September 27 2019 - Weekly Update (Engineering)

Howdy!

Welcome to our Engineering update. From here on out, you can expect this Engineering update every other week, alternating with Community updates from Helena @hels.

Arborist Team 2: This team focuses on the development of the zcashd client, librustzcash and protocol upgrades. Follow along with team discussions in the Community Chat #public-community-arborist

  • Security Announcement - Users should upgrade their nodes to Version 2.0.7-3 immediately and discontinue use of older versions. This upgrade includes an important security fix in response to an issue that was reported to us on Friday September 13th 2019 by Florian Tramèr, Dan Boneh, and Kenneth G. Paterson. Please note that the issue does not put funds at risk of theft or counterfeiting.

  • Halo Announcement- Earlier this month, Sean Bowe, Daira Hopwood and Jack Grigg announced the discovery of a novel technique for creating practical, scalable and trustless cryptographic proving systems. The paper is available here and explains the discovery of practical zero-knowledge recursive proof composition without the need for a trusted setup. An implementation, which includes a demonstration of recursively verifying the proof-of-work of a Bitcoin block hash, is also under development.

  • Previous release of zcashd (2.0.7-2) included the following upgrades

    • Testnet Blossom “Rewind” - prevents having to manually reindex when reconnecting to the correct chain.
    • Insight Explorer logging fix
    • Pre-Blossom EOS halt aligned with 2.0.7 to correct a mistake in 2.0.7-1 (removed)
  • Other updates:

    • Upcoming release: The next release, v2.1.0, will support Blossom activation on mainnet, estimated for 2019-12-11.
    • The libsnark removal PR has been reviewed and merged.
    • We’ve fixed a bug that prevented disabling the expiry height in createrawtransaction (https://github.com/zcash/zcash/pull/4134).

Development Infrastructure Team: The Development Infrastructure team ensures developers have the tools and infrastructure they need. Join this team in the #dev-infrastructure chat channel.

  • During this past sprint cycle we have been updating security related items, creating website infrastructure to support upcoming projects, continuing to work with community devs to upgrade Python3 and Ansible components, rewriting zfaucet to work with Docker, and deploying different CI/CD tools to support internal projects/research.

Ecosystem Team: This team is intended to work on projects that interface with external parties not including the zcashd core client and handles business development in the phases after initial contact by providing technical insight and support.

Reference Wallet Team 1: This teams current charter is to build a Zcash reference wallet. Follow along with team discussions in the Community Chat #community-wallet-team channel.

  • We have a new iOS developer, @pacu, who has hit the ground running. Thanks to his help, we’re rolling out sample iOS apps. The first proof-of-concept, which streams blocks, is: https://github.com/pacu/gRPC-lightwalletd-PoC. Rock on @pacu!

    • We’ve created a Cocoapod (dependency), and also have Carthage Dependency manager. As if that wasn’t enough, we’ve also collaborated with a community, shielded-support zcash wallet wallet fix reorgs and received feedback and logs from the community wallet to help improve our implementation.
    • This is exciting because 1) most partner wallets want to release Android and iOS apps at the same time and 2) allows us to predict what we need to provide as a level of support.
  • Earlier this month, we hit a few key milestones:

    • achieved 65% test coverage for lightwalletd
    • created dockerfiles for lightwalletd, smaller ones to come
    • merged in all the reorg fixes to lightwalletd
    • got the last general librustcash PR reviewed and merged, along with cleanup PRs
  • Specifically in the last 6 months, the wallet team has made great progress! Highlights include

    • Wallet security audits and continued work to address issues that came out of that;
    • Documentation! Check them out in the ‘read the docs’ section of our site
    • Removed 3/5 barriers identified to adoption: merging in librustzcash PRs, fixing up lightwalletd to be stable, and mainnet support (still to be tested though!).
    • Continued work on the other 2/5 barriers left to adoption: iOS SDK (hey Pacu!) and t <-> z compatibility (lots to do there).

ECC out and about: Meet the team IRL

  • Brad Miller will also be speaking at AvantPay 1, 30th Sept - 1st Oct, an event that converges public and private sector experts tackling business and regulatory challenges for payments, cannabis, and cryptocurrency industries.

  • Our friends at Least Authority are organizing a workshop on zkSNARKs October 17th in Berlin. http://zksnarks.eventbrite.com

  • Zcon2 dates and location announced: June 22 – 24, 2020, in Lima, Peru! Attendee applications will open in December, 2019.:llama::sunrise_over_mountains::llama:

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