Two years after the launch of its Genesis block (Oct 28, 2016), Zcash is becoming a fully shielded, private-by-default Blockchain. Sapling will enable Zcash to have full anonymous, secure & private transactions, embracing the way cryptocurrencies were meant to be from the beginning, stemming from their cypherpunk roots.
Zcash is using the zk-Snarks cryptography protocol, created by MIT scientists, to encrypt transactions. Until now, anonymous “shielded transactions” weren’t enabled by default and were an extra option, but from now on, with Sapling upgrade, transactions will become faster and will require much less computing power to be processed. More specifically:
From Sprout to Sapling
Up until recently, the shielding of a transaction required a lot of RAM memory (>3gb), but with Sapling zk-Snarks will be able to anonymize transactions with only 40mb of RAM. This means that now it’s possible to perform shielded transactions on a mobile phone & on exchanges.
With this performance upgrade shielding a TX will require <1 second, increasing the speed significantly.
Improved Key Shielding: Hardware wallet support & Speed boost
Previously the spending and proving keys were required to be on the same device. With Sapling, the spending key can be separated and be only used for signing the transaction and generating the proving key, while being kept on a secure device (e.g., hardware wallets). This way the proving key which makes all the processing doesn’t need to be secured, allowing for much higher speeds.
In conclusion, users will now need to create a new Sapling address, eventually leading to a full transition and adoption. Sprout addresses started with “zc” while Sapling addresses will now start with “zs”. With this upgrade, Zcash, during its 2nd yearly anniversary, improves the whole sector of the private cryptocurrencies, while approaching its goal of becoming a global premier commerce platform with improved usability.
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