Blog – Zcash https://z.cash Privacy-protecting, digital currency built on strong science Tue, 16 Oct 2018 18:32:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://z.cash/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/cropped-zcash-logo-fullcolor-512sq-32x32.png Blog – Zcash https://z.cash 32 32 Sapling Transaction Anatomy https://z.cash/blog/sapling-transaction-anatomy/ https://z.cash/blog/sapling-transaction-anatomy/#respond Tue, 16 Oct 2018 14:45:44 +0000 https://z.cash/?p=5059 With the Sapling activation approaching, we’re continuing our education on what users and third-party services can expect. We recently announced […]

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With the Sapling activation approaching, we’re continuing our education on what users and third-party services can expect. We recently announced the Sapling turnstile and what users should anticipate with this feature. In this post, we’re going to look at the Sapling transaction anatomy.

Legacy Shielded Transactions and JoinSplits

Just after the launch of Zcash, we wrote an introduction on the Anatomy of A Zcash Transaction.

Basic Zcash spend types include public, shielding, deshielding and shielded

The basic spend types will also apply after Sapling activation but there are some nuanced changes to how shielded addresses appear in transactions.

In transactions involving legacy shielded addresses, the zero-knowledge proof operation is referred to as a JoinSplit. A JoinSplit consumes either one or two input values and creates either one or two output values. These input and output values are referred to as notes.

A JoinSplit does not reveal whether one or two notes were actually consumed or created. A transaction requiring the consumption or creation of more than two notes uses multiple JoinSplits.

Explorer view of a multiple joinsplit transaction

The transaction above shows a fully-shielded payment requiring multiple JoinSplits. You don’t get much information from this other than the transaction consumed or created many notes.

Sapling Shielded Transactions

Due to the efficiency improvements in Sapling, shielded transactions using the new Sapling addresses look slightly different. They still consume and create notes but do not employ JoinSplit operations.

Instead, the new Sapling operation is composed of spends and outputs.  These include detail on the exact number of notes consumed or created in transactions.

To compare, take a look at a testnet Sapling transaction:

Explorer view of a testnet Sapling shielded transaction

Notice that the explorer shows one shielded spend (consumed note) and two shielded outputs (created notes).

It’s likely that this transaction consumed a note to send part of its balance to another address and the remainder as change sent back to the original address. However, they may have sent their entire note balance to two addresses and had no change. We can’t know for sure.

If a sender, Alice, needed to create a payment which sent a single Sapling shielded address the entire balance from her transparent address (perhaps she is completing a Sapling turnstile migration), then the explorer would show zero shielded spends and 1 shielded output.

User Impacts

We do not think the change in transaction anatomy should directly impact how Sapling shielded addresses are used but we do think it’s important for users to be aware, no matter how minor of an effect.

For example, services tracking Zcash blockchain activity such as block explorers will be able to distinguish the type of shielded address used (legacy vs Sapling). They could even add new labels to the interfaces so users can distinguish as well.

Everything else about shielded transactions remains the same including value, address and the memo remaining protected and transaction fees remaining visible.

Stay tuned for our next post on what users should expect with the Sapling activation. If you have any questions about Sapling transaction anatomy, we recommend bringing them to the community chat or forum.

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New Release: 2.0.1 https://z.cash/blog/new-release-2-0-1/ Mon, 15 Oct 2018 11:45:58 +0000 https://z.cash/?p=5430 This release introduces Sapling support into the wallet RPC of the Zcash node software! Sapling Activation Mainnet This release is […]

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This release introduces Sapling support into the wallet RPC of the Zcash node software!

Sapling Activation

Mainnet

This release is consensus-compatible with the Sapling network upgrade and adds significant support in the zcashd wallet RPC. We’re encouraging all users and miners to upgrade as soon as possible. The first block of Sapling will be block 419200, which is expected to be mined on the 28th of October 2018, the second anniversary of Zcash’s official launch. More information on the upcoming Sapling network upgrade can be found below:

Testnet

Sapling has activated on the testnet at block 280000. If you are running a v2.0.1 node, you no longer need to specify -experimentalfeatures and -developersapling to use Sapling functionality on testnet. If you are running an older v2.0.0 node, please upgrade to version v2.0.1 which introduced a consensus rule change to allow min difficulty blocks to be mined from block 299188, thereby splitting the chain.

Other Notable Changes

Sapling RPC Support

This release contains support for Sapling RPC functionality on mainnet, enabling the sending and receiving of Sapling shielded funds.

Hierarchical Deterministic Key Generation

All Sapling addresses will use hierarchical deterministic key generation according to ZIP 32 (keypath m/32'/133'/k' on mainnet). Transparent and Sprout addresses will still use traditional key generation.

Master seeds of HD wallets, regardless of when they have been created, can be used to re-generate all possible Sapling private keys. Regular backups are still necessary, however, in order to ensure that transparent and Sprout addresses are not lost.

A future release will support the importing and restoration of HD wallets.

Fix Signing Raw Transactions with Unsynced Offline Nodes

In signrawtransaction we determine the consensus branch ID (which we then later use to construct the transaction) using the chain height. We now also consider the APPROX_RELEASE_HEIGHT , as this is a better estimation than 0 for the height of the chain if we are unsynced. We have also added an additional parameter to signrawtransaction to allow manually overriding the consensus branch ID that zcashd determines we are on.

Summary of the Changes Included in this Release

  1. Allow minimum-difficulty blocks on testnet (#3559)
  2. Enable Sapling features on mainnet (#3537)
  3. Use ZIP 32 for all Sapling spending keys (#3492)
  4. Fix signing raw transaction with unsynced offline node (#3520)
  5. Sapling support for persisting wallet to disk (#3517)
  6. Add Sapling RPC support to z_shieldcoinbase (#3518)
  7. Add Sapling RPC support to z_listunspent (#3510)
  8. Add Sapling RPC support to z_listreceivedbyaddress (#3499)
  9. Add Sapling RPC support to z_importwallet and z_exportwallet (#3491)
  10. Add Sapling RPC support to z_sendmany (#3489)
  11. Add Sapling RPC support to z_getbalance and z_gettotalbalance (#3436)
  12. Track Sapling notes and nullifiers in the wallet (in-memory only, no persistence to disk) (#3422)
  13. Make NU peer management logic upgrade-agnostic (#3512)
  14. Generate an ovk to encrypt outCiphertext for Sapling t-addr senders (#3516)
  15. Windows cross-compile support (#3172)

To view a complete list of changes, please see the 2.0.1 milestone.

For information on specific Sapling RPC parameter changes, please see the Network Upgrade Developer guide on using zcashd unmodified.

 

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Everyone. https://z.cash/blog/everyone/ Tue, 02 Oct 2018 00:00:45 +0000 https://z.cash/?p=5232 The Zcash brand is a sacred trust.Between us, you, them, we. It represents years of innovative thinking by brilliant scientists, […]

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The Zcash brand is a sacred trust.
Between us, you, them, we.

It represents years of innovative thinking by brilliant scientists, cryptographers and engineers.
But Zcash is not science for the sake of science.
Zcash is not engineering for the sake of engineering.

The mission is broader.

Zcash was built as a means to empower everyone with economic freedom and opportunity.

To date, we have done a good job of informing and engaging fellow scientists and engineers with details on zk-SNARKs and elliptic curves.

Beginning late October, Sapling will bring the power of shielded transactions to more people. Our brand and messaging should include them.

We hope that the refreshed brand and website reflect our clear and profound mission,
inviting everyone to join us as we struggle together in this grand experiment — to shake financial foundations
and build a future that honors all people, for all time.

 

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Perspectives on Regulation from Van Valkenburgh https://z.cash/blog/perspectives-on-regulation-from-van-valkenburgh/ https://z.cash/blog/perspectives-on-regulation-from-van-valkenburgh/#respond Sat, 29 Sep 2018 13:29:42 +0000 https://z.cash/?p=5053 We’re changing things up this week and presenting a three-video set featuring Peter Van Valkenburgh, Director of Research at Coin […]

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We’re changing things up this week and presenting a three-video set featuring Peter Van Valkenburgh, Director of Research at Coin Center. Van Valkenburgh is also a member of the Zcash Foundation Board of Directors.

In the first clip, Van Valkenburgh discusses the three main branches of regulatory policy that touch cryptocurrency, covering topics ranging from ICOs to anti-money laundering.

“… I think the warrant requirement for investigations into your financial bank records might be reasonable. That’s a big part of why I believe in privacy-protecting technologies like Zcash.” – P. Van Valkenburgh

In the second segment, Van Valkenburgh recounts how a recent approval by the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) signals a positive step forward in the relationship between privacy-protecting technologies and regulatory compliance.

“… The decision of the Department of Financial Services to allow Gemini to list Zcash as one of their currency pairs — Zcash to dollars — was a pretty encouraging moment.” – P. Van Valkenburgh

The final video in this set features Van Valkenburgh’s views on how to achieve regulatory objectives related to law enforcement, in a world where new technologies like privacy on the blockchain exist.

“… I have not seen or heard of anyone calling specifically for heavy-handed regulation, in the way that you have in some other countries around the world, for a ban, or anything like that, or even for direct regulation of those who do protocol development in these technologies.” – P. Van Valkenburgh

A library of prior videos in the Perspectives series is available on the Zcash YouTube channel, including these features:

On Privacy:

Eran Tromer Zash Founding Scientist, Associate Professor at Tel Aviv University and Associate Research Scientist at Columbia University on Privacy
Zooko Wilcox Zcash Founder and CEO on the History of Privacy
Linda Xie Co-Founder of Scalar Capital on Bitcoin Traceability
Zcash CTO Nathan Wilcox on Privacy
Ethereum Founder and Chief Scientist Vitalik Buterin on Privacy
Coin Center Director of Research and Zcash Foundation Board Member Peter Van Valkenburgh on Privacy
Industry Thought Leader Jill Carlson on Privacy

On Governance:

Nathan Wilcox on Zcash Governance
Jonathan Zeppettini (JZ) on Decred Governance
Vitalik Buterin Discusses On-chain Governance

On Regulation:

Sean Bowe on Privacy and Regulation
Jack Gavigan on Regulation and Privacy-Protecting Technology

On Sapling:

Zcash Engineer Sean Bowe
Zcash Engineer Ariel Gabizon

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Perspectives on Privacy and Regulation from Gavigan and Bowe https://z.cash/blog/perspectives-on-privacy-and-regulation-from-gavigan-and-bowe/ Thu, 20 Sep 2018 00:00:00 +0000 https://z.cash/blog/perspectives-on-privacy-and-regulation-from-gavigan-and-bowe/ This week’s Perspectives series continues with a discussion about the intersection of privacy and regulation. Jack Gavigan, the Zcash Company’s […]

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This week’s Perspectives series continues with a discussion about the intersection of privacy and regulation.

Jack Gavigan, the Zcash Company’s Chief Operations Officer, explains why cryptocurrencies are a wake up call for regulators and the argument for privacy-protecting technology.

“… We talked to policymakers to help them understand this technology [Zcash], help them understand the implications that it has for policy-making, for law enforcement, for regulation, for preventing money laundering and terrorist financing. And once they learn about it, they start to understand that is not all that different from say, something like cash.” J. Gavigan

Sean Bowe, an Engineer at Zcash Company, explains why he believes privacy is a human right and his rationale for maintaining an optimistic outlook about government regulation.

“I’m most optimistic about the fact that governments, especially regulators, are beginning to understand that privacy is necessary for finance and that decentralized models of financial activity, such as bitcoin and crypto currencies and so on, are important and that privacy is incredibly important for those models to function correctly.” S. Bowe

A library of prior videos in the Perspectives series is available on the Zcash YouTube channel. Each link appears below, as well.

On Privacy:

Nathan Wilcox on Zcash Governance
Jonathan Zeppettini (JZ) on Decred Governance
Vitalik Buterin Discusses On-chain Governance
Eran Tromer Zash Founding Scientist, Associate Professor at Tel Aviv University and Associate Research Scientist at Columbia University
Zooko Wilcox Zcash Founder and CEO
Linda Xie Co-Founder of Scalar Capital
Zcash CTO Nathan Wilcox
Ethereum Founder and Chief Scientist Vitalik Buterin
Coin Center Director of Research and Zcash Foundation Board Member Peter Van Valkenburgh
Industry Thought Leader Jill Carlson

On Sapling:
Zcash Engineer Sean Bowe
Zcash Engineer Ariel Gabizon

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Perspectives on Governance from Wilcox, Zeppettini, Buterin https://z.cash/blog/perspectives-on-governance-from-wilcox-zeppettini-buterin/ Thu, 13 Sep 2018 00:00:00 +0000 https://z.cash/blog/perspectives-on-governance-from-wilcox-zeppettini-buterin/ This week’s Perspectives series focuses on governance. Nathan Wilcox, the Zcash Company’s Chief Technology Officer, says the approach to governance […]

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This week’s Perspectives series focuses on governance.

Nathan Wilcox, the Zcash Company’s Chief Technology Officer, says the approach to governance in this early phase of the company’s history is to keep the process simple to understand and let people choose what they want to do. Zcash utilizes a two-tiered model for protocol upgrades, introduced with the Overwinter activation.

“Technically, we want the users to be safe and have a choice.” — N. Wilcox

Jonathan Zeppettini (JZ) is the International Operations Lead at Decred, a cryptocurrency with a strong focus on community input, open governance, and sustainable funding and development. It utilizes a hybrid “proof-of-work” and “proof-of-stake” system which grants coin holders all the power to decide the consensus rules, as well as the direction of the project. This link elaborates on Decred’s model: Introduction to Decred governance.

“The idea with Decred is we … want to be able to integrate all of the best ideas from the space. So what we did first is the really hard part, building a technical foundation to be able to have that kind of thing happen. Bring features in and have controlled hard forks on-chain, and go from there.” — JZ

Vitalik Buterin, the Founder and Chief Scientist of the Ethereum Project, discusses why he had a change of heart about on-chain governance and how coin voting governance manages to fail in allocating capital.

“So, a couple of years ago, I would of been more firmly in the … camp that says there should be explicit on-chain governance, and now I’m absolutely against that, and I think that stuff is crazy.” — V. Buterin

For more on governance, check out a recent discussion by some notable thought leaders that recently took place at Zcon0: Keynote Panel: Cryptocurrency Governance.

A library of prior videos in the Perspectives series is available on the Zcash YouTube channel; each link appears below as well.

On Privacy:
Eran Tromer Zash Founding Scientist, Associate Professor at Tel Aviv University and Associate Research Scientist at Columbia University
Zooko Wilcox Zcash Founder and CEO
Linda Xie Co-Founder of Scalar Capital
Zcash CTO Nathan Wilcox
Ethereum Founder and Chief Scientist Vitalik Buterin
Coin Center Director of Research and Zcash Foundation Board Member Peter Van Valkenburgh
Industry Thought Leader Jill Carlson

On Sapling:
Zcash Engineer Sean Bowe
Zcash Engineer Ariel Gabizon

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Sapling Addresses & Turnstile Migration https://z.cash/blog/sapling-addresses-turnstile-migration/ Tue, 11 Sep 2018 00:00:00 +0000 https://z.cash/blog/sapling-addresses-turnstile-migration/ The Sapling network upgrade is a major feature enhancement to the Zcash network targeted to activate on October 28th, 2018. […]

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The Sapling network upgrade is a major feature enhancement to the Zcash network targeted to activate on October 28th, 2018. We’ve outlined the usability and security improvements coming with Sapling but now it’s time to take a closer look at what they mean for users and ecosystem services. This is the first of a short series on Sapling features in order to clarify expectations and boost understanding.

Sapling Addresses

The current version of Zcash supports the original Sprout shielded address which start with “zc”. These addresses infamously require around 1.5 gigabytes of computer memory and 40 seconds to create a zero-knowledge transaction, a severe limitation in their usability.

Upon activation, there will be a new type of shielded address to support the improved efficiency of Zcash’s cryptography introduced in Sapling. These Sapling shielded addresses start with a “zs” and are slightly shorter in length (78 characters vs Sprout’s 95 characters). While we don’t anticipate the shorter address to enhance usability significantly, the time and memory requirements to create transactions will. To do the same function, Sapling shielded addresses take only a few seconds and 40 megabytes of memory on a modern computer. This equates to a time reduction of over 90% and a memory reduction of over 97%!

Migrating From Sprout

Sprout shielded addresses will be supported for the foreseeable future; however, users should migrate funds to Sapling addresses to keep up with ecosystem support. Expect third-party services to take advantage of Sapling improvements in the weeks and months after activation.

Monetary Auditing

In addition to moving funds to the more efficient Sapling addresses, the migration will act as a monetary auditing mechanism. The trade-off between shielding value and auditing the circulating supply raise valid concerns. Like any valuable asset, preserving the scarcity of ZEC is an important driver of long-term, sustainable value. For example, if gold counterfeiters could successfully sell fools’ gold, the perceived loss in scarcity would drive the value down over time.

Zcash engineers have gone through great lengths to protect the network from any deviation in the expected ZEC in circulation. We recommend reading about Zcash’s public parameters to understand counterfeiting risks and mitigation techniques. Regardless of how low the probability might be, taking the extra step to detect counterfeit coins is a valuable reassurance.

Sapling Turnstile

To audit existing shielded ZEC, we’ve implemented a process we call the Sapling turnstile. Users will be required to send funds held in old Sprout shielded addresses to transparent addresses before sending to new Sapling shielded addresses. There will be no way to send ZEC directly between Sprout and Sapling shielded addresses using the zcashd RPC. To understand how Zcash transactions work between transparent and shielded addresses, read Anatomy of a Zcash Transaction.

Diagram showing the Sapling turnstile

Deshielding ZEC by sending funds from a shielded address to transparent address will link the value to the transparent address. This brings up some important privacy considerations for users. Most importantly, only deshield to unused transparent addresses and never use them again. We explain more about these considerations in our Sapling turnstile documentation.

It is also worth noting that this migration method allows sending ZEC back into Sprout shielded addresses from transparent addresses. As of this post, there is no roadmap for deprecating Sprout shielded addresses but discussions around this topic are ongoing.

We recommend all Sprout shielded addresses be replaced with Sapling shielded addresses after activation. Use the privacy recommendations linked above for migrating funds. Not only do Sapling shielded addresses provide a richer feature set but migrating also contributes to auditing the Zcash monetary supply.

Look out for future blog posts which will cover new features enabled in Sapling shielded addresses like HD wallets, diversified addresses, full viewing keys and more.

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Perspectives on Privacy from Linda Xie, Zooko Wilcox, and Eran Tromer https://z.cash/blog/perspectives-on-privacy-from-linda-xie-zooko-wilcox-and-eran-tromer/ Thu, 06 Sep 2018 00:00:00 +0000 https://z.cash/blog/perspectives-on-privacy-from-linda-xie-zooko-wilcox-and-eran-tromer/ Privacy should not be controversial. Rather, it provides the fundamental protections necessary for economic freedom and shields users from exploitation […]

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Privacy should not be controversial. Rather, it provides the fundamental protections necessary for economic freedom and shields users from exploitation by bad actors. We’ve had these conversations before. This week’s Perspectives highlight what’s traceable, the history of data privacy on the internet, and the implications for the future of cryptocurrencies.

Linda Xie is the co-founder of Scalar Capital and previously a product manager at Coinbase working on compliance investigations. Linda describes how 3rd parties are able to trace Bitcoin transactions and how privacy and compliance can co-exist.

“I even just compare it to what we we’re used to in the existing financial system. We don’t have our entire bank account statement broadcast for everyone to see…”

Zcash founder and CEO, Zooko Wilcox, discusses the 1990’s battle against the use of encryption on the internet, how the United States government’s position shifted over time, and what that may mean for our future.

Eran Tromer, Zcash founding scientist, associate professor at Tel Aviv University and associate research scientist at Columbia University explains why it’s the honest citizen who is penalized when privacy is absent.

All prior videos in the Perspectives series are available on the Zcash YouTube channel or directly below.

On Privacy:

Zcash CTO Nathan Wilcox

Ethereum Founder and Chief Scientist Vitalik Buterin

Coin Center Director of Research and Zcash Foundation Board Member Peter Van Valkenburgh

Industry Thought Leader Jill Carlson

On Sapling:

Zcash Engineer Sean Bowe

Zcash Engineer Ariel Gabizon

Other Topics:

AirTM founder and CEO Ruben Galindo on AirTM and Venezuela

Zcash Company’s Jack Gavigan on JP Morgan

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Perspectives on AirTM and JP Morgan https://z.cash/blog/perspectives-on-airtm-and-jp-morgan/ Thu, 30 Aug 2018 00:00:00 +0000 https://z.cash/blog/perspectives-on-airtm-and-jp-morgan/ The Perspectives series continues with two examples of active cryptocurrency use cases. Ruben Galindo is the founder and CEO of […]

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The Perspectives series continues with two examples of active cryptocurrency use cases.

Ruben Galindo is the founder and CEO of AirTM, which this week announced a $7M Series A, led by BlueYard Capital, to accelerate growth across South America. Ruben describes how AirTM is used and the importance and relevance of cryptocurrency in difficult markets such as Venezuela.

“We believe that by having a free market and by allowing inbound flows of money from larger economies, we help stabilize the economy.” – R. Galindo

Jack Gavigan is the Zcash Company’s COO and worked closely with JP Morgan on the application of Zcash Company-developed technology in JP Morgan’s Quorum. He highlights the work done and implications for disintermediation in traditional financial markets.

All prior videos in the Perspectives series are available on the Zcash YouTube channel or directly below.

On Privacy:

Zcash CTO Nathan Wilcox

Ethereum Founder and Chief Scientist Vitalik Buterin

Coin Center Director of Research and Zcash Foundation Board Member Peter Van Valkenburgh

Industry Thought Leader Jill Carlson

On Sapling:

Zcash Engineer Sean Bowe

Zcash Engineer Ariel Gabizon

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Sapling https://z.cash/blog/sapling/ Tue, 28 Aug 2018 00:00:00 +0000 https://z.cash/blog/sapling/ By now, you have probably heard about Sapling, the second “software-updates-required” network upgrade for Zcash. Sapling introduces significant efficiency improvements […]

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By now, you have probably heard about Sapling, the second “software-updates-required” network upgrade for Zcash.

Sapling introduces significant efficiency improvements that will pave the way for broad mobile, exchange and vendor adoption of Zcash shielded addresses. To learn more,  read our recent post about What’s New in Sapling.

What Users Need to Know

The Sapling upgrade process mirrors that of our first network upgrade, Overwinter, which successfully activated earlier this year. Simply keep your Zcash software updated to version 2.0.0 or later, and you’ll be automatically upgraded to the new main chain along with everyone else. As long as your Zcash software is up to date, you will not miss the network upgrade.

Only those who are running a full node and have manually configured their client to continue running legacy software will  be left behind. This network upgrade is not expected to result in a fork of the blockchain or the creation of a new currency.

The first version of zcashd that supports Sapling is 2.0.0, which was released on August 16th, 2018. This release set the Sapling activation block height on the main network to be 419200, which targets October 28th, 2018. Once activated, the main chain will start enforcing the new consensus rules.

We anticipate Sapling to be a significant step toward a shielded ecosystem.  Shielded address support by third-party services is critical to make this happen, but integration is not as easy as transparent addresses. For this reason, we expect shielded address adoption to happen in the months after activation. Making sure third parties are ready for the activation itself is the primary focus of our ecosystem team.

Getting Developers and Ecosystem Services Sapling-Ready

We have begun reaching out to third-party developers for their feedback and to offer any support needed for a smooth Sapling activation. The network upgrade guidelines list what is necessary (if anything) from third parties to get ready for Sapling.

If you have any questions, see the network upgrade FAQ and the Sapling information portal, and/or join the forum. For more information on our ongoing testing of Sapling, check out the #zcashd-team channel in the community chat.

Sapling activation is a culmination of years of research and development, bringing us one step closer to widespread adoption of an open, permissionless and private payment system.

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