How Does Gini Compare to Other Privacy Coins?

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Most other privacy coins are based on the CryptoNote protocol. They protect privacy with computationally complex mechanisms called ring-signatures to protect the sender’s address, stealth addresses to conceal the receiver, and “ring confidential transactions” (RingCT), which obscures the transaction amount. A few other privacy coins use a technology called zk-SNARKs (zero-knowledge proofs), which can provide more anonymity than the CryptoNote-based coins. In general, cryptocurrencies based on those privacy technologies usually do provide solid privacy protection, but they impose several trade-offs:

  • Their computational complexity makes them extremely slow—even slower than Bitcoin’s seven transactions per second. This is primarily because they've bolted their privacy features on top of the Bitcoin code base, which was only designed for anonymous transactions, not truly private transactions. But anonymity is very different from true privacy; so it's often relatively easy to link Bitcoin transactions together to reveal the identity of the transacting parties. This is a risk that applies to all cryptocurrencies that are substantially based on the Bitcoin source code and others that have adopted Bitcoin's non-private anonymity model.
  • Their complex architectures are more vulnerable to bugs and hacks than Gini's architecture because Gini is built with the Haskell programming language, homomorphic encryption, optional Tor/I2P routing, and true transaction privacy at its core. This means Gini's architecture is simpler, which enables the Gini Trust Protocol to process transactions much faster with less vulnerability to bugs and hacks.
  • Other cryptocurrency transactions are not private by default; users must turn on privacy for each transaction. In contrast, all Gini transactions are private by default (after the privacy features are fully implemented).
  • Other cryptocurrencies based on zk-SNARKs require a trusted setup process, which makes it difficult for many people to believe that it has not been set up with backdoors or built-in privileges that could secretly benefit the founders of those other cryptocurrencies. For example, they could arbitrarily create new crypto-money for themselves and nobody would be able to detect it. In contrast, there's no secret setup process for Gini's privacy features. Gini is designed to be private by default so that Gini stakeholders can control the privacy of their transactions at all times.
  • There is no way to audit the money supply of those cryptocurrencies. In contrast, Gini's money supply is audited in real-time and anybody can verify that no new Gini money has been created out of thin air at any time.
  • There is no way for authorized parties to easily audit individual transactions with those other privacy coins. In contrast, Gini is designed with unique auditing features that enable stakeholders to allow third-parties that they authorize to audit their transactions if they desire. This is useful for accounting audits and organizations that have government-mandated financial reporting requirements.
  • Some privacy coins charge extra fees for their private transactions. Gini does not.
  • Some privacy coins are based on permanent “masternodes,” which require over USD 500,000 (as of April 2018) to purchase. That means only a small number of wealthy crypto whales have meaningful opportunities to operate those masternodes. Of course, this is completely opposite to how Gini works, as our Gini Trust Protocol and Value Streams and monetary system pages illustrate.
  • With certain other privacy coins, hundreds or thousands of masternodes and their corresponding cryptocurrency supply can be secretly owned or controlled by the same entity because there are no ecosystem sustainability mechanisms to prevent this. Again, this is completely opposite to Gini's architecture and philosophy.
  • All the early adopters in those cryptocurrencies purchased their masternodes when it was cheap, giving them perpetual aristocratic control over their crypto ecosystems. Given the hyper-concentration in all other crypto markets today, it’s reasonable to assume that their networks are substantially and secretly controlled by a small number of entrenched masternode operators with overwhelming economic and political power over their ecosystems. This outcome is no different than all the other highly concentrated cryptocurrencies today. In contrast, Gini's architecture and philosophy are fundamentally designed to prevent this, as illustrated at the links provided above.

To be clear, we have a lot of respect for any cryptocurrency project that takes transaction privacy seriously. The more privacy, the more liberty and freedom for humanity. However, Gini is substantially different on many levels from all other privacy coins today and we feel it's appropriate to clearly explain these differences so that Gini is never incorrectly characterized as "just another privacy coin." Gini is much more than "just another privacy coin."

See also: Auditing Gini Transactions

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