Major Zcash Protocol Upgrade to Make It Easier to Use Private Transactions

The Electric Coin Company (ECC), the organization behind the development of Zcash (ZEC), is reportedly planning to make the privacy-oriented cryptocurrency as easy to use as making cash payments.

The developers of Zcash will also be adding features to the cryptocurrency which would further enhance its privacy.

Zcash Should Be Usable by Billions of People by 2050

Initially developed and launched in 2016 by the Zcash founding team, which included Zooko Wilcox, a Colorado-based computer security expert, the privacy coin currently has a market capitalization of around $778 million.

During the annual Zcon1 conference, held recently in Split, Croatia, Zcash’s development team explained how they intend to greatly improve the existing privacy coin network. Nathan Wilcox, the Chief Engineer at ECC, noted:

I think we should make Zcash usable by 10 billion people by 2050 if we can.

The current architecture and codebase of the Zcash blockchain network closely resembles that of Bitcoin (BTC), the flagship cryptocurrency. However, Zcash (like BTC) faces significant scalability challenges and its development team intends to make modifications to its protocol that would allow it to handle thousands - or even millions - of transactions per second (TPS).

Using Sharding to Scale the Zcash Platform

As explained during the conference, the changes to the Zcash platform will most likely involve major modifications to its existing blockchain network. In order to scale the current platform, Zcash’s development team is considering the use of “sharding” - which involves splitting the crypto's network into subnetworks and processing the data associated with them separately.

This type of implementation ensures that the network can handle a significantly large number of transactions, thus achieving considerably greater throughput.

New Zcash Design Could Be “Entirely New Protocol”

To implement sharding on Zcash, the platform’s developers claim the current privacy coin network will have to be built (again) from scratch - or the ground up. This, according to Daira Hopwood, a Product Designer and Software Engineer at ECC, who noted that the new Zcash design could potentially be an “entirely new protocol and blockchain.”

Some key design considerations, while making updates to Zcash, would be to allow users’ ZEC holdings to be transferred to the upgraded privacy coin network. Efforts will be made to ensure that the crypto’s existing users do not lose their coins during the transition process, ECC’s team noted.

Zcash’s Private Transactions Not Being Widely-Used

Notably, one of Zcash’s major challenges, which the upgrade intends to address, is that hardly anyone is using the cryptocurrency’s private transactions (TXs). While private TXs are the default setting on leading privacy coin Monero (XMR), the Zcash network does not enable private transactions by default.

At present, less than 2% of ZEC transactions are private, however the planned upgrade will reportedly aim to resolve this issue - in order to make it easier for a larger number of users of use private TXs.

Project’s Development Requires Sustainability

To ensure that the project’s development is sustainable, its developers believe that ECC and the Zcash Foundation (an organization that also supports Zcash’s development) will have to continue to work cooperatively.

There also needs to be adequate funding for the project in order for it to achieve its long-term development goals. Currently, the day-to-day operations of the ECC and the Zcash Foundation are mainly funded through mining rewards. However, compensation via mining will reportedly end at some point next year.