coin mixing does not automatically provide untraceability. Even if network level tracks are completely eliminated, examining transaction chains and other transaction metadata, attackers may still be able to recognize some patterns.
To combat this, Zerolink takes Coinjoin’s technology and introduces end-to-end privacy. To test its efficacy, a mixing experiment involving upto 100 users will take place on December 20 at 10pm GMT. Full details of the experiment and how to register are provided in a Medium post from Zerolink.
As 2017 draws to a close, proponents of privacy coins seem determined to finish the year with a flourish. News of Zerolink’s experiment arrives on the same day that Monero merged multisig into its Github, which will make it easier for the anonymous currency to be used by darknet vendors among others. Together, these developments raise hope that in 2018, cryptocurrency users will take great strides towards reclaiming their privacy.
Which privacy coin or feature do you trust the most? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that enables near-instant, low-cost payments to anyone, anywhere in the world. Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority: transaction management and money issuance are carried out collectively by the network. Read all about it at wiki.Bitcoin.com.