Zcash (ZEC) Overwinter Upgrade Introduces Democratic Development Path


It is pertinent for all cryptocurrencies to continue evolving. In the case of ZCash, some major network upgrades have been introduced this week. Known as the Overwinter upgrade, it will bring more positive attention to this altcoin as a whole.

The Zcash Upgrade in a Nutshell

For a currency which has been around a while now, ZCash has not seen that many big upgrades. Rushing proper developments is not the right course of action, as a lot of decision-making is involved in the process. When the network hit block 47500 this week, the Overwinter protocol upgrade was officially introduced. It is comprised of a few different aspects which help shape the future of ZCash as a whole.

First of all, there is an opt-in upgrade. This opt-in option is part of the two-tiered governance model introduced for future ZCash upgrades. Network nodes are not required to adhere to the latest rules, although it is still advised to do so regardless. This approach is an interesting social experiment. Very few – if any – other cryptocurrencies offer users a choice, as they usually have to adhere to the choice of the developers at all times.

Secondly, there is an “educational” aspect to this new governance system. Anyone operating a node will receive all of the necessary information regarding the network and its future direction at all times. Ensuring users can make the right and informed decision is what the ZCash team strives to achieve moving forward. This should also reduce further issues regarding service providers not upgrading to a new set of protocol rules in the future.

Paving the Future

All of these upgrades may seem insignificant to novice users. Even so, they present a completely different ecosystem for ZCash as a whole. A two-tiered governance model for protocol upgrades seems to be the right way to go at this time. There have been growing concerns among cryptocurrency users over how they are forced in a certain direction by developers. That is never the correct approach, for rather obvious reasons.

Additionally, this new upgrade also means legacy nodes will run out of “support” in the near future. While this will not affect funds or private keys created by these nodes, it is pertinent those users upgrade to the new client as soon as possible. This is a completely new era for the ZCash cryptocurrency and its underpinning technology. Whether or not any further major changes are to be expected, remains a bit unclear at this time.

It will be interesting to see how other developers perceive these protocol changes. Considering cryptocurrency is all about empowering the end user, such a governance model may make its way to different projects over time. In the case of Bitcoin, it seems unlikely any changes will occur anytime soon. However, for some of the more prominent altcoins, this may very well be an option worth looking into.