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Wednesday, 06/16/2021 12:11:50 PM

Wednesday, June 16, 2021 12:11:50 PM

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Zcash Upcoming Upgrade First Step in Move Away From Trusted Setup

The Electric Coin Company (ECC) will soon activate the testnet of its Network Upgrade 5 (NU5) for its privacy coin zcash (ZEC). This upgrade features multiple Zcash Improvement Proposals (ZIPs), which could eventually launch to the mainnet.

Founded in 2016, Zcash grew out of an academic approach to creating a coin that focuses on privacy. Unlike cryptocurrencies like bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum (ETH), the zcash blockchain transactions can have their metadata hidden.

As such, the updates to the coin are heavily based on increasing its utility as well as the continued effective privacy of its users.

The activation of the NU5 testnet is a key step in moving the system from its original shielding system, zk-SNARKs, to the Halo proving system.

This change aims to address two aspects of the privacy coin. They are moving Zcash from a trusted setup and upgrading the protocol’s underlying cryptography.

In addition, the upgrade brings with it unified addresses. This will give users a single Zcash address that is compatible across all Zcash value pools. Currently, users have to have multiple address types, which isn’t efficient.

“Unified addresses increase interoperability between wallets and exchanges, improving the overall user experience of Zcash,” explains Josh Swihart, VP of Growth at ECC.

The Zcash NU5 testnet will officially activate on July 1. This will be followed by a mainnet launch in October, coinciding with the planned Halo Arc release.

“For end-users, NU5 means Zcash will no longer rely on a trusted setup, and shielding funds will be easier than ever. NU5 is supported by the Halo Arc product suite, which includes mobile wallet SDKs to help developers integrate Zcash’s latest features in their applications,” says Swihart.

Overall, the Halo Arc product suite includes ZcashD, ECC reference wallet, and NU5-compatible wallet disks, which feature auto-shielding, auto-migration, and improved note management.

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