Reading List 

This is a comprehensive list of privacy-centric cryptocurrency topics. Skim the summaries and focus on what interests you most. If unsure, start from the beginning.

Introduction into Privacy

  • Why is Privacy Important
    • A Zcash blog post explaining the motivations behind the project and why privacy is an important topic to consider when developing cryptocurrencies. Reading time – 5 min 
  • Bitcoin Privacy Basics
    • Isn’t Bitcoin Private? It’s really “pseudo anonymous” and this blog post explains why is Bitcoin not really anonymous. Reading time – 8 min
  • What is a CoinJoin?
    • CoinJoin is one of the fundamental ways to preserve fungibility. What is it? How does it work? What are its pitfalls?. Reading Time – 7 min
  • CoinJoin thread
    • An interesting thread where the inception of CoinJoin moniker is recorded. Goes over the original thought process plus answers some common questions. Reading Time – 15 min
  • CoinJoin Sudoku
    • A mathematical method of finding matching input/output pairs from coinjoin transactions. Reading Time – 15 min

Dash

  • Dash Whitepaper
    • Original Dash whitepaper, relevant part for this discussion is section 3 “Darksend” , which was the name of PrivateSend originally. Reading Time: 20 min
  • PrivateSend
    • Dash information wiki, with more in-depth information on the PrivateSend functionality. Reading Time – 7 min

Monero

  • CryptoNote whitepaper review
    • A overview and review of Monero. Please note that this is not the actual whitepaper but rather a review done by a third party. However it a great intro to Monero and its basic concepts. Reading Time – 18 min
  • CryptoNote (Monero) whitepaper
    • The white paper for Monero. Reading Time – 30 min
  • Commitment Scheme
    • Basic overview of cryptographic commitment schemes. With additional details for those interested. Reading Time – 17 min
  • Pedersen Commitment Scheme
    • Whitepaper which lays out the cryptographic basis for the most commonly used Additively Homomorphic Commitment Scheme. Reading Time – 18 min
  • Confidential Transactions
    • Describes the motivations and cryptography necessary for hiding transaction amounts on bitcoin. (Serves as introduction to the concept on Monero). Reading Time – 13 min
  • Ring Confidential Transactions
    • An indepth explanation of the combination of  ring signatures and confidential transactions, which are essential in hiding transaction data in Monero. Reading Time: 30 min
  • Monerolink De-anonymization Explorer 
    • Transaction exploration tool which demonstrates the security break and can be used to trace 62% of Monero transactions before 2017.
  • Monerolink Technical Paper
    • Detailed technical explanation of the vulnerabilities in Monero, how they have been mostly fixed, but also where there is room for improvement. Reading Time: 30 min
  • Monerolink talk
    • Presentation of an overview of the monerolink results. Given by Blockchain at Berkeley members Sunny Aggarwal and Ronen Kirsh. Video Length: 30 min

Zcash

  • Zero Knowledge Proofs – A Primer
    • An Introduction to the concepts and terms involved in Zero Knowledge Proofs. “…a (mostly) non–mathematical description of what ZK proofs are, and what makes them so special.” Reading Time: 25 min
  • ZK-Snarks under the hood
    • Vitalik’s explanation of ZK-Snarks. Assumes knowledge regarding elliptic curve pairings and quadratic arithmetic formulas. Reading Time: 10 min
  • zkSNARKs in a Nutshell
    • A straightforward introduction to the math of ZK-Snarks, which builds up the component ideas in full detail. Reading time: 30 min
  • Zcash – Explaining Snarks (7 parts)
    • A very in depth multi-part walkthrough of all the cryptographic components needed for Zcash. Reading time: 30 min
  • libsnark Library
    • Standard implementation of ZK-Snarks, used in Zcash and available for use in other projects.
  • Zcash Sapling
    • Blog post describing upcoming efficiency improvements to the cryptography in Zcash, including a ~98% reduction in memory usage. Reading Time: 1 min
  • Jubjub (efficiency improvements)
    • Another blog post from Zcash, about a particular component of the upcoming efficiency improvements. Reading Time: 5 min
  • Original Zerocash – extended whitepaper
    • The original whitepaper that goes indepth into the implementation and the proof behind the currency. Reading Time: 1.5 Hours

MimbleWimble

The MimbleWimble whitepaper, a more indepth explanation then the text drop but no implementation details. Reading Time: 30 min