Privacy-focused Zcash, currently worth just over $110 per coin, has completed a network upgrade dubbed “Sapling” that it says will vastly improve transaction speed as well as reduce the actual size of transactions themselves.
Zcash hopes that this will make mobile and other types of transactions more common and feasible on the network, saying it “introduces significant efficiency improvements for shielded transactions that will pave the way for broad mobile, exchange and vendor adoption of Zcash shielded addresses.”
Zcash has two types of addresses. A standard “t”-type (transparent) address works in the same way as most cryptocurrencies: sender and receiver information are publicly available on the network at time of transaction.
Shielded addresses work much more like Monero and other privacy-centric currencies in that it is almost impossible to be privy to transaction information aside from sums transacted without the sender or receiver revealing such information. The Sapling upgrade primarily improves the efficiency of private transactions.
The memory requirement for z-type transactions under the Sapling upgrade has been reduced to 40 megabytes and the hardware being used to authorize/create a transaction does not have to be the hardware that creates the “proof.” Both of these updates are important in the implementation of a mobile payment network built on Zcash.
An added bonus of the upgrade is that transaction information can be accessed without exposing a private key – again, important for mobile transactions in that many users might not want to carry such important information on them at all times.
The upgrade is mostly important to developers of mobile applications and exchange software who will see it as a way to offer Zcash products in a much more efficient manner.
Sapling has been anticipated for months, as noted in our report on the previous Overwinter upgrade, but in an immediate sense it does not seem to have led to increased demand for ZEC. While volume is high, the price appears to be struggling – which should not be a surprise to anyone monitoring cryptocurrencies in 2018, as most of them seem to be having similar problems.
Essentially every exchange listing ZEC has supported the upgrade, meaning that private withdrawals will become much more feasible. While the technology behind Zcash still has some distance to go in order to successfully transact privately with the same efficiency as public blockchain tokens, the upgrade is a major step in that direction, and the reduced resource requirements will likely lead to increased adoption of the crypto. Spokesmen and developers of Zcash still maintain that continued upgrades of its protocol will eventually lead to “privacy-by-default” in cryptocurrency transactions, major platforms like Bitcoin have yet to make any notable moves in the same direction.
Thus while the efforts of Zcash can be lauded and the existence of privacy-centric options is especially important in regions where there are dangers associated with monetary transactions, the dream of “privacy-by-default” has yet to be fully realized.
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