Privacy cryptocurrency Zcash (ZEC) announced the release of their 2.0.0 version on August 16th, introducing the first Sapling-compatible version of the Zcash node software. The privacy currency also added several other notable features in the newest software update, including an important fix to the peer banning bug that came about following the previous Overwinter update.
The update included other minor fixes and additions to the Zcash network, including backport upstream improvements, various bug fixes, and an update to the mainnet checkpoints to improve the speed of initial synchronization.
What is Sapling and How Does it Improve Private Transactions?
Sapling is the next major upgrade of the Zcash network and is scheduled to go live on October 28th of this year. The update comes after two years of the Zcash team conducting a plethora of tests and updates in an effort to improve the functionality and performance of encrypted transactions.
The key feature of Sapling is that it takes Zcash closer to having fully shielded transactions, which will provide users a new layer of security and anonymity. Currently, Zcash transactions operate similarly to those of Bitcoin, in that the addresses are transparent. Shielding addresses requires a significant amount of computational power, which is incredibly expensive, but updates provided through Sapling will eventually lead to lower transactional costs, making shielded transactions much more cost efficient.
Zcash explains Sapling on their blog, saying:
“Sapling is a network upgrade that introduces significant efficiency improvements for shielded transactions that will pave the way for broad mobile, exchange and vendor adoption of Zcash shielded addresses…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. The increased use of shielded addresses will improve the effective privacy for the entire network.”
The Zcash team also emphasizes the importance of upgrading user’s Zcash software, explaining:
“Keep your Zcash software updated, and you’ll be on the newly-upgraded main chain along with everyone else. You will not miss the network upgrade, unless you are running your own full node and have manually configured your client to continue running the old code.”
According to the Zcash roadmap, the activation of Sapling will occur shortly after they introduce their version 2.0.1 and will precede the release of version 2.0.2 by less than a week.
Sapling is the third major software update to the Zcash network since its launch in 2016 and comes after the original Sprout upgrade and the most recent Overwinter release.
Zcash is currently sitting at $147, up 4% on the day but down from its monthly highs of approximately $200 on August 1st. Like all other cryptocurrencies, Zcash has not been immune from the market downturn, and is currently about $750 off its all-time high of $900. It is unlikely that the Sapling upgrade will lead to any immediate price increases, but it will provide greater utility and efficiency down the road. The potential addition of Zcash to Coinbase could also lead to a potential price jump in the coming months.
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