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RAILGUN private (shielded) balances are built through a registry of UTXOs (unspent transaction outputs), similar to Bitcoin. The primary difference is that the RAILGUN UTXO list is encrypted with the sender and receiver’s keys, meaning that no outsider can view the contents of the UTXO.
While generating the most up-to-date merkle tree, each commitment leaf (which represent a transaction) must be synced and decrypted in order to build a RAILGUN wallet’s private balance. This syncing process can take a few minutes. Once the sync is complete, UTXO token balances are aggregated into a user’s balance.