AZTEC Protocol

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Aztec Network is a L2 privacy layer on Ethereum. It strives to enable affordable, private crypto payments via zero-knowledge proofs. Additionally it allows to deposit funds into a variety of DeFi Protocols such as Lido, Element.Fi, etc.



  • Have announced (9-2019) their upcoming multi-party computation set-up ceremony and opened to applications for 200 participants to take part in a global relay. The ceremony will build a ‘Reference String’, an echo of ZCash’s Powers of Tau Ceremony, and will lead up to mainnet launch at the end of October. More details on how the ceremony works here
  • Vitalik announced his participation in the Ignition ceremony, using his own implementation of the MPC.
  • AZTEC has completed Ignition, the biggest MPC ceremony in history by number of participants. From their blog (7-1-2020):

"600 sign-ups, 202 participants ran the software — of which 176 were valid, 30 participants stayed incognito. Most participants came from London

Confidential transactions on Ethereum are launching this month!

2 audits completed (Trail of Bits & ConsenSys Diligence), Ceremony finished, Codex computation finished this week → Deploy to Mainnet January 2020"

"we’re doing final deploy tests for our mainnet protocol, preparing for our launch later this year."

Audits & Exploits

"Funds can be stolen if

  1. the cryptography is broken or implemented incorrectly,
  2. a contract receives a malicious code upgrade. There is no delay on code upgrades (CRITICAL).

Users can be censored if

  1. the operator refuses to include their transactions and users lack resources to propose blocks themselves.

MEV can be extracted if

  1. the operator exploits their centralized position and frontruns user transactions."
  • From competitor Railgun's blog comparing itself with Aztec (28-6-2022):

"Aztec’s protocol and smart contracts have not been externally audited, and while their smart contracts and client-side libraries are open-source, their sequencer code is private. Aztec is at least a year or two years away from a professional-ready, audited platform. Deployer keys could potentially be abused to steal funds, or a court order could force the team to change their code to reveal previously private information without prior warning to users. Aztec is as secure and private as its centralized team chooses it to be."


  • From competitor Railgun's blog comparing itself with Aztec (28-6-2022):

"Another vulnerability was identified."

"Aztec $50k bug bounty for double-spend vulnerability, emulating non-native field operations."


Admin Keys

"The system has a centralized operator. Only specific addresses appointed by the owner are permitted to propose new blocks during regular rollup operation. Periodically a special window is open during which anyone can propose new blocks. Users can be censored if the operator refuses to include their transactions and users lack resources to propose blocks themselves."




  • Does not have a token itself, but releases zk Tokens. The first of which at the launch (1-2-2020) was zkDai. "Over the coming six weeks we’ll release other zk Tokens onto the network, and in two months’ time we will remove restrictions so you can make completely private custom assets from scratch."
  • From this article by TrustNodes (10-2-2020):

"You need to deposit dai through the ZkDai (zkassetdetailed) contract, through a zero knowledge proof.” Aztec turns dai into what can be described as a smart contract database asset. You send the dai to Aztec, and you get zkdai which gives you a claim to the dai.

You can transfer this zkdai within the smart contract environment, but the blockchain won’t know until you convert it into dai. In the meantime you’re exchanging value in a very private manner. End users can’t quite play yet with Aztec because an app is not out, but devs can incorporate it through a tutorial of sorts."


  • Whitepaper can be found [insert here].
  • Code can be viewed [insert here]. From their blog (10-6-2021): "Aztec initially realeased some of its prover code under the Polaris license jointly created with StarkWare. Today we announce that all future releases of code from Aztec will be under the open source Apache 2.0 license."
  • Built on: L2 on Ethereum
  • Programming language used: Solidity

Transaction Details

How it works

"Validity proofs ensure state correctness. Each update to the system state must be accompanied by a ZK Proof that ensures that the new state was derived by correctly applying a series of valid user transactions to the previous state. Once the proof is processed on the Ethereum blockchain the L2 block is instantly finalized.

All the data that is used to construct the system state is published on chain in the form of cheap calldata. This ensures that it will always be available when needed."

"Aztec has deployed the two core components of its technology today:

  1. Aztec Crypto Engine (ACE) — our smart contract validator on Ethereum mainnet, checking the correctness of every private transaction
  2. Privacy SDK — abstracts away the complexities of Aztec’s cryptography, so developers can integrate privacy into their dapps with ease"



"Aztec announced it is unrolling a set of tools, dubbed Aztec Connect, to let developers add its privacy feature to a wide variety of protocols by using a software bridge. "It allows users to confidentially access world-class DeFi services on Ethereum with up to 100x cost savings, all while strengthening Aztec’s existing privacy guarantees. At launch, Aztec Connect extends the capabilities of, adding whitelisted functionality from select blue-chip DeFi partners," said the company in a blog post."

  1. "zkRollup based Layer 2 network, live on Ropsten
  2. Private sends by default — shield and send your ERC-20s privately
  3. 200x gas reduction compared to Aztec 1.0
  4. Secure by design: all transactions are validated on-chain
  5. Programmable Privacy with Noir — The private contract language"


"bitcoiners would argue that because you can’t validate yourself, you can’t be sure zkdai or zcash has not been printed out of thin air.

“That’s not actually true — the point of a parity check is to prove that each transaction has a net zero effect on supply,” says Tom Walton-Pocock, after further adding: “I think I’d return with the question ‘under what conditions can the parity check over Aztec’s encrypted balances fail?’."

Zk-Zk Rollup

  • Is putting Zk's inside Zk's (24-4-2020):

"With this code, we can efficiently verify a SNARK inside another SNARK.

In ZK² Rollup, the spender makes a private transaction on their own device, keeping their data secret — this is a ‘proof computation’.

Instead of sending straight to Ethereum (too expensive), they send to a ‘rollup provider’, which aggregates 1,000s of transactions into a ‘rollup proof’. This collapses the gas cost on Ethereum, and makes our payments network scale.

Here are the benchmarks we’d like (in a perfect world):

  1. ~1s proof construction times on smartphones
  2. ~10s proof construction times for rollups (server-side)
  3. ~1,000tps on mainnet
  4. 3 layer recursion — proofs of proofs of proofs"


"In the next month, the team will launch Aztec Connect, the first private bridge to Ethereum DeFi, unlocking privacy and scale for leading DeFi projects like Element and Lido."

Other Details

Oracle Method

Privacy Method

"When you make a deposit to shield crypto via, you receive encrypted notes on Aztec, e.g. zkETH or zkDAI.

If you send these notes to someone else who’s on they’ll receive zkETH/zkDAI on Aztec, and if you send the notes to someone who’s not on they’ll simply receive ETH/DAI on the Ethereum L1. In the latter case your send is also private, since the recipient will only see that the funds came from the Aztec smart contract and not your address specifically."

  • From Bankless (22-7-2022):

"While complex, at a high-level this architecture functions similar to a UTXO-model and uses zk-proofs to transfer ownership of assets, while simultaneously protecting the identities of any parties involved."

"Aztec's privacy-first zkRollup has also amassed a significant anonymity set, with the 0.1 ETH deposit set ~60% of the size of Tornado Cash's for the same deposit amount."

  • From Bankless (15-4-2021):

"Beyond private Ethereum transactions on the platform, which help users protect their privacy and save on gas costs, Aztec can be used as your anonymous DeFi wallet. In other words, it can be used to wash and anonymize your funds if you’re ever trying to fund a new address.

When sending zkETH from to a regular Ethereum address, the recipient will receive regular, "unshielded" ETH directly to the wallet. The trick here is that Etherscan will show the funds were sent from the 'Aztec Contract' and not the sender's address.

By using Aztec, you could fund new DeFi wallets without worrying someone may track your trail of breadcrumbs. Better yet, you could use to protect your funds!"


Their Other Projects

Aztec Connect

"Aztec Connect provides users with the ability to directly interact with smart-contracts that are deployed on L1 from within the L2. This means that users can inherit Aztec’s privacy while also accessing the liquidity and composability of dapps on Ethereum. Further, Aztec users also pay minimal gas fees despite the direct interaction with L1 because, like with any rollup, gas fees are still batched and amortized across all transactors."

"In the next month, the team will launch Aztec Connect, the first private bridge to Ethereum DeFi, unlocking privacy and scale for leading DeFi projects like Element and Lido. Meanwhile, Aztec has crossed 4,200 shielded ETH in the system, with over $15m total TVL."


  • From their blog (27-3-2020):

"Our privacy roadmap is as follows:

  1. ✅ Balance privacy — hiding transaction amounts
  2. ⌛ User privacy (coming soon) — hiding ‘spender’ and ‘receiver’ info
  3. ✘ Code privacy — hiding asset/code being spent/run"


"Aztec’s privacy-enhancing protocol has more than 70,000 unique users who have deposited over 60,000 ETH ($75M) in its smart contracts since it launched in July, according to a Dune Analytics dashboard."

" has helped facilitate over 250,000 private crypto transactions to date. Aztec currently has ~$2.8M in total value locked (TVL) across mainly ETH and DAI deposits."

  • From Bankless (22-7-2022):

"Per L2 Beat, Aztec Connect currently has $3.12M in TVL."

"Aztec's first-party private payments app,, is nearing $100m in all-time deposits and 60k registered users, with steady growth since launch."

  • JPMorgan's blockchain team trialed Aztec during a series of ZKP tests in February 2018.

Projects that use or built on it


Pros and Cons



"The system has a centralized operator."

Team, Funding, Partners, etc.


  • From their blog (16-12-2022):

"Aztec Network is proud to announce $100 million in Series B financing led by a16z crypto, with participation from A Capital, King River, Variant, SV Angel, Hash Key, Fenbushi, and AVG."

"Raised $17 million. Crypto investment giant Paradigm led the latest funding round for Aztec, while other investors included Ethereal Ventures and Vitalk Buterin himself."

Consensys, a_capital, Coinbase, Mov37, Samos Investments and ef.

"So how are they going to make money?

“On value capture we’re not passing detailed comment on that now (not least because the blockchain and zero-knowledge landscape is changing at a breathless pace at the moment). We will lay out our model publicly at a later date,” Walton-Pocock says."

  • ConsenSys led a $2.1 million funding round for Aztec in November 2019.


"Polaris license under which StarkWare plans to release source code for its STARK prover; Aztec will use the same Polaris license for its PLONK provers (see their post)."