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Ethereum Gets Privacy-Focused Layer-2 Scaling Solution with Aztec 2.0

The project's Layer-2 Network Aztec 2.0 is an Ethereum scaling solution focused on privacy.

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Key Takeaways

  • Aztec announced the launch of Aztec 2.0, a new scaling solution for Ethereum.
  • The Layer-2 network will use a new technique called "PLONK" utilizing zk-SNARKs to bundle transactions privately.
  • Developers will be able to access a new scripting language to write transactions compatible with Aztec 2.0.

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Aztec has announced the launch of a new scaling solution for the Ethereum network—Aztec 2.0. The startup, which focuses on privacy solutions for Ethereum, said the new version would utilize a zk-SNARK standard called PLONK to build a two-layer system for processing transactions, increasing Ethereum’s privacy and scalability.

Aztec’s PLONK Standard Coming to Ethereum

The Ethereum network has gained another layer-two scaling solution, this time from the Aztec project. The company, which gained prominence for using zero-knowledge proofs to increase transaction privacy on the network, announced a new Layer-2 Network for Ethereum called Aztec 2.0.

According to the company’s announcement, the scaling solution is based on a relatively new privacy standard called zero-knowledge rollup (zk-rollup). The standard employs PLONK, a type of zero-knowledge proof called zk-SNARKs, to build a two-layer system for processing transactions. 

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The processing system works by batching transactions into a single proof published to Ethereum’s main chain. In the official announcement, the company said that the Aztec 2.0 network can handle a transaction throughput up to a hard limit of 300 transactions per second. The 2.0 version will also reduce its gas usage by two hundredfold compared to Aztec 1.0. 

Bringing Programmable Privacy with Noir

What makes Aztec’s zk-rollup different from other similar solutions on the market is what the company’s CEO Tom Walton-Pocock calls “programmable privacy.” 

Using Aztec 2.0 enables double privacy—each transaction containing information about the sender, receiver, and amounts are made completely private using zk-SNARKs. Then, each of those private transactions is bundled into a rollup, where an additional zk-SNARK is employed. The company calls this setup a “zk-zk rollup.”

In a whitepaper on zero-knowledge proofs, the company said that utilizing PLONK like this enables the development of a “universal” zk-SNARK. In practice, Walton-Pocock explained, this means that the company’s SNARKs can be programmed to work with any DeFi interaction that results in a token. 

To enable developers to write zk-SNARK transactions compatible with Aztec 2.0, the company also unveiled a new scripting language called Noir. The open-source scripting language will give developers the tools to write custom logic for mainnet protocols, making Aztec accessible to everyone from DeFi protocols to capital markets and order-books. 

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