Zcash Weekly Developers Update 2-3-17

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By Paige Peterson (Weekly Updates are republished with permission from Paige)

This week’s engineering efforts were rather split with the Construct SF conference happening. A few engineers joined the event for networking and to give presentations. Zooko gave a general overview of Zcash and a workshop/presentation was held focusing on Project Alchemy. Word from the boots on ground is that the conference had more business folk than anticipated so both presentations were modified last minute to be slightly less technical. Hopefully the video recordings from the event will be out in the near future which we’ll certainly share via Twitter.

Other than the event, engineering focused some time on continued discussions around payment disclosure and the requirements for implementing the simplest version of it for which we can build from. More discussion on the tension between forward-secrecy (enhances privacy) and determinism (enhances retrievability) came up with the expectation that the protocol would be able to support either depending on what the user prefers for each of their transactions. The next steps here are writing a spec, writing code to store payment disclosure information, figure out the best way to integrate versioning and finally implementing the relevant user commands for both generating and consuming the payment disclosures.

In the meantime, we’re also working on improving logging so services can more easily find the operation results when sending to a shielded address (issue #2057). Relatedly, in the RPC, we’re working on an added call to list transactions sent or received in the wallet since a given block height (issue #1333).

We also worked on various pull requests slated for 1.0.6 including integrating a flag when compiling to ignore the mining code (PR #1863), giving miners more options for receiving coinbase transactions including P2PKH and mining to a single address (PR #1965), pulling in the ZMQ feature included in bitcoin v0.12.0 (PR #2050), allowing users to avoid needless scanning when importing shielded addresses (PR #2052), showing all components of transfers to shielded addresses with getrawtransaction and decoderawtransaction in the RPC (PR# 2054) and a flag for experimental features (PR #2056).

As part of our 3 week release cycle, the development work this week focused on triaging issues which have a good chance of getting into 1.0.6 while next week will be refining the list of issues to get a better grasp on what will actually make it into the release (slated for February 13th). So next week will focus on review and final touches to pull requests. We will also be having a topical meeting to focus on delegated proving which allows clients running on under resourced hardware to hand the intensive tasks off to a third party. Another way to view this is light client support for transactions to shielded addresses.

We also quietly launched the revamped http://z.cash website last Friday even though in last week’s update I said it would be coming this week. There’s still some updates on messaging and minor tweaks needed but let us know what you think!

And finally, you don’t miss our first Show & Tell with David Mercer (@radix42) later today who shared some exciting news this week for Windows users.

Stay tuned for next week’s update!    -Paige