Many people in the Bitcoin community have been fascinated by the idea of a relatively new project called Zerocoin. Although the Bitcoin core developers don't seem like they're going to implement this feature for improve anonymity on the Bitcoin blockchain, that won't stop other altcoins from doing just that. The original team behind the Zerocoin Project is actually working on a new cryptocurrency based on a deviation from Zerocoin, known as Zerocash, but that hasn't stopped another altcoin community from implementing the original Zerocoin plan on their own blockchain. Anoncoin has been working on this implementation for a few months now, and it seems like they're ready to try out this new feature on a testnet. I actually had a chance to interview Gnosis, the main developer behind Anoncoin's Zerocoin implementation, about a month ago, so check out that interview if you'd like to hear more about what this means for Anoncoin straight from the developer's mouth.
A Reason to Buy Anoncoins?
Some novice cryptocurrency traders will see this new Zerocoin implementation as a reason to speculate on the price of anoncoins, but I don't really see it that way. For the most part, I see altcoins as a testing ground for new features before they are brought onto the Bitcoin blockchain. If a niche feature of a certain cryptocurrency turns out to be rather popular, then, in most cases, that feature would probably also make sense for Bitcoin at a later date. Innovation in Bitcoin tends to go a bit slower due to the fact that it carries a total value of billions of dollars, so I definitely welcome all of these new altcoins as basically testnets for future Bitcoin features. Having said that, I don't think the Zerocoin implementation on Anoncoin creates any new opportunities for long term investors. Anonymous transactions are already possible with Bitcoin after combining it with Tor, Shared Coin, and a few other features, but this implementation of Zerocoin in an actual cryptocurrency is at least interesting from an academic perspective.
Anonymity in Bitcoin
At the end of the day, any kind of useful anonymity feature added to any altcoin should eventually make its way to Bitcoin. Bitcoin is not currently anonymous by default, but that could change in the future. Some people feel like avoiding the topics of anonymity and privacy are important for avoiding harsh regulations, but the Bitcoin core development team seems dedicated to Satoshi's originally intention of a censorship-resistant currency. It's already possible to remain practically anonymous with Bitcoin when you know what you're doing, and the developers are still working on ways to bring more anonymity to the Bitcoin blockchain. Stealth addresses and Tor integration are just two of many updates that will eventually hit Bitcoin. Adding Zerocoin to Anoncoin is definitely something interesting to watch just to see how it all works, but I view this as a potential feature for Bitcoin in the future rather than a reason to speculate on anoncoins. If this feature becomes something worth getting excited about, then it will eventually make its way into the Bitcoin ecosystem.