One of the hallmark features of the privacy-centric cryptocurrency ZCash is the option to send encrypted, so-called ”shielded transactions”. Shielded transactions are made possible through the use of zero-knowledge proofs called ”zk-SNARKs”.
These transactions, however, require significantly more computational power to perform, validate and record on a blockchain. This has long impeded shielded transactions from reaching mainstream use among casual ZCash users.
This, however, now appears to become something of the past soon, as ZCash is reportedly preparing to roll out its latest hard fork update later today. The update, dubbed Sapling, will supposedly notably improve the overall usability of ZCash.
More specifically, the update is expected to substantially boost the usage of private transactions, as both transaction times and size will be reduced. This, in turn, will make it easier for wallets and cryptocurrency exchanges to accept shielded transactions.
100x Smaller and 6x Faster
The CTO of the ZCash Company, Nathan Wilcox, recently spoke with CoinDesk about the upcoming Sapling protocol. He noted that Sapling will allow shielded transfers to be 100 times smaller in size than previously. Moreover, they will also ”probably” be six times as fast as current transactions.
Furthermore, Wilcox suggested that the Sapling update was an important step toward making ZCash even more privacy-centric. This is mainly through making shielded translations more widely accessible.
”We hope to see a migration toward shielded Sapling adoption, and as that migration continues we hope to transition to privacy-by-default when the time is right,” Wilcox added, indicating that the company foresees shielded transactions becoming more plentiful in the future.
Will Allow Light Clients to Use Shielded Transactions
The Sapling hard fork will reportedly allow ”common Internet-connected computers” to process and receive shielded transactions. At the moment, shielded transactions can only be sent by those running a full blockchain node.
However, once the Sapling update goes live, so-called ”light users” will also be able to send shielded transactions. Moreover, this will also allow users to send anonymous transactions directly from their mobile wallets and mobile devices.
The ultimate aim of adopting the Sapling protocol is that ”transparent transactions”, which are ZCash’s non-private transactions, can eventually be eliminated. This is important as transparent transactions can harm the anonymity of the ZCash transaction when used together with shielded transactions.
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Rasmus Pihl is a writer for Toshi Times by day and an avid follower of the blockchain industry by night. Rasmus holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the Gothenburg School of Business, Economics, and Law and runs a Swedish marketing consulting firm. Moreover, when he isn’t writing for Toshi Times, traveling, working or changing the world in some other capacity, Rasmus is more than likely caught up in postgraduate studies.