Opinion: Overall (and now with the luxury of time/ arm-chair quarterbacking) the NU5 upgrade for Zcash, which provided the world’s first shielded pool with no dependence on trusted encryption parameter setup, was poorly communicated, poorly received, and remains broadly misunderstood and unknown.
Known Challenges: Communicating the nuance and complexity of the upgrade is not trivial. The broad ecosystem of cryptocurrency/ blockchain network/ cryptography is a giant mess, which makes it tough to broadcast a message. NU5 never had a concise/ ELI5 sort of packaging that would have benefitted it’s communication. (Zooko, using only one example, did a great job at explaining that Trusted Setups would become a thing of the past… but that at face value isn’t actually true, all but one of Zcash’s pools remain atop trusted setup parameters, and all correct me if I’m wrong other blockchains using ZKP rest atop various trusted parameter setups.
Shifting Deliveries & Deliverables: The technical scope, and the timeline for NU5 changed more than a handful of times, spanning over the course of about 2 years (beginning at announcement in 2019-2020, to delivery in June of 2022). Whenever grand product deliveries suffer repetitive scope and schedule changes, their perceived value decreases. Zcash and it’s NU5 updgrade were negatively impacted by this.
Where is it Now: Of course, dear reader, you and I understand the scope and lasting impact of NU5, but for the less engaged crypto enthusiast, the question may be unresolved: How/ Where/ When can I experience the benefits of this world class protocol layer upgrade?
As we look forward to the next major upgrade, I believe that topics/ strategies around Scheduling, Scoping, Communication, and Access should be primary drivers for our ongoing activities. There are many other areas for improvement that I’ve been thinking around, I’ll update this thread along the way.