New Alpha Release: Faster Block Times

Today, we deployed a new alpha release of the Zcash reference implementation, v0.11.2.z5, to the testnet. The new release includes the following changes [1]:

  1. The block interval target has been decreased to 2.5 minutes, without changing the monetary supply curve (#989).
  2. The difficulty adjustment has been changed to one based on DigiShield v3/v4 (#147, #1004).
  3. Coinbase rewards must be protected before they can be used in transparent transactions (#1017).
  4. Upstream’s soft forking rules now apply unconditionally to all blocks from the start (#1016).
  5. The Equihash implementation has been optimized further (#988), enabling us to switch to more difficult (higher memory) parameters (#1003). The difference can be seen on our performance tracker.
  6. The -relaypriority default has been set to false, to enable spending of low-value rewards during mining slow start (#1001).
  7. The note commitment tree depth has been increased from 20 to 29 (#994). The resulting increase in memory usage when creating a JoinSplit is visible here.
  8. Zcash addreses and spending keys are now encoded with Base58Check (#1026).

As with our previous alpha releases, this resets our testnet, invalidating all previous coins and breaking backwards compatibility. To get connected to the new testnet, follow the instructions on the Public Alpha Guide.

To follow our progress, watch the github project and join the forum. To get an email announcement when Zcash Sprout is ready, put your email address in here.

[1] For more specific detail, view our Protocol 2016.1 Implementation github milestone.

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