Hard Fork “Not Expected” as Zcash Announces Overwinter Upgrade

Privacy altcoin Zcash (ZEC) has announced plans to activate its first network upgrade, Overwinter, as early as June. Although the coin’s developers say the upgrade won’t result in a hard fork, that hasn’t stopped investors from speculating about such an outcome.

Overwinter Update Announced

The company announced plans for Overwinter in a Friday blog post that targeted June 25 as the official main chain update. However, software updates may be supported as early as next month on version 1.1.0 of zcashd.

“The purpose of Overwinter is to strengthen the protocol for future network upgrades, paving the way for the Zcash Sapling network upgrade later this year,” the developers said on the blog.

“This network update is not expected to result in a fork of the blockchain or the creation of a new currency,” they added.

By implementing Overwinter, a further upgraded will also be required once the block number has been specified. According to the team, Overwinter will boost transaction transparency and introduce new features like version control and transaction expiry.

Overwinter might not be the only upgrade Zcash gets this year. In December, co-founder Zooko Wilcox indicated that a second upgrade, Sapling, could be implemented by September.

Industry-Leading Privacy Coin

Zcash is widely regarded as one of the most promising privacy coins in circulation. Unlike its competitors, Zcash relies on zero-knowledge proofs and advanced encryption that completely obscures the sender’s address.

The cryptocurrency has posted negative returns for 2018, but that hasn’t deterred its proponents from doubling down on its potential. Grayscale Investments, which runs the biggest bitcoin trust on the market, predicted in February that Zcash could hit $60,000 a coin in the next seven years. The bullish forecast makes one important assumption: that Zcash will account for 10% of offshore wealth.

For long-term investors (also known as “hodlers”), Zcash offers attractive store-of-value features due to its enhanced privacy controls. This makes Zcash more likely to survive government intervention in the future.

From a price perspective, Zcash was little changed on Saturday, bucking a general uptrend in the cryptocurrency market. At the time of writing, one ZEC token was valued at $386.31 U.S., down only slightly from the previous close. That gives Zcash a total market cap of $1.3 billion, placing it 24th among active cryptocurrencies.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Chief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi