Recent ZEC User Experience

Hi everyone, the following forum post is to address recent experiences for some Zcash users.

Heavy transaction load on the Zcash network has led to frustrating experiences for some Zcash users. A world-class UX for ZEC is ECC’s north star, so we have been focused on protocol improvements that address performance, and we are working to provide new solutions for third-party wallet developers whose apps shape ZEC UX for so many users.

It’s all of our jobs in the Zcash community to be prepared for these situations, and create solutions that prevent them from happening in the future. While performance issues are never ideal, we believe this is an opportunity to build for scale.

When determining where improvements can be made, we should view the protocol in three parts. Layer 1, 2, and 3.

Layer 1 is performing well. The peer-to-peer network, powered by full node operations and consensus rules, is doing great under this heavy transaction load.

Layer 2, made up of miners, lightwalletd operators and exchanges, is surviving, but has suffered performance issues. To solve this, we spent long hours over the July 4th holiday to release 5.1.0. This resulted in an 80% efficiency gain in verification time for shielded transactions.

Layer 3 is the mobile wallet UX. It has been significantly impacted, and many people have reported trouble accessing their ZEC. We understand these frustrations and appreciate the diligent work of developers like Aditya who jumped in and began working on solutions right away.

Lightwalletd servers have benefited to some degree by upgrading their zcashd connected nodes to ECC’s 5.1.0 release, which has improved sync times slightly and improved mobile UX. And, in parallel to the work improving Layer 2 performance, we’re also updating our mobile SDKs — which many wallets rely on — to include a faster syncing capability which will allow for faster and more efficient processing of incoming data.

While we are not directly responsible for managing third-party wallet UX, there is still work to be done. We are working with our partners to identify and verify additional improvements.