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It will be a privacy coin. As for which one, discovering the next big hit is a matter of fine tuning one’s ability to spot the right projects.
Most top cryptocurrencies favour security and omnipresence, but privacy more in their sales pitch, than in practice. Which is alright, because privacy is making a come back in the crypto scene soon and there are a number of privacy coin projects out there that are sure to receive the limelight.
I want to bring special attention to a currently still undervalued privacy project called CLOAK and what it has to offer.
CLOAK will likely be a great opportunity for investment, because it was a closed-source project for a long time, due to which it went under the radar.
Looking at the Roadmap, the team is clearly ambitious and will be busy in 2018 too.
Being open source will attract CLOAK a lot of attention, both from traders and developers. The revision will likely spike the project’s value – in price as well as in functionality and security.
CLOAK & MONERO
Monero (XMR) is perhaps the best known privacy coin in the market. It has a long history and grew tenfold in value this year.
You will notice that the top cryptocurrencies are overwhelmingly first generation projects. Hence, most of them, including Monero, are based on Proof of Work.
I compare it to CLOAK in 5 categories:
Incentives to users
However, in order to hide transactions from third parties, CLOAK also runs CloakShield in the background. It encrypts all activity on the blockchain by layering, similar to how onion routing works in the TOR network.
Monero is developing their own code called Kovri for layering, which they claim to be more secure than onion routing. But it’s still miles away from being friendly to use, so CLOAK is clearly ahead on this.
Monero uses Proof of Work. However, investment that goes into sustaining PoW coins devalues over time, because PoW coins require expensive hardware, a lot of computational power and electricity. In February 2017, Monero required an estimated 40 000-80 000 USD to secure its network every single day. So the environmental cost is considerable.
CLOAK, on the other hand, is purely Proof of Stake. PoS integrates the security and running of the blockchain into the coins instead of separate mining equipment. It therefore saves not just on hardware, but also on electricity. Staking involves running inexpensive, electricity efficient devices (such as Raspberry Pi’s) that require no more power than an LED bulb, giving CLOAK an advantage in the environmental sustainability category too.
PoW mining has a tendency to centralise into the hands of a few, especially to investors with lots of money to buy hardware or to the hardware developers themselves. Some of the biggest pools in Bitcoin are owned by hardware producer Bitmain.
Monero’s PoW algorithm, CryptoNite, is designed ASIC resistant. This protects against miner centralisation, because creating ASICs for this type of mining remains unprofitable. But cheap memory intensive ASICs will likely be developed in the future. And even now, Monero mining is dominated by 3-4 big pools.
By using PoS without Master Nodes, anyone with CLOAK can stake their coins to the service of the blockchain. Consensus and security in CLOAK is reached based solely on the amount of coins in staked wallets. CLOAK therefore achieves a much wider spread of governance across the blockchain, bringing true decentralization.
Incentives to users
Monero doesn’t reward its already existing coin holders with anything. New Monero is earned solely through investing into CPU/GPU and mining. To stay competitive with increasing hashrate as more miners join, miners have to keep investing into more equipment.
To motivate coin holders to stake their coins into the service of the blockchain, CLOAK uses PoS without Master Nodes. As a result, CLOAK rewards all of its coin holders with 6% on their holdings per year.
It’s a very attractive solution. No traditional investment yields a return of 6% annually. I would say that the deciding factor for many is what they can get from their investment into either coin and, again, CLOAK has an advantage here.
Monero’s official GUI wallet is still in Beta. There are many unofficial GUI wallets that have been created by the community.
But CLOAK has an official GUI wallet for both Mac and Windows right now. The wallet has an easy to use interface and includes even an in-built marketplace for all CLOAK related service providers. According to the roadmap, official mobile wallets are to follow in Q2
In terms of functionality, they are both good privacy coins with dedicated teams and lots cooking under the hood (CLOAK got itself a new developer team in 2016).
But CLOAK has a number of advantages over Monero. While tech is constantly evolving and Monero may switch to PoS or some other newer algorithm in the future, switching is labor and research extensive and therefore quite a tricky business.
The price of CLOAK is also only 25 USD, it has a circulating supply that is 3 times smaller than Monero and it rewards all coin holders without needing separate resource-costly mining equipment.
With all of this in mind, it seems CLOAK is surely set to be the next big cryptocurrency. And there is an opportunity here to invest relatively early in a project that is likely do very well in the future.