If you’re learning about Zcash for the first time you will immediately realize there are two types of transactions that can occur: transparent and shielded. Furthermore, if you have been keeping up with the latest developments in the Zcash ecosystem, you may have learned about Unified Addresses, or UA’s. When folks in the Zcash industry talk about shielded transactions, they mean transactions that involve addresses that are encoded for either the sapling or orchard protocols. UA’s are designed to unify any type of shielded or transparent transaction into a single address. This generalization is the key to simplifying the UX moving forward. The purpose of this guide is to supplement understanding of UA’s with concrete visual examples.
Types of Zcash addresses
Currently there are three main types of addresses in use to date. These include
- Unified Address (Full)
First thing to notice is how the length of each type of address is different. You can see this visually by the number of characters in the address string or by looking at the associated QR codes. As length of the address increases, the QR code tends to zoom out and fit more data into the square.
t1goiSyw2JinFCmUnfiwwp72LEZzD42TyYuis 35 characters long
zs1cpf4prtmnqpg6x2ngcrwelu9a39z9l9lqukq9fwagnaqrknk34a7n3szwxpjuxfjdxkuzykel53is 78 characters long
u1ckeydud0996ftppqrnpdsqyeq4e57qcyjr4raht4dc8j3njuyj3gmm9yk7hq9k88cdkqfuqusgpcpjfhwu3plm2vrd32g8du78kzkm5un357r4vkhz4vhxd4yfl8zvszk99cmsc89qv4trd7jzkcs8h6lukzgy25j8cv76p0g603nrrg6yt6cxsh2v8rmkasskd69ylfyphhjyv0cxsis 213 characters long
Second thing to notice is the prefix of each address string – transparent start with a t, sapling with a zs, and finally UA’s with a u1.
It is important to note:
Unified Address receivers
As discussed here one can build UA’s with different receivers – some combination of transparent,sapling, and orchard address types. Besides a full UA, here are the most common that you will find in the wild:
- transparent + sapling
- transparent + orchard
- sapling + orchard
First thing to note is that each of these UA’s are from the same private key! Second thing to note is the lengths of each type of UA:
Third thing to note is how visually each UA is slightly different! The power of UA’s is the choice they allow for end users. If in the future a new protocol is needed, UA’s will be ready to roll.