The Aztec privacy platform for Ethereum has launched a zk-SNARK rollup service to the mainnet, enabling the scaling and shielding of transactions.
It’s the latest in a series of scaling solutions providers to address the cost issues with using Ethereum. Aztec announced the deployment of its beta rollup service on March 15. However, it warns that it’s still a new and largely experimental service.
In addition to the gas savings associated with the Layer 2 (L2) rollup technology, Aztec also offers extra transaction privacy enabling assets to stay private inside the Aztec L2 without the need to unshield access to Layer 1 DeFi.
Privacy on Layer 2
With the rollup launch to mainnet, users can submit ETH to the Aztec L2 contract and send it privately, shield and unshield, and use something called an “escape hatch” for emergency unshielding. Aztec only supports Ethereum at the time but plans to add more ERC-20 tokens like wrapped BTC (wBTC) to the service.
Aztec explained that each rollup aggregates 112 transactions. This means that users pay a much lower gas fee by splitting the fee of a single proof.
The platform runs on zk.money which uses zero-knowledge SNARK (Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge) to verify transactions. This allows the data stored within them to remain private.
Aztec’s programming language, “Noir,” was funded by the Ethereum Foundation. Its rollup protocol, dubbed PLONK, has been described as a general-purpose zero-knowledge-proof scheme.
Transactions are encoded as a zk-SNARK to protect user data. These are then batched using another rollup which is then sent to the Ethereum network enabling it to scale.
Using this technique, the network can scale on-demand up to a hard limit of around 300 transactions per second. At the same time, it preserves on-chain data availability.
It also explained that the system will allow cross-asset scaling:
“As a rule, rollups aggregate transactions that are ‘homogeneous’ — i.e. they’re of the same type. Because Aztec transactions are all zkSNARK proofs, they can all be bundled into one zkRollup. Concretely, private DeFi transactions can be bundled alongside zkDAI spends or Uniswap trades, all in one roll-up.”
Aztec has been operating since October 2017. It originally dealt with blockchain lending, but with the vision of bringing the privacy features of Zcash to Ethereum. The platform does not have a native token.