"Sapling" Zcash Hard Fork to Take Place Today

Zcash Hard Fork will "pave the way for broad mobile, exchange and vendor adoption of Zcash shielded addresses." It will introduce more efficiencies for Blockchain’s signature shielded transactions.

29 October 2018 – Markets expect the Zcash Blockchain to experience a hard fork on October 29, 2018. This event will upgrade the network in order to make shielded transactions less computationally heavy. This will make the cryptocurrency easier to use. 

Zcash Hard Fork will Facilitate shielded transactions

The Zcash Blockchain and the ZEC coin have been introduced back in 2016. The project aimed to concentrate on privacy by utilizing zero-knowledge proofs. Zcash emerged as the first big application of zk-SNARKs, which is a variation of zero-knowledge proofs that allow them to be used in Blockchains and reduce their size. This consequently reduces the computational strain on the network. 

The upcoming hard fork for Zcash is dubbed “Sapling.” It introduces more efficiencies for Blockchain’s signature shielded transactions. The project states that it will "pave the way for broad mobile, exchange and vendor adoption of Zcash shielded addresses."

Shielded transactions require more computational power to transact, validate and record on a Blockchain. This makes them difficult to support for “light” crypto users. Mobile users and cryptocurrency exchange are among those in trouble. 

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Sapling’s shielded transactions will create new Sapling z-addresses for users that are shorter. They will improve privacy for the entire Zcash network. Zcash representatives have been quoted as saying:

"Payments involving the new Sapling z-addresses can be constructed in as little as a few seconds and with only 40 megabytes of memory. Exchanges, mobile wallet providers, vendors, and other 3rd parties will now be able to support shielded addresses."

Sapling Update Details

The Sapling update will divide the hardware that constructs Zcash zero-knowledge proofs from the hardware that signs for transactions. As per Zcash:

"Enterprises can perform an inexpensive signature step in a trusted environment while allowing another computer, not trusted with the spending key, to construct the proof."

"Sapling" will also advance viewing keys, so that owners of shielded addresses can view incoming and outgoing transactions details without the need to expose their private spending key. This will imply that transactions can also be shared securely with trusted third parties, where authorities require compliance and audit checks.

In addition, the new Sapling z-addresses have a feature that “allows trillions” of addresses to receive payments simultaneously without any extra costs. Exchanges and merchants will now be able to create large numbers of "distinct and unlinkable" z-addresses for clients.

A part of the Sapling upgrade will need to be phased. The existing “Sprout” addresses will carry out to receive support, but eventually, they will retire. Some of the gradual migration might be required to ultimately improve Zcash to a more protected and usable network. 

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