January 12, 2018 - Dev update

1.0.15 release & Overwinter
This week we continued some of the final steps for fully specifying Overwinter (AKA network upgrade 0/”NU0”). You might notice in the release planning project that there is a specification column still designated to 1.0.14 which includes the final pieces for a full Overwinter specification. The goal for 1.0.15 is to have Overwinter fully implemented and an activation block height set on testnet. We also plan to have a secondary testnet with rolling activation heights which will allow devs to experience multiple testnet activations if needed or simply allow for more a more flexible testing process. The subsequent release (if no issues are found) will be 1.1.0 and include the main net activation height (currently scheduled for June).

We are planning for code audits of Overwinter between 1.0.15 and 1.1.0 and as with previous audits, will maintain transparency by publishing the results regardless of their outcome. If a major issue is indeed found, we will of course delay the network upgrade as long as necessary to resolve it.

If all this network upgrade (read: hard fork) talk is making you nervous for what to expect and when to expect it, have no fear! We’re in the process of putting together documentation for users, node operators and developers. While the plan is for the code release of Overwinter to be included in 1.0.15 and mainnet activation block height set in 1.1.0, we’ll still have plenty of time before that actual block height will happen (again, aiming for June). For a recap on all of this, read our Zcash For Everyone blog post (particularly the roadmap at the end).

Hiring & Third-party support
This week we also spent a lot of time conducting thorough interviews with engineering applicants. Perhaps needless to say, we’re extremely excited about expanding the development team so we can make faster progress with Sapling development while maintaining availability to collaborate on expanding the ecosystem and third-party support. For example, we did some support work this week helping a third-party diagnose and fix an issue with their wallet but this inevitably slowed us down elsewhere. Having distinctly focused teams should increase our productivity and better facilitate a growing ecosystem.

Science Bonus
This week Zcash scientist, Ian Miers gave an update on Zcash at Real World Crypto and the presentation is available on YouTube.

Also this week, the zk-STARKs paper was published on ePrint (PDF) and co-authored by another one of Zcash’s founding scientists, Eli Ben-Sasson. Big congrats to Eli and his co-authors Iddo Bentov, Yinon Horesh & Michael Riabzev.