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Winter arrives: Zcash approaches the first hard fork

Zcash has released new software in preparation for its first software upgrade at the system level.

Nicknamed "Overwinter" and brought into service in June, the software finds the zcash team of developers strengthening its technology in anticipation of future updates. Due to the nature of the code, which will be adopted by a mechanism called a rigid range, all users will be required to make the change.

According to a blog announcing the new software, Overwinter will include "versioning, replay protection for network upgrades, performance improvements for transparent transactions, new transaction expiration functionality and more."

However, while the software implements new Overwinter rules, a new upgrade will be needed when the specific block number has been finalized, the release states.

Zcash announced last year that it would release a new update, Sapling, in September, which should reduce the storage required for private transactions, and provide a new secure update of the underlying cryptography of the blockchain, zk-snarks.

According to zcash forum posts, the zcash team has repeatedly delayed the publication of Overwinter, citing the need for extra time to review the software and fix the bugs discovered during the tests.

As of February 27, an employee wrote on the forum that the "liberation candidate manual test" of the team was still ongoing.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which owns an interest in Zcash Company, the for-profit entity that develops the zcash protocol.

Concrete crack image via Shutterstock

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