Releases & Upgrades
This week several of our engineers worked together on setting up a pre-testnet Overwinter activation test network. The idea here is to have a better idea of the tests we’ll need and any tweaks or updates necessary to properly evaluate the actual testnet activation which targets March 19th (testnet block height 207500).
We also have been organizing issues to address for the next release, 1.1.0. As a reminder, if all goes smoothly with the Overwinter activation on testnet, 1.1.0 will include the main net activation height which targets June 25th and as a result, will be the first release that is Overwinter compatible. One week before the 1.1.0 release is set as a go/no-go target for confirming if we’re ready for adding the Overwinter activation height on the main network.
Specification for the Sapling upgrade is undergoing final touchups which are needed before audits of the design can begin. We’ve also begun planning Sapling integration tasks. Our current roadmap sets the 1.1.1 release to have Sapling implemented and a testnet activation height (in the same way 1.0.15 set Overwinter testnet activation) and if all goes well with testing, the next release to be 2.0.0 with a main network activation block height.
If keeping track of these releases and projected dates is confusing, have no fear! Another project we’ve been working on this week is setting up the internal visual roadmap for upcoming releases and network upgrades we’ve been using to be accessible publicly. This will make communicating our roadmap to the community much clearer as we can adjust projections where necessary and include details of contingency plans in case either network upgrade needs to be delayed. While we’re hopeful to get the network upgrades out as planned, our number one priority is security and stability of the network (as it always has been) and will not hesitate to delay if it makes sense.
Documentation & Website/branding revamp
The onboarding of new engineers is allowing for faster progress on some tasks which have been neglected or put to the side based on priorities. One of these is documentation! We’re really excited about archiving a lot of old documentation and moving the important stuff into one central place. In addition to consolidating our current documentation (i.e. from the wikis on the Zcash repo Github and the docs in the zcash source) we’re planning for a unified documentation of the API which include all the Zcash specifc RPC calls (i.e.
z_* calls) and the calls inherited from bitcoin.
We’re simultaneously making our first steps towards revamping the website and providing better channels for folks who visit the Zcash website for different reasons (new users, academics, developers, etc.) This is going to be a several month task but we think it’s well worth the wait for something we and the community can be proud of.
This weekend we’re participating in a conference focused on promoting accessibility to blockchain technologies called moinBlockchain and will be presenting on cryptocurrency usability and while we’re there doing some informal surveying on folks use of different wallets.
We’re also planning on a new usability spotlight program to give the opportunity for the Zcash community to engage in some of the UX research we’ve been pursuing. Stay tuned and let us know if there is a particular wallet or UX you’d like to see highlighted for community review.
Latin America – Zcash users in Latin American countries might have heard of the service called AirTM. Their support for Zcash was announced this week. We’re asking for Latin American Zcashers to check out their services which pair someone looking to exchange a currency with a cashier who facilitates the trade. Cashiers who facilitate Zcash trades are important to boost liquidity of ZEC in their market and have the opportunity to help someone in need of exchanging to or from another currency while making a commission. And let us know what you think of the experience!
Zcon0 – reminder to checkout the application for the first Zcash conference, Zcon0 being organized by the Zcash Foundation.
Powers Of Tau – it was announced this week that the Powers of Tau ceremony being hosted by the Zcash Foundation is planned to conclude by March 15th. The next phase of the parameter generation is a circuit specific MPC for the upcoming Sapling and will begin soon with more details to come.