After updating the security advisory and announcing the softfork earlier today, some questions came up in slack that it would probably be helpful to answer here on the blog. Here is some info on the upcoming softfork, Bittrex wallet status, a review of the future direction of ZenCash, and the state of the current organization.
When we say we are going to perform a soft fork of ZenCash, what that means is we are going to require all participants in the ZenCash network to do an upgrade to the node software they are running. The upgrade will be required to be implemented by a certain block height, in this case 117,000. Any mining pool or solo miner who is running an older software version that tries to add blocks to the blockchain that will end up with orphaned blocks.
There are multiple chains being created on every blockchain all the time. Usually within a few blocks consensus is reached, and the longest blockchain becomes the blockchain that everyone is mining to, and becomes the historical record. The blocks that were added to the chain that ended up not being used are known as orphans. Orphaned blocks happen regularly, usually for only a short period of time until consensus is reached among the nodes and miners.
The intention of the ZenCash team in forcing the software update is to have the entire system running on a version of the software that won’t accept blocks that may contain transaction replays. Everyone who owns ZenCash should want this. The miners, the pool operators, and everyone else involved with Zencash should want this too. Since everyone wants the system to work well, the expectation is that everyone is going to upgrade their software before the soft fork rules take place.
What the ZenCash team is planning is called a soft fork because that is what it technically is. It could also be termed a mandatory software upgrade for everyone on the system. But by calling it a soft fork everyone who operates nodes understands they need to get their nodes upgraded before the deadline, or their systems won’t be participating anymore.
Sometimes discussion of a hard fork happens when there are two or more groups that are part of a project who have ideas on how things should go, and these ideas are incompatible. If it gets to a point where one group breaks off and starts a new codebase, and encourages miners, mining pools, and exchange operators to join them, and they do, then that is a contentious hard fork. It is why the words hard fork sometimes have a bad connotation in the world of cryptocurrency. That is not the situation we are in now, and we are talking with our mining pool operators and Bittrex on a regular basis to keep everyone informed of the plan.
A very common question I see on the Slack is why won’t the Zclassic and ZenCash wallets open on Bittrex? It is because Bittrex wants to prevent a transaction replay from happening to the ZenCash funds on their exchange. They really want every solo miner and mining pool out there to be mining blocks that won’t accept transactions that can contain a replay of a Zclassic transaction. The ZenCash soft fork makes sure that happens, and after it is complete Bittrex will have a chance to evaluate and make a decision on the Zclassic and ZenCash wallets based on all miners and pools running the updated software.
It will be great to get past this issue, and get on to building the ZenCash cryptocurrency we have been planning all along. We want to have the abilities of Zcash, but focused on the needs of people, not big business. We want to have usable wallets on every platform, including hardware wallets. And not just wallets on mobile devices that are limited to transparent transactions, but ones that can do shielded, anonymous transactions.
We are looking forward to having a strong and secure network of Zen secure nodes that are built and maintained by system administrators around the world. And of course we look forward to having a completely secure messaging and publishing capability.
To run an organization like this takes funding, organization, and hard work. I’m very happy that we are in the good position we are in, despite the current issue which appears to be just a bump in the road. ZenCash is up and running – funding the treasury with every block, we have the core of a strong and talented organization, and the current issue we are working through is demonstrating to everyone that we are willing to work hard to effectively get the things done that we need to do.
I’m also very happy that we have the support of a great exchange partner in Bittrex, we have lots of mining hashpower, and best of all, we have a big and supportive community!
ZenCash website – https://www.horizen.io/
ZenCash blog – https://blog.horizen.io
ZenCash Github – https://github.com/HorizenOfficial
Also published on Medium.