Until just recently, the bulletproof protocol launched by Monero (XMR) dominated the crypto space with a resounding success, as it reduced transaction fees by almost 100% (upwards of 97%) and transactional data sizes by 80%. Following the Monero’s blockchain upgrade, Bittrex and Binance, which are dominant crypto exchange platforms, reduced Monero withdrawal fees to a paltry 0.0001XMR (approximately $0.01) in order to accommodate their consumers.
A new kid in the block
All the same, the crypto space is rapidly evolving and in about 19 hours from the time this piece goes to press, Zcash will launch its blockchain upgrade through what it calls “Sapling Protocol.”
Sapling is ZCash blockchain upgrade that seeks to improve efficiency for shielded transactions. Once launched, it will enable users to extensively adopt ZCash shielded addresses. Sapling brings to the table the following improvements:
Improved performance for shielded addresses
Once launched, the network will be able to construct Sapling Z-addresses in just a few seconds using only 40 megabytes of memory.
Decoupled spend authority
The upgrade will allow the hardware that creates a zero-knowledge proof to remain independent from the hardware that signs for the transaction.
The upgrade comes with full viewing keys that enable owners of shielded addresses to view both incoming and outgoing transaction details without revealing their private spending key.
Zero-knowledge proof explained
Just in case you are not aware, shielded ZCash (ZEC) are not mandatory by default. Additionally, they do not utilize the zero-knowledge proof (zk-snarks) technology. While the zero-knowledge proof is undeniably a major technological achievement, it doesn’t augur well with ZEC’s private transactions, which are often cumbersome. This prevents many users from utilizing private transactions. This has been an issue for years, but with the launch of the Sapling protocol, it seems there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
Slated for October 29
The ZCash Sapling Protocol is slated for October 29, 2018, and is believed to offer a practical fix for the issue that has troubled the ZCash network for years and deprived it of privacy-conscious consumers and businesses.
According to Nathan Wilcox, the CTO at ZCash, the impending network upgrade comes with various specifics, which will transform how people conduct private transactions.
“The Sapling Protocol will allow shielded transfers to be completed with about 100 times less memory and probably six or more times faster,” Wilcox said.
The outcome of the upgrade
This major improvement should help clear the issue of transparent transactions, which has weighed down the privacy of the ZCash blockchain.
“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….All [Sapling] is doing improving the performance and the security. Who wouldn’t want that?”
Together with improving the accessibility of private transactions for ZEC users, including both retail and institutional customers, Sapling seeks to create room for “diversified addresses,” a step aimed at helping exchanges in receiving and sending shielded transactions. Importantly, the upgrade comes with a “viewing key,” which will enable users to reveal their transactional and address information on demand, but only if they choose to do so.