The Aztec privacy network was officially launched on the Ethereum blockchain on February 1. Using Zcash based technology, it introduces confidential tokens where all amounts are cryptographically hidden.
The network is currently in limited deployment as it only supports zkDai, a private version of Maker’s stablecoin. More zero knowledge tokens are expected to be released in the coming weeks, while full access to creating custom tokens will be granted in two months, according to the company.
The Aztec protocol, just like Zcash (ZEC), uses Zk-SNARKs to validate encrypted transactions. When generating a transfer, proof of accuracy is generated as the amount is encrypted.
The system is based on Aztec’s Cryptography Engine smart contract, which can be used to validate transactions. The contract is based on a system of “notes”, which are typically used in a Bitcoin-like entry and exit structure. Unlike Zcash, however, Aztec does not currently hide the sender and recipient of money.
Like Zcash, Aztec had to hold a trust installation ceremony. This is a key requirement for all zk-SNARK implementations, as it generates a common set of parameters to ensure efficient computation.
Future developments would make smart contracts private
Aztec’s goal is to deliver its “Privacy Triptych,” which would completely obscure a particular part of the Ethereum blockchain. The next step is to hide senders and recipients, while the final achievement is to make smart contracts completely private.
Aztec CEO Thomas Walton-Pocock revealed to Cointelegraph that it could happen as early as this year:
“Our priority is to deploy PLONK on ACE in 2020. PLONK is the ultra-fast universal SNARK developed by AZTEC CTO Zac Williamson and AZTEC Chief Scientist Ariel Gabizon, which will eventually enable the execution of private smart contracts with one configuration of trust.