Zcash (ZEC) Sapling Hardfork Is Live – Lighter And Faster Private Transactions – New Address Format

Zcash (ZEC) has just upgraded its software to allow for lighter and quicker private transactions via its Sapling hard fork

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  • Zcash (ZEC) has just upgraded its software to allow for lighter and quicker private transactions via its Sapling hardfork
  • The network upgrade took effect on block 419,200 at 22:15:37 EDT on 10/28/2018
  • Proving Time dropped from 37 seconds to 7 seconds
  • RAM usage dropped from >3GB to 49MB
  • New Sapling addresses will start with “zs” (previously “zc”) and will be 78 characters long (previously 95 characters)

Zcash (ZEC) private transactions were heavy and slow

Launched in 2016, Zcash (ZEC) is one of the most prominent privacy-oriented cryptocurrency projects in the market today. However, shielded transactions, which are the core value of its system, are computationally heavy and relatively slow.

Therefore, the majority of users and exchanges can’t afford to dedicate enough power to run such a complex and demanding function.

As per Nathan Wilcox, CTO of Zcash Company itself in regards to private transactions:

“It is just too inefficient and too cumbersome,” 

It is because of this that the development team behind Zcash, Zcash Company, focused their efforts on improving the zk-snarks protocol used to obscure transaction data.

The Sapling upgrade

This upgrade, called Sapling, took place on October 28th, through another hardfork of the Zcash blockchain, at the block-hight 419,200.

Lighter and faster private transactions

According to Wilcox, the Sapling protocol is making shielded transfers 100 times less memory-hungry, and approximately six times faster than before.

Furthermore, it is now possible for light and mobile wallets to process anonymous transactions, which can add to the overall adoption of Zcash as the means of payment.

Zcash Company states that with the new upgrade, they can eventually remove transparent transactions, and achieve a complete privacy-by-default feature for their users.

When asked about the upcoming hardfork Wilcox said:

“We hope to see a migration toward shielded Sapling adoption, and as that migration continues we hope to transition to privacy-by-default when the time is right,”

Nevertheless, it seems that Zcash users have a privacy-related choice.

Other improvements

Independent spending authority

The new update also decouples the hardware that makes the zero-knowledge proof from the one that authorizes (signs) the transactions. This update improves the network’s security.

Increase private spending key privacy

This choice is enabled by the Viewing Key – a feature that allows users to have a publicly viewable profile on the privacy-based system. Through Viewing Key users can selectively reveal transactions, but with much less inherent risk as they will be the ones publishing their information.

An improvement for “light clients”

Zcash realizes that so-called light clients, who are mostly found on mobile devices for storing cryptocurrencies, can’t dedicate or simply doesn’t have as much storage space or computing power as computers, but still need to be a part of the secure and private Zcash network.

However, Wilcox says that their full integration in the system will require more development, since, if not properly coded for the hardfork, light clients could reveal transaction information to its wallet host.

According to Wilcox, that is a potential breaking point of the system, and his company is developing a showcase trustless light client that has privacy protections even against a service provider, which developers will be able to implement into their mobile wallets.

Exchanges will also benefit from Sapling

Together with all the mentioned changes, the company is said to be preparing “diversified addresses,” aimed at assisting cryptocurrency exchanges to support more users by allowing them to issue multiple addresses for the same wallet.

“It’s the same amount of work [as one wallet], but the exchange will be supporting a million users while doing that,” declared Wilco.

Zcash will provide a migration tool

Users need to transfer their funds from the Sprout version of Zcash into a new Sapling address and to help them during the transition Zcash is releasing a migration tool, which will merge individual actions into the same flow, thus ensuring enhanced security.

However, the tool is yet to be completed, and Zcash needs their users to wait until the full release before migrating their funds.

Until that time, Zcash protocol will continue to support both Sapling and Sprout, but eventually, when the migration finishes, Sprout addresses will become a thing of the past.

How to upgrade to Zecash Sapling?

In order to benefit from the network upgrade, users will have to update their Zcash clients to verio 2.0.0 or newer.

If you are running a Zcash client version 1.X or earlier, you will be required to download supplemental Sapling files for compatibility.

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