The privacy-oriented cryptocurrency Zcash (ZEC) has implemented a monumental upgrade to the Zcash network known as “Sapling.” The announcement was made by the cryptocurrency’s founding company, ZCash Company (ZCC) via Twitter on Sunday night.
Success! We’re happy to announce that the #Zcash Sapling network upgrade activated today at block height 419200. #Sapling introduces new #shielded addresses with significantly improved performance. Learn more: https://t.co/IGoqNdlz3N pic.twitter.com/6VpKcMteCa
— Zcash Company (@zcashco) October 29, 2018
The Sapling Protocol and What It Does
The “Sapling Protocol” has been in development for months, if not years, and came during the network’s 419,200th block. With this network upgrade, the Zcash cryptocurrency will take on a new form of shielded addresses, presenting a new privacy system for ZEC by enabling users to conceal transaction and address data.
The Sapling upgrade utilizes a zero-knowledge proof-based technology that makes private transactions far more efficient than they were before the upgrade.
The ZCC blog post states the effects of Sapling:
Sapling introduces new shielded addresses with significantly improved performance: a time reduction of 90% for constructing transactions, and a memory reduction of over 97%.
In addition to the statement above, ZCC’s Chief Technology Officer Nathan Wilcox recently said in an interview:
Zcash Sapling would allow shielded transfers (transactions) to be completed with about 100 times less memory and probably six or more times faster.
With the drastic reduction of transaction size and increased efficiency of transactions, private transactions will become more widely accessible for ZEC users. Even cryptocurrency exchanges will better be able to issue and receive shielded transactions due to the creation of “diversified addresses.”
Another key feature of the Sapling network protocol upgrade is a “viewing key” feature, which will allow users to reveal their transactional and address data if they so choose.
A Step Forward, Yet Still More to Achieve
While the Sapling upgrade presents a myriad of benefits and improvements to the Zcash network, there is still more work to be done.
For instance, it is currently impossible for ZEC to conduct a private transaction from legacy-shielded addresses to Sapling-enabled addresses. The transactional data will simply be revealed in this process, which, ironically enough, goes against the ethos of what the Zcash network stands for.
However, regardless of the improvements that have yet to be made, the Zcash Company is very ambitious on the project.
They sum up this optimism in their blog:
In fact, it is the light that guides our sense of purpose and direction as we continue to innovate, create and experiment. We look forward to future milestones, outlined in our operational roadmap, that showcase how privacy is a pathway to economic freedom and opportunity.
On account of the Sapling upgrade and continued innovation the Zcash Company intends to pursue, one would expect the ZEC cryptocurrency to increase in price. However, at the time of the Sapling upgrade announcement, the price of ZEC was sitting at a price of around $123, and has since dropped 6.5% to $115 at the time of writing.
Regardless of the current price, many in the Zcash community are hoping that the Sapling upgrade will bring further progress, as well as an increase in the long-term value of the privacy-oriented crypto asset.
What do you think of the Sapling network protocol upgrade? Will it have a substantial impact on Zcash’s future and affect the long-term value of the project? Let us know in the comments below.