December 21, 2018 - Weekly Update (Engineering + 2018 reflections)

This is our fortnightly engineering update which happens after the conclusion of each engineering sprint. You can check out last week’s update for recent news on community and communications.

As the last update of the year, I’m including some end-of-the-year reflections for each team. And heads up that due to the holidays, we’ll be skipping the update next week for another combined engineering-communication update for the first week of January.

Zcashd/Consensus Team
This team focuses on development of the zcashd client and Zcash protocol. Follow along with team discussions in the Community Chat #zcashd-team channel.

After releasing 2.0.2 a couple weeks ago, this team has been focused on what we’re designating as “spring cleaning” tasks. A significant portion of this work is reviewing open pull requests which have accumulated over the years. We’ll also be ticket gardening to make sure open issues are still relevant and at the right priority for fixing.

Some issues we’re collecting in a new encouraged community work project. The goal of this project is to split out issues that we know we won’t work on for the next 3-6 months so that we can encourage the community to work on them if there’s interest in getting them out there. This project serves as a compliment to the good first issue label which are good issues for folks dipping their toes into contributing to Zcash. The encouraged community work project issues could be a bit more complex.

End-of-the-year reflection
The engineers maintaining zcashd and the zcash protocol have pulled off a significant amount of work in 2018. This is in large part due to the growth in the number of employees but also as a result of the valiant efforts of them all. We got a little backed up in the short term earlier in the year with training the new engineers while simultaneously working on the Overwinter network upgrade implementation but in the longer term, it paid off. Everyone on the team was critical in getting Sapling ready to go on time and safely. We’re now in a great spot, after learning from the first two network upgrades, to improve our processes for network upgrades going forward.

A big congratulations for a successful 2018 to everyone on the team who made zcashd and zcash protocol improvements @str4d @ebfull @daira @bitcartel @arielgabizon @mdr0id @charlieok @LarryRuane Eirik and gtank! :heart: :zcash: :champagne:

Development Infrastructure Team
The Development Infrastructure team ensures developers have the tools and infrastructure they need. Join this team in the #dev-infrastructure chat channel.

This team is also doing some spring cleaning in addition to progressing towards their goal of Windows support for zcashd. Much of the spring cleaning work this sprint was resolving random bugs that prevent deployment to local and none local dev environments.

End-of-the-year reflection
The formalizing of the infrastructure team has really pushed our ability to keep up with tasks required for testing and supporting Zcash safely and efficiently. While much more work is slated to be done, we’ve made significant improvements to our development infrastructure. Most of this work has been lead by the engineers hired earlier this year who have gone above and beyond on many occasions including supporting all major and minor releases, network upgrade activations and supporting the website/blog transition safely.

A big congratulations for a successful 2018 to everyone on the team who kept our infrastructure functioning and made necessary improvements @mdr0id @naimed @charlieok @str4d @LarryRuane! :heart: :zcash: :champagne:

Ecosystem Team
This team handles business development in the phases after initial contact by providing technical insight and support. They also work on supporting the supplementary Zcash products.

We’ve started to dedicate resources to making the zcash bitcore insight API more officially supported. This will take some time to catch up, but we have recognized it is an important component for many ecosystem services and have been barely keeping up with its maintenance for too long.

End-of-the-year reflection
This year we took big steps towards formalizing our ecosystem support. A big driver of this were the Overwinter and Sapling network upgrades which needed third-parties on board for a successful activation. The effort put forth here before, during and after each activation was demonstratively successful. This work will continue to be critical as we move forward with future network upgrades and push the ecosystem to adopt Sapling shielded addresses.

A big congratulations for a successful 2018 to everyone who worked with third-party services to understand their needs and work with them through technical complications @bradmiller @bitcartel @naimed @str4d @daira @lindanaeunlee and Eirik! :heart: :zcash: :champagne:

Documentation Team
This team drives the curation and assists in the creation of documentation. Follow along in the #documentation chat channel. Check out the official Zcash documentation.

We added some new pages to documentation including one about addresses in Zcash and moving/updating the Zcash integration guide. We also reorganized the documentation github project to properly reflect tickets being worked on directly by the documentation team and those owned by other engineering teams.

End-of-the-year reflection
The formalization of a documentation team this year allowed for significant improvement on centralizing resources for users and developers. We’ve heard compliments from various ecosystem parties about the standard of documentation for Zcash compared to other cryptocurrency projects. Like a lot of other engineering efforts, much of this work was driven by the need to properly support the Overwinter and Sapling upgrades. There’s still a lot more to do in terms of updating and curating documentation, but compared to the beginning of the year, we’re in a pretty good spot.

A big congratulations for a successful 2018 to everyone who took part in improving documentation with me @mdr0id @lindanaeunlee @ryan.taylor @LarryRuane @bradmiller and @str4d! :heart: :zcash: :champagne:

Reference Wallet Team
This teams current charter is to build a Zcash reference wallet. Deliverables will be a series of MVPs where Android is the first target platform.

The server code is public and working (-ish. it’s got to be paired with a special build of zcashd)! This means that the light client code is written and functioning, has a server it can work with, and the wallet application is in alpha. Now it’s mainly a matter of building out the UI, getting all the parts to interact and work together, and testing what has been built.

End-of-the-year reflection (from @lindanaeunlee)
When the team was initialized in June 2018, all we had was one person, an idea, and some pencil sketches. Now, we have grown to a team of 5, with a project manager, two engineers, a designer, and an android developer. We’ve designed a reference wallet UI we are proud of, speced out a light client protocol that doesn’t require a light client trust their server with all their transaction information, and built an alpha android application of the wallet. We’re really proud of what we have done.

A big congratulations for a successful 2018 to everyone on the wallet team for designing and building what will soon be the first Zcash light wallet implementation @lindanaeunlee @str4d @geffen gtank and Kevin Gorham! :heart: :zcash: :champagne:

I also want to recognize the auxiliary folks not directly participating in these engineering teams but are driving engineering operations, product management and security.

Thank you and congrats for a great 2018 to @mms @nathan-at-least @zooko @Dodger @taylor @alchemydc and bambam! :heart: :zcash: :champagne:

Thanks also to the community contributors who have done a lot to support the engineering teams and greater community in 2018, you have done a lot for Zcash and we appreciate everything you have contributed @garethtdavies @Shawn @anon16456014 @zancas @NealJayu @root! :heart: :zcash: :champagne:

And even though this is technically an engineering update, I’m on a roll and therefore want to throw in some thanks to the comms/bizdev team as well.

Great work getting Zcash marketing and outreach in a successful place in 2018 and supporting the engineers by communicating their efforts with dignity @joshs @elisehamdon and @zirui! :heart: :zcash: :champagne:

And last but certainly not least, running Zcash company would be impossible without the expertise of managing finances, HR and keeping Zooko and Nathan’s schedules on track.

Thank you for everything you do to support the team Margaret Baily, Andy Murray, Savannah Baily and Kim Wolf! :heart: :zcash: :champagne:

Oh, one more group of people to give shout outs to for their support of Zcash this year. The Zcash Foundation employees, board members and contributors have really offered the community and ecosystem a great balance in governance, guidance and support. Thank you @acityinohio @sonya @antonie @amiller @Matthewdgreen @secparam @amber @tromer and Peter Van Valkenburgh.

Ok, that’s all I’ll list here but feel free to give other shout outs in this thread for folks who I missed! Thanks to the community for a great 2018 and we look forward to a great 2019! :zebra:




:clap: Also, a big thank you to the wallet devs and in particular those that make it more user-friendly to use shielded txs. @adityapk00 for the fantastic addition of zec-qt-wallet and also of course @anon47418038 for making WinZEC compatible with all the network upgrades.


I’ve got to add a special thank-you to @anon16456014 Dimitris Apostolou. He spent the entire year of 2018 patiently answering every single newbie question on the community chat, and he went around to all the stores in his town in Greece and asked them to start accepting Zcash, and got literally dozens of them to actually start accepting Zcash! What a community hero! :heart::zebra::zebra::zebra: