Aztec Network, a privacy-focused blockchain platform, has announced the discontinuation of its ZK-Rollup network, Aztec Connect, which serves as the encryption layer for Ethereum. Despite having more than 100,000 users since its launch in July 2022, the platform will be shut down, and users are advised to withdraw their funds as soon as possible. Starting from March 17, 2023, any deposits made through front-end interfaces such as zk.money and zkpay.finance will no longer be accepted. Aztec Connect is providing its users with the option to withdraw their funds without incurring any fees for a period of one year.
According to Aztec, the closure of Aztec Connect represents a significant step in the development of a decentralized blockchain platform that provides encryption for general use. The company had initially experimented with using a zk-Rollup with Aztec 1, which was slow, inefficient, costly, and limited in functionality to basic private transfers, before launching Aztec Connect in July 2022.
Starting in March 2024, Aztec will discontinue the operation of its sequencer, and the current system will stop producing roll-up blocks that process transactions on Aztec Connect. As a result, contract permissions will be relinquished, and the roll-up functionality will come to an end.
However, Aztec has made the entire Aztec Connect protocol open-source and is encouraging the Aztec community to create a new version of the system by forking, deploying, and operating it. This means that the community can build on the existing protocol and customize it according to their needs without starting from scratch.
Aztec has gained significant popularity among users because of its focus on safeguarding user privacy. The company has now shifted its focus to creating a new smart contract blockchain for privacy apps using a new programming language called Noir. The company aims to develop a platform that provides enhanced privacy for its users, enabling them to securely store and transfer their sensitive information without the risk of exposure to unauthorized parties. By developing Noir, Aztec hopes to provide a more efficient and secure platform for privacy-focused applications.
The closure of Aztec Connect is a significant move for the blockchain platform, and the reaction of the Aztec community is yet to be seen. However, the company encourages the community to fork, deploy, and operate a new version of the system, which could result in an independently-operated version of Aztec Connect in the future. Users of Aztec Connect must withdraw their funds before the service closure date of March 21, 2024, to avoid any difficulties in the withdrawal process.