Although Zcash (ZEC) is one of the 100 largest cryptocurrencies, it isn’t available in as many places as you might expect in the UK.
Given that, where’s the best place to buy Zcash (ZEC) in the UK in 2022?
In this short guide, I’ll quickly summarise your options and then outline how to buy Zcash (ZEC) without getting ripped off.
Quick Version: How to Buy ZEC in the UK
Don’t have time for the full story?
Here are the only places I’ve been able to find that allow you to buy Zcash (ZEC) in the UK.
|Provider||Payment Method||Fees (Approx.)|
|Kraken||UK Bank Transfer||< 1%|
|Bitpanda||SEPA Bank Transfer, Credit/Debit Card, & More||1.5%+|
|eToro*||UK Bank Transfer, Credit/Debit Card, PayPal, & More||3.5%+|
Click the links in the table above to head straight over there or read on for more information on how you can buy Zcash (ZEC) in the UK.
How to Buy Zcash (ZEC) in the UK
Kraken is one of the longest-running and best cryptocurrency exchanges available to UK residents.
You can easily deposit GBP into Kraken using a UK bank transfer. This is processed via Faster Payments, so it doesn’t take long for anything you send to be credited either.
Kraken’s trading fees are a maximum of 0.26%. Like other cryptocurrency exchanges, you can unlock fee discounts if you’re a large volume trader.
Unfortunately, you can’t buy Zcash (ZEC) directly with GBP on Kraken. This means you’ll have to buy it with one of the following currencies:
- US Dollar (USD)
- Euro (EUR)
- Bitcoin (BTC)
The price might differ very slightly depending on which cryptocurrency you choose to buy Zcash (ZEC) with. However, the prices you’re quoted will usually be close to the real exchange rate (i.e., there are no hidden fees).
Like other cryptocurrency exchanges, Kraken isn’t beginner-friendly. But once you get the hang of it, it works out as a low-cost way of buying dozens of popular cryptocurrency in the UK.
And one more thing: You won’t be able to withdraw anything from your Kraken account for 72-hours after your first GBP deposit. You can find out more about that here.
If you’re looking for somewhere that’s a bit more straightforward than Kraken, then eToro* is an alternative you could check out.
Depending on what you’re buying, there’s a hidden fee that you’ll pay whenever you buy or sell that cryptocurrency. This is 3.5% for Zcash (ZEC), but is just 0.75% for Bitcoin (BTC) and 1.9% for Ethereum (ETH).
While this isn’t great, eToro is much easier to use than a cryptocurrency exchange and supports payment methods that aren’t commonly available (e.g., PayPal).
Contrary to what some think, it’s possible to withdraw cryptocurrency from eToro (in the UK and some other countries). If you’re intending to do this, this article notes that you should use a wire transfer (instant) or online banking (7-day delay). If you use other payment methods, you might be temporarily restricted from withdrawing your coins. Check out this and this for more information.
eToro isn’t an obvious choice for buying cryptocurrency and it sounds complicated, but it might be worth checking out if you don’t want to use a cryptocurrency exchange like Kraken.
Cryptoassets are volatile instruments which can fluctuate widely in a very short time frame and, therefore, are not appropriate for all investors. Other than via CFDs, trading cryptoassets is unregulated and, therefore, is not supervised by any EU regulatory framework. Your capital is at risk.
What is ZCash (ZEC)?
ZCash (ZEC) is a cryptocurrency that prioritises privacy on the blockchain. It’s designed to be a more confidential alternative to other digital currencies that maintains your privacy – even when paying for goods and services using crypto.
The ZCash network and its native coin, ZEC, launched in 2016 after a hard fork of the Bitcoin network. ZCash was created by Zooko Wilcox-O’Hearn, a self-proclaimed cypherpunk and blockchain engineer, and a group of scientists who had also worked on another crypto project called Zerocoin.
Here’s a quick video that explains the basics of what ZCash (ZEC) is and how it works:
At its core, ZCash (ZEC) is very similar to Bitcoin (BTC).
Like the Bitcoin network, the ZCash network is a public, permissionless, and decentralised blockchain with a Proof of Work (PoW) consensus model. ZCash also features a lot of the original open-source code that’s found in the Bitcoin network.
However, ZCash (ZEC) has some unique features that allow it to provide more privacy than most alternative cryptocurrencies.
The basic principle behind ZCash is that everyone using the network has access to two addresses.
You can use your t-address when you want to make public transactions or when privacy isn’t a concern. These transactions function much like transactions on the Bitcoin network.
Alternatively, you can use your z-address when you want to keep the details of your transaction secret. When you use z-addresses, your transaction is still logged on the blockchain, but the amount that you sent and the addresses that were involved are kept secret.
The privacy that comes with z-address transactions is made possible via zk-SNARKs, which are a form of zero-knowledge proof.
While the technology of zk-SNARKs is too complex to go into here, the concept is that they enable the network to validate a transaction without ever knowing the details of the transaction. This allows private transactions to take place where the sender, receiver, and transaction value are hidden to everyone but the involved parties.
There’s some controversy over whether ZCash can actually keep your transactions confidential.
According to research from Carnegie Mellon University, more than 99% of ZCash (ZEC) transactions are processed publicly with t-addresses. This high rate of public transactions means that most ZCash transactions (even the so-called private ones) are actually traceable with enough time and effort.
So if complete anonymity is what you seek, it seems like ZCash might not be the cryptocurrency for your needs.
The ZCash (ZEC) coin is primarily designed as a store of value on the ZCash network. You can use it to pay for goods or services or to send money to friends and family. All network transaction fees are also paid in ZEC.
Since ZCash operates on a Proof of Work (PoW) consensus model, there’s no way to stake ZEC coins to earn rewards. However, miners on the ZCash network are paid out in ZEC every time they add a block to the ZCash blockchain.
But other than its utility as a store of value and as a method for paying transaction fees on the ZCash network, there aren’t currently many other use cases for ZEC.
Best ZCash (ZEC) Wallets
Although there isn’t an official ZCash wallet, ZEC is supported by many major software and hardware wallets.
The ZCash Foundation, which is a public charity that funds blockchain research and innovation, currently recommends Zecwallet Lite for your ZEC storage needs. Zecwallet Lite is available as a mobile and desktop app. It offers full support for the ZCash network, including the ability to send both public and private transactions using z-address and t-addresses.
Other ZCash (ZEC) software wallets that you can use for both public and private transactions include:
However, of these wallets, only Unstoppable and Edge support more than just ZEC. If you prefer a multi-currency software wallet, instead, you have plenty of options. Popular ZEC-compatible software wallets include:
- Atomic Wallet
- Trust Wallet
The downside is that these wallets don’t support private transactions on ZCash. You can only use these wallets to send public ZEC transactions.
Want to use a hardware wallet for your ZCash (ZEC)?
Popular hardware wallets that you can use with ZCash (ZEC) include:
The wallet interfaces for Ledger, Trezor, and Ellipal wallets all support ZCash (ZEC). However, most hardware wallets don’t provide full support for z-address transactions (only public t-address transactions). That means they’re not a great choice if you’re looking to keep your transactions private.
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