London-based privacy infrastructure provider, Aztec, has announced that it will cease operations for its flagship product – Aztec Connect. March 21st, 2024 is the last day when users can access their accounts and avail services from Aztec.
Aztec Connect is a privacy layer for Ethereum that enables anonymous transactions on the network. It employs zero-knowledge proofs to ensure that transactions are private and safe, while also permitting selective information sharing when appropriate. The service’s novel approach to anonymity has been praised, and it has garnered a following among crypto enthusiasts.
Furthermore, Aztec explained that from March 21st, 2024, Aztec will no longer operate a sequencer (A system that publishes blocks processing Aztec Connect transactions, contract permissions). As for users of Aztec Connect, the company has advised that they withdraw any assets stored on the platform before the closure date.
Aztec revealed that the ability to deposit funds into the Aztec Connect contract using zk.money or any of the other front-ends, such as zkpay.finance, will be disabled in exactly one week from March 13th,2023. However, users will continue to withdraw with no fees for a year.
In the blog post announcing the closure, Aztec cited that they have open-sourced Aztec Connect protocol complete with scaling upgrades and a new secure SDK and motivated their community members to fork, deploy, and operate a new version of the system, further stating that they are willing to fund an independently-operated Aztec Connect.
The company also mentioned that it will be focusing on its other products, such as Noir, which is a programming language. Noir can verify to any EVM chain and can use numerous proving backends, making it an effective general-purpose programming language for zk development. They further confirmed that by the end of 2023, they hope to have a fully featured Noir and local devnet for their blockchain.