Ethereum receives enhanced privacy protocols by way of officially implementing the Aztec privacy network last February 1st. This new development within the world-renowned Blockchain firm establishes confidential tokens wherein all amounts are cryptographically secured by way of using Zcash-based tech.
As the Aztec is still within its early ages, its limitations are still very apparent. As of right now, the network is exclusive for zkDai, which is a private version for the stablecoin of Maker. Ethereum, however, promises that they’d add other zero-knowledge tokens the coming weeks and that full access to custom token creation is coming within the next two months.
There are many observable similarities between Aztec and Zcash (ZEC). Just like Zcash, the Aztec protocol utilizes Zk-SNARKs to authenticate encrypted dealings. It requires generated proof of correctness whenever processing a transfer. Both systems need a trusted setup ceremony to be conducted successfully, as it is the one responsible for creating parameters for efficient computation. This is an essential requirement for every zk-SNARK implementations.
One glaring difference between the two is that Aztec – at its current form – does not conceal the money’s sender and subsequent recipient.
The system heavily relies on the Cryptography Engine smart contract of Aztec itself – it is the one used to authenticate transactions. This contract is then based within a system of what-they-call “notes,” which are then mostly used in a Bitcoin-like structure of outputs and inputs.
The effort of making smart contracts more private
Aztec is purposely made to complete three specific and intricate missions. The first one is to hide a particular portion of a given Ethereum Blockchain. Next to that, is to conceal the senders and receivers of the money. Lastly, it is to make smart contracts ultimately private.
Thomas Walton-Pocock, the CEO of Aztec, says that their priority is the deployment of PLONK to ACE in the year 2020. PLONK is the ultrafast Universal SNARK that is developed by Zac Williamson and Ariel Gabizon, the CTO of AZTEC and the Chief Scientist, respectively. They believe that PLONK will be the one to enable private smart contracts to be executed within one trusted setup.