Privacy blockchain platform Aztec has announced that it will be shutting down Aztec Connect, the network’s privacy infrastructure that acts as the encryption layer for Ethereum. The network was launched in July 2022 and has since amassed more than 100,000 users. However, the company has now officially announced that it will be closing down the service.
The closure of Aztec Connect will involve disabling deposits from front-ends like zk.money and zkpay.finance on March 17. Users will be able to withdraw their funds from Aztec Connect with no fees for one year, but withdrawals will become significantly more burdensome after March 21, 2024, according to a blog post by Aztec. The company has recommended that users withdraw their funds as soon as possible.
From March 2024, Aztec will no longer run a sequencer, meaning 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,” the announcement reads. However, Aztec has fully open-sourced the entire Aztec Connect protocol, and it encourages 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,” Aztec said.
According to the announcement, the shutdown of Aztec Connect marks a milestone in the development of a decentralized general-use encrypted blockchain. Before launching Aztec Connect in July 2022, Aztec first experimented with using a zk-Rollup with Aztec 1, which was “slow, inefficient, costly” and limited in functionality to “basic private transfers.”
Aztec’s focus on privacy has been a significant factor in its popularity among blockchain users. Its privacy infrastructure is designed to help users protect their financial data and transaction history from third-party entities, thereby maintaining their privacy. The company has been developing privacy-oriented solutions to improve the efficiency and security of blockchain-based financial transactions.
The closure of Aztec Connect is a significant move for the blockchain platform, but it remains to be seen how the Aztec community will react to the news. As the company has encouraged the community to fork, deploy, and operate a new version of the system, it is possible that a new, independently-operated version of Aztec Connect may emerge in the future. However, for now, users of the platform will need to withdraw their funds before the closure of the service on March 21, 2024.