In the coming days, ION’s hard fork will unveil an upgraded version of their zerocoin protocol. The second version (v2) of the zerocoin protocol has been dubbed xION v2 – “ION’s powerful privacy protocol”. It will allow users to earn stake rewards, as well as allow masternode holders cast their votes anonymously.

Users and members of the dev team can mint xION, thus, increasing the circulating supply and improving transactional privacy.

The team has noted that the xION upgrade will not happen suddenly and at one fell swoop. Instead, the upgrade has been scheduled to occur in phases. The core dev team will release the new ION client on January 31. Old users will still be able to perform some operations such as receiving and syncing transactions. However, they will not be able to generate any new transactions unless they upgrade their client.

Between February 7 and February 10, xION will enter a “maintenance mode.” Minting and spending of xION v1 will be stopped at this point.

By February 10, the upgrade to v2 will be completed and users can now mint, spend, and stake new v2 xION. Unspent v1 xION can still be spent afterwards, but there will be no minting functionality.