Today Coinbase announced support for Zcash trading on Coinbase Pro. This provides over 20 million Coinbase customers with access to Zcash and is the first privacy-protecting currency listed on Coinbase.
In their press release, Coinbase said that they “…will support deposits from both transparent and shielded addresses, but only support withdrawals to transparent addresses. In the future, we’ll explore support for withdrawals to shielded addresses in locations where it complies with local laws.”
Coinbase also described the distinction between Zcash’s transparent and shielded transactions as analogous to the distinction between unencrypted HTTP and encrypted HTTPS. This is true. However, transparent addresses work just like Bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies. As such, the analogy extends to every cryptocurrency that is without encryption to protect user privacy.
We are happy to hear that Coinbase has committed to exploring support for withdrawals to shielded addresses and believe this is a strong signal to the cryptocurrency, regulatory and financial community that they both respect the privacy rights of their users, and believe that privacy can and should be supported within regulated environments.
The Zcash Company’s mission is to empower everyone with economic freedom and opportunity. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin provide many of the properties necessary to provide that freedom but transactions on a blockchain are visible to everyone. Zcash takes Bitcoin one step further by also protecting the privacy of law-abiding citizens, guarding them against harm by bad actors through the use of a cryptographic standard called zero-knowledge proofs. This allows users to send and receive Zcash without disclosing the sender, receiver or the amount transacted.
As the industry matures, we believe privacy protections will be mandated by most exchanges, governments and other financial institutions, leading to the broad adoption of Zcash. This announcement from Coinbase is a significant step toward providing access to Zcash for millions of people around the world.