Privacy coin zcash is gearing up for a major upgrade with the first release of network software compatible with its upcoming Sapling hard fork.

Zcash version 2.0.0 was released Thursday, according to a blog post penned by Sean Bowe, an engineer with the Zerocoin Electric Coin Company, which develops the zcash cryptocurrency. The company is “encouraging all users and miners” to upgrade to the new version “as soon as possible,” he said.

The hard fork itself is expected to occur on October 28, when the first Sapling block will be mined at block 419,200. Prior to the live launch, Sapling will run on a test network (or testnet) from block 280,000 – an event Bowe said should occur sometime next Thursday.

He wrote:

“Sapling had previously activated on testnet, but because changes were made to the consensus rules your node will automatically roll back and proceed on the Overwinter testnet branch until Sapling activates again at the new height.”

The v2.0.0 software upgrade includes experimental support for remote procedure calls – by which code can execute on a remote computer as if it was called locally – although full support will not be available until the 2.0.1 release.

It also fixes a bug which slowed some nodes syncing to the network when banning peers. The function “was introduced to mitigate against a class of [denial of service] attacks from Sprout nodes,” Bowe wrote. The new software instead just ignores invalid transactions.

The Sapling upgrade is intended to significantly reduce the storage requirements for private transactions and update the blockchain’s zk-snarks cryptography to make it more secure, as previously reported by ExposedCrypto.

A two-part “ceremony” to produce the parameters required to encrypt the blockchain was completed Tuesday, having run since November of last year. Announced in another blog post, the team stated that completing the process concludes “the largest multi-party computations ever performed.”

The zcash team began releasing software patches for Sapling earlier this year.

Zcash’s previous Overwinter hard fork, executed in June, was expected to be a sort of trial run for Sapling, and included a number of software improvements.

Zcash image via Shutterstock

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