A giant leap toward a fully programmable encrypted zkRollup
Today we’re announcing the sunset of Aztec Connect, our privacy infrastructure that served as the encryption layer for Ethereum.
Users will continue being able to withdraw with no fees for one year.
Our sequencer will slowly reduce the frequency of rollup blocks for withdrawal, with a final sunset date approximately one year from now: March 31st, 2024. Here are the critical dates:
- 13th — 31st March: Aztec Connect normal functionality
- 31st March 2023 at 2PM UTC: Deposits disabled
- One-year withdrawal window (March 13th, 2023 — March 31st, 2024)
- March 31st, 2024: Last Aztec rollup sent from Aztec sequencer
- March 31st, 2024 onwards: users will have to run withdrawal software or rely on community-run sequencers
As of March 31st, 2024–approximately one year from now–Aztec will no longer run a sequencer. That means the current system will no longer publish rollup blocks processing Aztec Connect transactions, contract permissions will be renounced, and all rollup functionality will be ceased.
At that point, withdrawals will be highly technical. While we remain optimistic that a community-operated sequencer will be functional, everyday users will have to rely on that infrastructure or run their own sequencers to withdraw.
Thus, while withdrawals will always be possible, they will become significantly more burdensome after March 31st, 2024. We therefore recommend users withdraw funds as soon as possible.
Open sourcing Aztec Connect
As of today, Aztec has fully open sourced the entire Aztec Connect protocol complete with scaling upgrades and a new secure SDK.
▶️ See the open source Aztec Connect repo here.
We encourage the Aztec community to fork, deploy, and operate a new version of the system. We’d love to see an independently-operated Aztec Connect and are ready to fund it. Head to our open-source repo and docs to learn more about running an Aztec Connect fork.
At Aztec, our goal has always been to develop a truly decentralized general-purpose encrypted zkRollup with the security of Ethereum.
While Ethereum has created a world computer that can read and write to public state, Aztec aims to fulfill the vision by adding the ability to read and write to private state.
In our mission to achieve that vision, we’ve taken a step-wise, incremental approach to the development of encrypted transactions on Ethereum.
The first attempt at on-chain privacy using a zkRollup was Aztec 1. Aztec 1 was slow, inefficient, costly, and limited in its functionality to basic private transfers.
Our latest effort was a set of privacy infrastructure and tools for Ethereum called Aztec Connect. It not only extended privacy functionality on Ethereum beyond simple payments and toward arbitrary smart contract interactions, it hinted at the cost savings that encrypted rollups are ultimately able to achieve through transaction batching.
Aztec Connect was a critical step in our mission to build a fully programmable encrypted zkRollup. Not only did it provide critical feedback, it proved to us the battle-worthiness of our sequencer and rollup contracts.
The immense research invested into Aztec Connect will be usable and indeed critical to the development of our next-gen product. Having an encrypted rollup live and in production gives us confidence in our shift to focusing on a fully programmable version.
The Future is Noir
As we move forward, our mid- and long-term focus will be solely directed towards the development of two major products, which are mutually compatible and interlinked:
- Noir, the universal language of zero knowledge
- Our next-generation encrypted zkRollup
Noir continues to gain new features by the day, with the Noir tooling team publishing regular releases. We are convinced Noir is the simplest, most powerful way to write programs in zero-knowledge.
▶️ Install Noir today and go from 0 to programming in zkSNARKs in less than an hour.
With additional resources at their disposal, the Noir team will only grow its functionality. Not only is Noir useful today as a generalized programming language for zk development — capable of using multiple proving backends and verifying to any EVM chain — a modified version of Noir will be the smart contract language for Aztec’s next-gen zkRollup.
Expect more Noir features and a full set of specifications for our newest zkRollup in the first half of 2023. To learn more about our next-gen system, check out our docs.
Learn more about the next generation Aztec protocol here.
The Aztec community has been a vital part of the development and success of Aztec Connect, and we are incredibly grateful for the 100,000+ users who have used Aztec Connect for private DeFi. It has long been obvious that privacy in a blockchain context is an absolute necessity, and Aztec Connect further validated that thesis.
It’s undeniable that Aztec Connect was an important stepping stone towards realizing our ultimate goal. It’s now time for us to focus fully on that goal: a decentralized general-use encrypted zkRollup.
To all our partners: thank you for betting on Aztec. We’re excited to bring you a fully-featured Noir and local devnet for our next-gen network by the end of 2023. Onward!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I withdraw funds?
Q: Is Aztec done building privacy products?
A: Not even close. We’re laser-focused on building more Noir features and bringing you a programmably private L2 to be announced in the first half of 2023.
Q: Is Aztec shutting down?
A: Nope. Our team has raised over $125 million from investors like a16z and Paradigm to bring encryption to blockchain. Our team is over 40 strong and we’re still hiring aggressively for open roles. Join us!
Q: Is Aztec building an L1?
A: No — we are utilizing the same rollup technology used in Aztec Connect in a new encrypted L2 powered by Noir, our universal zk language.
Q: Why are you sunsetting Aztec Connect?
A: We simply are not able to commit sufficient resources to simultaneously support Aztec Connect and the development of an encrypted zkRollup. Not only are we in the midst of inventing a groundbreaking new proving system, we are building a network with significantly higher complexity than Aztec Connect.
Q: Are you sunsetting Aztec Connect due to regulatory pressures?
A: No. We were under no regulatory pressure nor have we fielded any inquiries from law enforcement. Aztec Connect is and was compliant with UK law, given Aztec is a UK company.
We believe the practical enforcement measures we implemented last August have deterred illicit activity on the rollup without materially restricting users.
Rest assured our next-gen product will have higher programmability, more functionality, and the same or stronger privacy guarantees than Aztec Connect.
Join the Aztec Community
We’re always on the lookout for talented engineers and applied cryptographers. If joining our mission to bring scalable privacy to Ethereum excites you, check out our open roles.
Building on Aztec
Interested in contributing to the universal zk language?
Aztec Grants will re-open in April to fund Noir infrastructure and applications. Come contribute to the most modular zk language — compatible with multiple crypto back-ends including Gnark and Marlin, and verifiable on any EVM chain.