Privacy coins are cryptocurrencies that obfuscate transactions on its blockchain in order to keep users and their activities anonymous. The amount transacted and parties involved will be known to all participants in a transaction. Any outside observer, on the other hand, will be unable to access the same information. If you don't want people to see what you're doing, and would appreciate some privacy, you may want to consider getting into privacy coins.
Popular privacy coins include Monero, Zcash, and Dash. While most people view all privacy coins as the same, they actually all have major differences.
The most popular privacy coin, Monero, with a market capitalization of $3.5 billion, enforces privacy for all wallets/holders. Privacy is not optional - it is required, whereas with Zcash and Dash, privacy is optional. Optional privacy is not a good idea, there should either be enforced privacy or no privacy at all (ideally, you want enforced privacy).
Let's provide an example. Say you send 3 "unshielded" transactions (ones that are transparent and show data like the parties involved & the amount being sent, etc), and then send 1 "shielded" transaction (one that is private). That single shielded transaction would stand out, and you could be questioned as to why you chose to enable privacy for just that one transaction, and what the transaction is all about. See our simple illustration below for an example.
So, perhaps now you're saying, "Okay, well if I want to avoid this, I can just enable privacy for all of my transactions". Well yes, that's true, but why would you bother doing that when you can simply have enforced privacy? That's the whole point of Monero. There's no point in bothering with enabling privacy for every transaction you make, on a blockchain with optional privacy like Zcash, when you can just use Monero, which enforces privacy.
Monero is also more decentralized than Zcash and Dash because both of those blockchains, from what we've read, have a few master nodes, while Monero does not have such nodes. Monero also is, technically, the least volatile & most stable in value, because it has the most holders out of all privacy coins, and is extremely fast compared to many other blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
There's also no reason to think that Monero has been cracked by the NSA at this time, because, no markets on the dark web have been traced for using Monero. If the NSA cracked Monero, they'd be monitoring every transaction, and we'd expect to see dark web markets get traced for using Monero. That, as mentioned, has not happened. Additionally, the IRS has a 6-figure bounty for contractors who could develop tools to help trace Monero transactions, or crack its privacy.
So, whether you want to regularly send transactions privately without everyone seeing the details of them, you want to donate to someone or something anonymously, or you maybe want to start a website anonymously, Monero is a great option for you. You can get started at the official Monero website, https://www.getmonero.org/, and you can ask any questions on the Monero Subreddit, https://www.reddit.com/r/Monero/.
Lastly, please remember, even though Monero is the least volatile privacy coin, you're still putting your money into a pretty volatile asset, and you should only put in an amount of money that you'd be okay with losing. Thanks for reading!