March 03, 2017 - Dev update

This week we’re getting ready for the 1.0.7 release this Monday, March 6th. You can read this note by Zooko for his perspective of the next release. :relaxed:

Much of engineering time went towards last minute developments to include in this next release in addition to testing and review for any remaining pull-requests tagged for 1.0.7.

One of the more urgent projects we’re working on is documentation and signaling for best privacy and security practices when using Zcash. There are some key considerations for all users interested in maintaining optimal privacy and security when interacting with the network. We hope to have a first version posted to the website for the 1.0.7 release. In particular, there are two types of analysis that could potentially lead to privacy leaks: those on transaction graphs and those on network graphs. In short, we recommend the use of shielded addresses to protect against transaction graph analysis and IP obfuscation tools like Tor to protect against network graph analysis. More on that in an official document in the coming days!

We focused some time on reviewing the Payment Disclosure ZIP draft so that next week, work can be put towards a prototype. This is a big step towards improving shielded address functionality and is one of the near future priorities for Zcash engineering. Some examples listed in the ZIP include:

  • A sender may need to prove that their payment was sent and received by a recipient. For example, a customer paid too much for an item and would like to claim a refund from the vendor.
  • A third party needs to verify that a payment between sender and recipient was executed successfully. For example, a regulator needs to confirm a transfer of funds between two parties

We decided the initial release of Payment Disclosure would come as an experimental feature - only available to nodes with experimental flag marked in the config at startup. There is expectation for some efficiency loss so releasing as an experimental feature will allow us to get some feedback and insight on the effects on efficiency.

Another one of our near future priorities, payment off-loading (technically referred to as delegated proving) also received focused engineering and discussion time this week. A prototype has been in the works with a ZIP for specifying the initial implementation coming next.

The HTLC improvements for Bitcoin and Zcash are well underway, a step towards XCAT, another near future priority!

We also did some exploration of transaction malleability solutions such as Bitcoin’s segwit and Bitcoin Classic’s Flexible Transactions. More discussion and research is required for any decision to be made. You can always take part in the discussion (and other topics!) by joining the Community chat. Our devs typically hold these in the #zcash-dev and #zcash-wizards channels.

We also released the initial chapter of a series of blog posts on explaining zk-SNARKs. This first one on Homomorphic Hiding.

Make sure to keep an eye out for the 1.0.7 release on Monday and to update your nodes when it’s available!

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I can't wait to pull and merge the source into all my ports/forks! I'll have Windows updated and released first, with Mac and arm64 to follow.

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