Zcash Developers Update 4-28-18

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By Paige Peterson

This week’s update will be based on the various engineering teams first sprint. We’re tracking each team’s progress in Github projects so you can see a more detailed view of what they’re tackling each two-week sprint and what they have in their longer-term backlogs.

Zcashd Team
This team focus on development of the zcashd client but stands distinct from consensus protocol (which is a separate team).

The complete and released columns show 5 pull requests being merged as a result of this sprint and several issues being addressed such as MacOS build support and various researching and development work for support on Windows and what needs to be done to make sure Overwinter is supported on WinZEC. We also fixed a minor bug that was discovered in one of the audits which involved pulling in a change already made in bitcoin.

We also established a more succinct process for user support tickets and how they should be properly passed to the suitable engineering teams for addressing. User support tickets are a high priority for us so streamlining their fixes this way is important and most of the issues are related to the zcashd client, making this especially relevant for this team. Once a fix is implemented, the user support team will resume communication with the user and do follow-up on whether their problem was resolved.

Consensus Protocol Team
This team focuses on the Zcash consensus protocol current and future upgrades which include R&D, specification and interfacing with the ZIP process.

This team is heavily focused on consensus implementations necessary to get Sapling ready for activation on testnet. As a reminder: the testnet activation block height is planned to be included in 1.1.1 (as happened with Overwinter in 1.0.15). A lot was completed this sprint including initial support for the Sapling transaction format and pulling in the Sapling libraries which have been in heavy development and auditing over the last several months. While the new MPC generation ceremony for Sapling circuit parameters is not complete, separate parameters were generated to be ready for testnet activation and implemented into the consensus code this sprint.

Development Infrastructure team
This team works on making sure developers have the tools and infrastructure they need to efficiently collaborate, design, implement, review, test, and ship high quality projects.

Much of the work done in this last sprint focused on improving the zcash deterministic build environment and moving towards finishing the Sapling circuit MPC.

Ecosystem team
This team is the interface to everything not directly related to zcashd or the protocol and include support for third-party tools and services. Ecosystem projects developed by Zcash Co. also get handled in this team. Tracking for this team is kept private to prevent information leakage about third-parties.

We’ve been concreting a plan for making sure third-party services are ready for Overwinter andstarted a list of those services which have made statements of readiness for the upgrade in the information portal. We’ll be adding to this list as others follow suit. You’re encouraged to ask services you use to make such a statement and contact us to be added (or if you find statements which aren’t listed, let us know about them by posting in this thread or sending an email).

Some other things this team is working on include upgrading the zcash-bitcore library for Overwinter and a framework for collecting privacy metrics responsibly and reliably for improving Zcash and providing accountability.

Documentation team
This team works on improving the accessibility of zcashd and Zcash overall.

The main project in this team is to transition most of our documentation into a Readthedocs instance. The last month has been focused on gathering all the documentation from various places and staging them into Readthedocs. After we’ve improved the organization a bit, we’ll be ready to release the first iteration for community feedback.

We’re also looking to provide a tutorial for developers which parse Zcash transactions so they know how to update their code for Overwinter.

Finally, one thing we’re interested in doing is making the ZIPs more accessible by pulling them into Readthedocs as well.

Communication & Community
This area is comprised of a few sub-teams including communications (marketing, PR, website), community (events, Zcash Foundation liaisoning, online forums) and business development. These teams are the smallest and have a lot of overlap of individuals, but we’re incredibly keen on expanding our global community team in particular. If you or someone you know (being Zcash enthusiasts) lives in Latin America, India, Asia, Africa and might want to help us engage with developers and users in those regions, be in touch!

Check out the recap of Zooko’s trip to India and our first community spotlight announcement from our blog.

We’re prepping for our participation at Consensus 2018 where we’re hosting some students who were accepted to receive scholarships to attend the event and Zooko being on stage for a discussion with Whit Diffie!

We participated in a panel about Privacy and Identity as part of this week’s Boston Blockchain Week and spoke and had a booth at SHE256 earlier this week.

Finally, Zcon0 planning is coming along well. Folks at the foundation are starting to reach out to folks who applied encouraging them to secure their registration for the event. Those being provided with financial aid will be contacted soon after.

Oh, and definitely check out the latest Foundation blog announcing the newest iteration of their grant program and if you missed it, their announcement of a community governance panel