The ZCash network aims to privatize transactions between shielded accounts. ZCash uses zero-knowledge proofs known as zk-SNARKs, which allow for secure transactions between two parties, whilst providing a mathematical proof that this transaction exists and is verifiable.
At block 347,500, the 'Overwinter' upgrade will go live and according to ZCash, users will have three months to upgrade their ZCash software. The main features of the update are improvements in replay protection, higher speed of transfers and masking of version numbers.
According to a ZCash blog post:
“The purpose of Overwinter is to strengthen the protocol for future network upgrades, paving the way for the ZCash Sapling network later this year”
In terms of transaction formatting, the new format “v3” is introduced, which will be safer compared to the “v2” format used previously, due to a more secure 4-byte version for replay protection. With the aim of organizing transactions with the future updates, “v3” transactions will be paired to the version group ID, such that duplicating any transactions becomes impossible. In addition, a new transaction expiry feature will allow for optimised performance by limiting block height.
Unlike other well-known hard forks such as Bitcoin Cash, the ZCash Overwinter update is not a contentious hard fork resulting in two separate blockchains, but planned hard fork initiated by the project team such that new features and core changes can be made to the underlying protocol.
According to CryptoCompare ZCash is currently ranked 26th among cryptocurrencies by market capitalization ($709.82 million). Its unique features and team of cryptocurrency professionals make it one of the most innovative cryptocurrencies on the market.