Aztec’s New Hybrid ZK Rollup Is Focused on Privacy and Compliance

A roadmap to deliver the hybrid ZK rollup is in motion


3rdtimeluckystudio/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


Aztec Labs is creating a hybrid zero-knowledge rollup designed to execute smart contracts in a private, trustless and scalable manner. 

Developers built the Ethereum blockchain to optimize public consensus at the cost of native privacy, and privacy solutions often do not support a complicated ecosystem of decentralized applications.

Aztec’s hybrid zero-knowledge (ZK) rollup solution is aimed at solving this problem. In an interview with Blockworks, Joe Andrews, the head of product at Aztec Protocol, said that  “we’re trying to build the privacy layer that we wish had existed when we set out all those years ago to put corporate debt onto Ethereum…the exciting part is, we think we can now actually do it.”

Aztec intends to combine private and public execution in one single ZK rollup. This is one of the fundamental differences between it and other Ethereum ZK rollups, Andrews notes.

“I think of Ethereum or other rollups in a way that is like — here’s my transaction request, please do this off-chain and create a proof that you’ve done it correctly, on Aztec, it’s here is the proof that I’ve done a transaction, please include this in your next rollup of transactions,” Andrews said.

This means that an encrypted transaction is happening solely on a user’s device, unlike other ZK rollups today, he said.

In practice, the use cases of this type of hybrid zkRollup could be used to enable confidentiality in various dapps — not just privacy apps, Zachary Williamson, the chief technology officer at Aztec Protocol, told Blockworks. 

“What it does is it expands the design space of what you can build…you can build applications where the goal really isn’t just privacy, but requires information hiding to do what you need to do,” Williamson said.

Gaming could be one of these things, alongside private voting in DAOs or executing private trades on public automated market makers (AMMs), he claimed.

To ensure the enablement of private smart contract computation, the team is also developing its own privacy focused smart contract programming language, known as “Noir.”

Noir is completely open source and will be a general zero-knowledge circuit language designed to prove any cryptographic backend.

“The reason we want to be programmable and why we have a language is because the ideas that we can come up with as a first-party builder are going to be pale in comparison to what is going to be unlocked by just giving these tools to the entire community,” Williamson said.

In its current state, users can deploy private contracts on Aztec’s local system, with the public side of the technology still in the works. 

The team said it is currently targeting a Q3 local developer testnet, and fully remote testnets at the start of next year.

Start your day with top crypto insights from David Canellis and Katherine Ross. Subscribe to the Empire newsletter.

The Lightspeed newsletter is all things Solana, in your inbox, every day. Subscribe to daily Solana news from Jack Kubinec and Jeff Albus.


Upcoming Events

Salt Lake City, UT

MON - TUES, OCT. 7 - 8, 2023

Blockworks and Bankless in collaboration with buidlbox are excited to announce the second installment of the Permissionless Hackathon – taking place October 7-8 in Salt Lake City, Utah. We’ve partnered with buidlbox to bring together the brightest minds in crypto for […]

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Research Report Cover Vertex.jpg


The proliferation of new perp DEXs has led to fragmented liquidity across various DEXs and chains. Vertex, known for its vertically-integrated DEX that includes spot, perpetual, and integrated money markets, is now tackling cross-chain liquidity fragmentation through horizontal integration with the launch of new Edge instances. Vertex's integrated offerings and cross-margined account structure amplify the benefits of new instances: native cross-chain spot trading, optimized cross-chain basis trading, consistent interest rates, reduced bridging friction, and more.


Partnering with EtherFi and Angle, the fully on-chain perp DEX features bespoke collateral



Gavin Wood introduced the next evolutionary step for the Polkadot network: the Join-Accumulate Machine, or JAM


The side events were the places to be at Consensus 2024, according to attendees


Also, who’s come out swinging in the spot ether ETF fee war — and who could undercut them


I know it is not in their nature, but US regulators could learn a lot by researching the digital asset frameworks that overseas regulators have already gotten right


Also, the ETF hype train can count out at least one member