On June 26, 2018, privacy-centric protocol Zcash will undergo its first hard-fork. The upgrade is named “Overwinter” and takes place at block 347,500 assuming a hash rate of 150 seconds per block.
Setting the Foundation
According to a Zcash Foundation post on the development, the hard fork serves to fortify the protocol for additional upgrades to the network, including replay protection, versioning, a transactional expiry feature, and as yet unspecified changes. Users will be required to install the upgrade after the software is implemented.
As stated, the protocol helps for seamless updates to the network in the future, such as the much-awaited Sapling protocol designed to increase network scalability and speed.
Zcash states the impending update is well-received by significant third parties like Binance, Gemini and BitFinex, who will “substantially support” Overwinter. Additionally, the foundation is continually updating the list of third parties as the entities confirm their involvement.
Risk of Blockchain Split?
In theory, the network risks a blockchain split if several members of the community disregard the need to update the system and continue with the old versions of Zcash. While Overwinter is low on features, it is critical to the broader network strategy as further capabilities depend on the Overwinter update.
Notably, the friction is already showing up in some places. On June 20, 2018, D. Jane Mercer, the developer of the ZCash Windows wallet, WinZEC, threatened cease all coding activities for the network the Zcash Foundation failed to fund his work. However, community members promptly donated funds to his wallet address.
Upgrading Your Network
For miners running Zcash nodes, the official software has been updated to automatically update to the latest software after block 347,500 is mined. However, if automatic updates are disabled, miners stand to miss the new code.
BTCManager notes to its readership to refrain from using Zcash wallets during the time of upgrade, and near the activation of Overwinter, to guarantee fund safety. In this regard, the Zcash Foundation appeals users to refrain from using their wallets at least an hour before the scheduled update.