Zcash (ZEC) Fourth Upgrade Heartwood Offers Robust Privacy


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Zcash protocol upgrade Heartwood is less than 24 hours away with improvements in privacy via shielded coinbase and more efficient functionality for light client software.

Heartwood Features Shielded Coinbase

According to a blog post by the privacy-centered platform, Heartwood, the fourth network upgrade will activate on July 16, 2020. Both the Zcash Foundation and the Electron Coin Company (ECC) agreed to the upgrade.  

Heartwood, a name chosen by the Zcash community, signifies wider adoption and accelerated growth. This new protocol upgrade which follows the previous Sapling enhancement comprises two Zcash improvement protocols (ZIP) — ZIP 213 (shielded coinbase) and ZIP 221 (Flyclient).

As a protocol upgrade, Heartwood will reportedly offer a more robust privacy architecture for the altcoin. According to the announcement documentation, Heartwood will introduce shielded coinbase to the Zcash network. The emergence of shielded transactions will, however, not eliminate the use of transparent addresses in coinbase transactions.

Since the Heartwood upgrade happening on Thursday does not require the immediate utilization of shielded coinbase, miners and mining pools can gradually update their existing addresses. Detailing the need for ZIP 213, an excerpt from the blog post reads:

“Shielded coinbase is an important milestone for Zcash network privacy and the overall size of our anonymity set. We anticipate that ZIP 213 will drive more demand for shielded support across the ecosystem.”

For ZIP 221, this protocol enhancement sees the introduction of more efficient Proof-of-Work for lighter Zcash client software. Lighter clients with Merkle Mountain Range (MMR) functionality is one of the preliminary steps to ensuring cross-chain interoperability.

Zcash Ecosystem Sees Continous Developments

Zcash has been constantly making efforts to improve the Zcash ecosystem. Back in February 2010, the team decided to implement ZIP 1014, which will give 80 percent of ZEC tokens to miners after the Zcash halving in November 2020. Under the ZIP 1014, the Zcash community also agreed that ECC will receive 35 percent of the Zcsh development fund. 

Also, toward the end of 2019, the Zcash Foundation and ECC launched the third network upgrade, Blossom, to improve capacity, scalability, and speed. Furthermore, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Zcash and Temporary Contact Number (TCN) coalition collaborated to develop a contact-tracing app without threatening people’s’ privacy

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