Zcoin Blog

Zcoin Community Update May 2018

Upgrade to Zcoin Core 0.13.5.8

Originally intended to be an optional upgrade, we now encourage everyone to install version 0.13.5.8. After the release of the new version an edge case involving an old Zerocoin mint caused some people to get stuck on a block. If you’re having sync issues or are stuck on a block, please make sure you upgrade your clients and/or Znodes. In addition, we’re only a few days away from releasing version 0.13.6.1 which will be a mandatory security upgrade.

Recent and Upcoming Meetups and Conferences

After having visited Bitcoin Wednesday, one of the largest regular cryptocurrency meetups in The Netherlands, and a meetup in London, the next conference with Zcoin involvement will be Consensus in New York City. Poramin, Sandra, Tadgh and Sebastian Bausch will be there but unfortunately, Reuben cannot attend. Visa issues in relation to the recent government change in his home country, Malaysia, do not allow him to attend.

Merkle Tree Protocol (MTP)

By far the most popular question we get is: “When MTP?”. Originally slated for a late Q2 release, it now looks like we’re slightly ahead of schedule. We can’t put an exact date on it just yet but work on the library has been concluded and after squashing a couple of minor bugs we’re looking forward to rolling it out on testnet in the very near future.

Marketing

As many of you know, we have ended our relationship with our previous marketing and PR agency Pythia. Our new partner, NagaDDB is the largest agency in Malaysia with an impressive client list of multinational companies including banks and airlines. They are a member of DDB Worldwide, one of the largest marketing communications networks in the world. They have completed the first step in Zcoin’s brand positioning and will be further refining it.

Zerocoin on Ethereum (ZEth)

Work on the smart contracts required to run Zerocoin on Ethereum has been completed. Unfortunately, the Gas cost incurred by a Zerocoin transaction right now is still too high. This, however, is not unique to Zerocoin and also applies to zkSNARKs in their current form. We are actively looking for ways to bring down the gas cost but it appears for this to be successful, we have to wait for the release of Ethereum Casper or other scalability improvements.

Meanwhile, our ZEth developer Tadgh has been redirected to Zcoin core development and is actively working on the messaging layer for the new GUI.

New GUI for Wallet

Finding a great-looking replacement for the clunky old Bitcoin Core-style wallet has been one of our top priorities for a while. The design/frontend work is almost done but finding the best way for it to communicate with the backend has been a challenge. We think we’re about 70% done with the backend though and the path ahead is clear. Some of you will have noticed that we included the possibility to spend minted coins directly to third parties on GitHub a while ago. This will be included in a later version of the wallet as we first want to release the upcoming security update before making a feature release. On the bright side, the next feature release will also increase the Zerocoin spend limit of currently 1 per block.

Further Improving Zerocoin

While it is easy to mint and spend coins in the current wallet, it is also possible to make mistakes that will result in mixing newly-minted with tainted coins. To address this, we are currently considering a two-pronged approach:

  • Creating a GUI which helps the user follow privacy best practices and warn them if they are doing an action that may expose them
  • Implementing Samourai Wallet’s STONEWALL algorithm that prevents coins with a history to be mixed with freshly created ones

We will be releasing a series of posts on our blog about the thought process on the new GUI.

Sigma Protocol

From the start of Zcoin, it was clear that we want to move away from the trusted setup that is required by Zerocoin. That’s why we started developing Sigma and had spent months of work in developing it. We have now completed its cryptographic library which we will open source in due course. With the release of bullet proofs, it appears to have some advantages in scalability over Sigma and as such we are researching into integrating such technologies into our privacy technology. We have two PhD researchers working on it who have completed some investigation on the feasibility and performance of such schemes and hope to have a concrete scheme in the next few weeks.

Hardware Wallets

The situation around Ledger integration is somewhat unclear. After a verbal agreement agreeing on the integration costs for Zcoin listing, Ledger informed us that they were re-evaluating their business model. This comes on the wave of many new ERC-20 tokens and ICOs. They had then later tweeted that they no longer were charging an integration fee provided that the integration work is done by the community. After writing the whole code for such an integration including the Chrome app ourselves, we have yet to hear back from Ledger. We appreciate our community’s patience and support on this matter.

Things look a lot better with Trezor however. Our integration has been approved and and we are hoping that we will be integrated into their next firmware release.

Other News

  • The new roadmap is almost done!
  • We’re happy to be part of Blockfolio’s new Signals feature which enables us to publish news directly to Zcoin holders. Pull up Zcoin on your Blockfolio and check it out!
  • Zcoin is now included in Cobo Wallet. What’s more, Cobo run Znodes and share the rewards earned with everyone who holds XZC in their wallet. As a managed wallet, the same precautions as with sending coins to an exchange apply
  • We’re happy to announce that we have full support for Atomic Swaps with Decred. Other than that, we’re also looking at doing swaps with Komodo and other coins
  • Edge have added Zcoin to their wallet. This security-focused wallet does let you control your private keys but unlike Cobo does not incentivise your deposits.