Sphere by Horizen is a desktop wallet created by the Horizen ecosystem team. It features both lite and full clients, offering wallet functionality that currently supports transparent and soon-to-be deprecated, shielded transactions. Sphere allows funds to be restored using a seed phrase and supports backward and forward transfers between Horizen’s mainchain and sidechains.
Traditionally, Sphere was able to send two different types of transactions: transparent transactions and shielded transactions:
- Transparent Transactions: These are similar to Bitcoin transactions. The details of the transaction, including the sender’s and receiver’s addresses and the transaction amount, are visible on the blockchain. This transparency allows anyone to view and verify transactions, contributing to the network’s auditability.
- Shielded Transactions: In contrast, shielded transactions offer enhanced privacy. They use advanced cryptographic techniques (like zk-SNARKs) to encrypt transaction information. This means the details of the transaction, including who sent or received the funds and the amount, are hidden from public view.
The Need for De-shielding
Horizen has announced that ZEN will be discontinuing support for shielded transactions with the release of Zen v5.0.0. Consequently, Sphere, Horizen’s multifunctional app, will also cease supporting these types of transactions. To ensure the accessibility of their funds, users will need to de-shield any ZEN in a shielded address by transferring it out from the shielded pool.
Who needs to De-shield their ZEN?
The upcoming changes to ZEN and Sphere necessitate action from all users who possess shielded addresses. If you have any ZEN in a shielded address, it’s crucial to de-shield these funds to avoid any loss.
To determine if you need to take any action:
- If You’re Using Lite Mode: If you’ve only used the lite mode in Sphere and never switched to full mode, you don’t need to do anything, as shielded addresses are only available in full mode. Your funds are secure and no action is required on your part.
- If You’re Using Full Mode: In full mode, look through your wallets. If you don’t see any addresses with a small shield icon next to them, you’re all set. No action is needed.
For any address with a shield icon, you should move (de-shield) these funds to a transparent address (one without a shield icon). This is important to ensure your funds remain accessible and secure.
Another check is to look at the prefix of the address. Addresses start differently depending on the network and the type, so this also helps you identify your shielded addresses.
- “zn” for transparent address
- “zc” for shielded address
- “zs” (or rarely “zr” or “zt”) for multisig address
- “zt” for transparent address
- “zc” for shielded address
- “zr” for multisig address
Step-by-step Guide to De-shielding Your ZEN
As a reminder, de-shielding to an exchange deposit address is strongly discouraged. Before you begin de-shielding your shielded addresses in Sphere, it’s important to have at least one transparent address where you can transfer your funds. If you don’t already have a transparent address (any address without a shield icon next to its name, or that is not prefixed with “zc”), you’ll need to create one. Here’s how:
- Open Sphere, login, and on the sidebar select one of your wallets.
- Click on the “Add Address” button.
- Give a name to the new address, and make sure that, if there’s any “Private” checkbox, it remains unchecked.
Once you have a transparent address, you can proceed with the de-shielding process for your shielded addresses.
You can get your new address by hovering over the information icon and clicking on the “copy” button that appears:
Here’s a step-by-step guide to de-shielding your funds in Sphere by Horizen:
- Open Sphere, login, and on the sidebar take a look at your wallets.
- Select the wallet containing a shielded address. If you have multiple wallets with shielded addresses, you’ll need to repeat this process for each one.
- Within each wallet, follow these steps for every shielded address:
- Select the shielded address you want to transfer the funds out of.
- Click on the “Send” tab.
- Enter a regular, transparent address that you own, where you wish to receive the funds.
- Click on the “MAX” button to transfer all the funds from the shielded address.
- Click the “Confirm” button and wait for the transaction to complete.
Once the transaction is successful, you have de-shielded your funds. Repeat this process for every shielded address in your wallets.