Aztec advances privacy product roadmap with test environment launch

Aztec co-founders note that a developer testnet will likely be launched next year


Jakub Krechowicz/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


Aztec has revealed a new testing environment for developers who want to build privacy-focused smart contract apps.

Joe Andrews, Aztec’s co-founder and head of product, told Blockworks that the Aztec Sandbox brings together software pieces that represent “a full implementation of the future execution environment that the Aztec rollout will have.”

Developers will have access to a private execution environment, or an RPC server, which can generate proofs. 

This means developers can construct a transfer transaction that will create a zero-knowledge proof, which mutates the encrypted data, and change it in a way that can not be observed — proving to the network that a transaction is accurate without revealing the information.

According to Zac Williamson, co-founder and CEO of Aztec, there are three privacy categories when it comes to blockchains.

“You have user privacy, data privacy and code privacy,” Williamson explained. “User privacy is hiding the identity of the transaction center. Data privacy is hiding the information and encrypting the information that they are transacting with. Code privacy is hiding the actual knowledge of the contracts that they are communicating with.”

Williamson went on to note that Aztec is designed to achieve these privacy categories. This means that when a transaction is sent on the network, the only thing that will be visible from the observer’s perspective, is that the encrypted information would be added to the network state. 

“All of this gets bundled together into an easy-to-use package that you can download as a developer, open up Visual Studio code, and start writing contracts on Aztec and test it against the Sandbox,” Andrews said.

Aztec’s major focus is building a platform for engineers who want to write smart contracts with strong privacy guarantees but lack the complicated mathematical know-how typically required.

“We’re creating a lot of patterns and designs from scratch, which has made our roadmap more complicated than other [layer-2s],” Williamson said.

The Sandbox is the first step on the development roadmap for Aztec. 

The team is currently working toward a testnet launch with the goal of going live next year. Aztec’s execution environment, fee model, sequencers and provers are future points on the roadmap.

“We want to launch Aztec as a fully decentralized [layer-2],”  Williamson said. “You can’t have identity on blockchains without strong user privacy guarantees.”

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