ZCash on Oct 28th 2018 has executed a hard fork known as Sapling Activation on its network at a block height 419200. The Sapling Activation introduces a new shielded address that reduces the time taken of constructing transaction by up to 90 per cent and memory reduction by 97 per cent. The activation also marks the second anniversary of the privacy-focused currency ZCash.
Under the current version, the original Sprout shielded addresses required 1.5 GB of computer memory and creates a zero-knowledge transaction in about 40 second, which was a major hindrance to usability. Upon Sapling activation, the shielded addresses start with a “zs” and are shorter in length ( 78 from 90), which doesn’t have much impact but time and memory requirements came down significantly. Against the previous, Sapling shielded addresses requires few seconds and 40 MB of memory in the modern computer.
At present, funds cannot be transferred from original shielded addresses to Sapling shielded addresses without revealing amounts which allow auditing the monetary base of ZEC held in Shielded addresses. Developers are currently developing tools that will minimize the impact on privacy and asked users to wait until the release.
The Sapling activation will bring closer widespread adoption of open, permissionless and private payment system.