Privacy-focused blockchain network Aztec has announced the closure of Aztec Connect, the network’s privacy infrastructure that served as the encryption layer for Ethereum. Aztec Connect will be disabled for deposits from front-ends like zk.money and zkpay.finance on March 17, with users given a one-year period to withdraw their funds from the platform with no fees. Aztec emphasized that the research conducted with Aztec Connect would be critical to the development of a next-generation blockchain, providing a basis for a fully programmable version of encrypted rollups. Aztec has fully open-sourced the Aztec Connect protocol and encourages the community to fork, deploy and operate a new version of the system.
After the closure of Aztec Connect, Aztec plans to focus on developing the universal zero-knowledge language known as Noir and the next-generation encrypted blockchain. Aztec emphasized that Aztec Connect was an important stepping stone towards realizing its ultimate goal and that it is now time to focus fully on that goal: a decentralized general-use encrypted blockchain.
Aztec has recommended that users withdraw funds from Aztec Connect as soon as possible since withdrawals will become significantly more burdensome after March 21, 2024. From March 2024, Aztec will no longer run a sequencer, and contract permissions will be renounced, and all rollup functionality will cease.