April 13, 2018 - Weekly update

Releases and upgrades

So we intended to get the 1.1.0 release out at the beginning of this week but got stalled a few days and are working diligently to get the release announcement blog and the new version onto the Zcash release repository. This release includes the main network activation height for Overwinter, which we’ve decided to be 347500 and is currently projected to occur on June 25th of this year just before noon EDT/16:00 UTC. Next week, we’ll be updating the countdown on the Overwinter information portal to reflect a more accurate prediction based on block height.

The upcoming weeks will involve making sure third party services are ready for the upgrade. For the most part, most services will just need to make sure they’re running at least version 1.1.0 for their wallets but other services that parse transactions themselves (like block explorers) will need to implement minor changes to their code. We encourage the community to ask the services in the Zcash ecosystem they use to confirm and announce their readiness for the Overwinter network upgrade. A good example of this communication is from the Lykke exchange Zcash listing announcement in which they mention:

Additionally, the Lykke Exchange will handle the activation of Zcash’s Overwinter upgrade, scheduled for June 2018, entirely in the background. Lykke users will not be required to prepare their accounts for the upgrade or to do anything differently after it has gone into effect.

We consider this a great way for third-parties to communicate network upgrade support to their users and will be citing this example as we continue our outreach to various services.

The following release, 1.1.1, will focus on implementing consensus level Sapling code into the client and setting an activation height for testnet. Check out the release schedule for some more precision on dates with regards to future releases and network upgrade activations.

Speaking of Sapling, the Zcash Foundation just announced the conclusion of Powers of Tau. This is the first of two multi-party computation phases which will securely generate the public parameters for the improved zk-SNARK circuit introduced in Sapling. As the blog mentions, PoT is a generic ceremony that can be used for all zk-SNARK applications, the upcoming phase II will be Sapling-circuit specific. To keep up to date with the Sapling MPC, join the Zapps working group mailing list.

Team & Community

We’re participating in the Blockchain career fair at Berkeley next week to take resumes and more generally see the types of gigs folks are interested in doing in this industry.

We’re also participating in the Blockchain Economic Event hosted by Fintech Canada in Toronto.

As a final note, the ZcashCo team started some new processes earlier this week to manage our growing team. In short, we’ve split into scrum teams which have different focus including product (zcashd), ecosystem (third-party services + tools and supporting external products), protocol (Zcash consensus protocol), development infrastructure and community. Most of these teams are using Github projects to organize where you can keep track of each team’s work. Each team will have a review of their progress after a two week sprint which will be included in these team updates. Note that this process is brand new for us and things might shift as needed such as new teams but we’re excited to have a plan for managing our team going forward as it grows.