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A zpub is a form of extended public key (xpub) which follows an additional standard defined in BIP 49. Xpubs, ypubs, and zpubs all allow a wallet to generate a deterministic tree of public keys, but each form of extended public key instructs a wallet to derive different address types. Specifically, zpubs instruct a wallet to derive P2WPKH addresses.

P2WPKH is the most common SegWit address type. Unlike P2SH-wrapped P2WPKH addresses, which are generated by ypubs, P2WPKH addresses are not backwards compatible.