Privacy blockchain platform Aztec has announced that it will shut down Aztec Connect, the network’s privacy infrastructure that acts as the encryption layer for Ethereum. The network launched in July 2022 and has since amassed over 100,000 users. However, the company has now officially announced that it will be shutting down the service.
The closure of Aztec Connect will result in the deactivation of front-end deposits such as zk.money and zkpay.finance on March 17. Users will be able to withdraw their funds from Aztec Connect free of charge for one year, but withdrawals will be significantly more expensive. after March 21, 2024, according to an Aztec blog post. The company has recommended that users withdraw their funds as soon as possible.
Starting in March 2024, Aztec will no longer run a sequencer, which means that the current system will no longer publish cumulative blocks that process Aztec Connect transactions. “Contract permissions will be waived and all accumulated functionality will be discontinued,” the announcement reads. However, Aztec has fully opened up the entire Aztec Connect protocol and encourages the Aztec community to fork, implement and operate a new version of the system. “We would love to see an independently operated Aztec Connect and we are ready to finance it,” Aztec said.
According to the announcement, the closure of Aztec Connect marks a milestone in the development of a decentralized general-purpose encrypted blockchain. Before launching Aztec Connect in July 2022, Aztec first experimented with using a zk-Rollup with Aztec 1, which was “slow, inefficient, expensive” and had functionality limited to “basic private transfers”.
Aztec’s focus on privacy has been a major 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, implement 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 must withdraw their funds before the service closes on March 21, 2024.