May 25, 2018 - Weekly update (Engineering)

This week’s update will be based on the various engineering teams completing their 3rd sprint of the release cycle. This is 3 of 3 in our 6-week release cycle where the end of the 3rd sprint lines up with the next zcashd release. We’re tracking each team’s progress in Github projects so you can see a more detailed view of what they’re tackling each two-week sprint and what they have in their longer-term backlogs.

Zcashd Team
This team focus on development of the zcashd client but stands distinct from consensus protocol (which is a separate team).

Some of the big picture accomplishments in this team include:

  • Reproducible builds: Gitian fix for rc 1.1.1 (Arborist Team · GitHub)
  • Sapling Wallet Support: Key encoding refactor (Arborist Team · GitHub)
  • Bug fixes and removing old code.
  • Checking in with WinZEC on Windows overwinter support.
  • Progressing towards the 1.1.1 release to come out early next week (aiming for Tuesday). Technically we’ve cut the release already (meaning the source is available on GitHub) but won’t publish the binaries until after the weekend as it is policy to not release just before a weekend.

Upcoming goals include:

  • Begin to take over release management duties from legacy release management team.
  • Sapling Wallet Support.

Consensus Protocol Team
This team focuses on the Zcash consensus protocol current and future upgrades which include R&D, specification and interfacing with the ZIP process.

During this whole cycle, the consensus protocol team has been heavily focused on consensus implementations for Sapling support in the upcoming 1.1.1 release. This past sprint finished up implementing the consensus rules, you can see the whole list in this ticket, #3065. These rules will activate on testnet with dummy Sapling parameters at height 252500.

Development Infrastructure team
This team works on making sure developers have the tools and infrastructure they need to efficiently collaborate, design, implement, review, test, and ship high quality projects.

Big picture accomplishments:

  • Initial investigation into CI builders is complete, and we are actively implementing mechanisms to support Windows, Mac, and CentOS 7+.
  • A lot of work is also being done on Ubuntu 18.04, so this should provide another well tested OS. Ideally, we hope to have the CI system fully robust(e.g. build, testing, deploy) by 2.0.0 release for all existing/proposed operating systems.
  • We officially took responsibility for Release Automation and “Network Observer” project/tasks this sprint. Details regarding the “Network Observer” project are actively being discussed with more details to come.

Ecosystem team
This team is the interface to everything not directly related to zcashd or the protocol and include support for third-party tools and services. Ecosystem projects developed by Zcash Co. also get handled in this team. Tracking for this team is kept private to prevent information leakage about third-parties.

Big Picture Accomplishments:

  • Three members of the team went to Consensus and one to the African where they connected directly with members of the community.
  • Expanded the privacy metrics script to be able to generate more metrics and researched having the webpage automatically update as new blocks are mined.
  • Worked on documentation for third-party devs regarding transaction expiry


  • Continue Overwinter outreach to various services in the Zcash ecosystem
  • Have privacy metrics webpage auto-updating

Documentation team
This team works on improving the accessibility of zcashd and Zcash overall.

The documentation team made great strides on completing a first draft of the user guide, extending and clarifying the GitHub wiki document and incorporating other helpful guides like wallet backup and troubleshooting FAQ. We also started migrating ZIP documentation into the same repository as well as the payment API reference. The goal for next sprint is to have a preliminary version ready for community use and feedback.

In addition to the main readthedocs project, there was also time spent by on documenting transaction expiry for third party developers (in the same effort as the ecosystem team) to be published publicly.

Community & Communication

You can check out last week’s community and communication update on May 18th for the latest info.

There’s still time to join us in Montreal for the first Zcash conference. An initial view of the schedule should be out next week with minor adjustments in the weeks leading up to Zcon0! Hope to see you all there!