Aztec Launches DeFi Privacy Bridge Aztec Connect

Ethereum privacy system Aztec Network’s Aztec Connect, a bridge that provides a privacy shield for decentralized finance (DeFi) transactions, went live Thursday.

“I think of Aztec Connect as a VPN [virtual private network] for Ethereum,” Jonathan Wu, head of growth at Aztec, told CoinDesk in an interview. “Anything that you can do on Ethereum you can now do with privacy through the Aztec Connect system.”

In March 2021, Aztec launched the protocol, which provided a privacy shield for direct Ethereum transactions. Connect moves the shield out further, allowing users to privately connect to Ethereum’s decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem, including popular apps Uniswap, Lido and Aave. Private DeFi actions could include staking, lending, swaps and decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) treasury management. The Aztec network includes zero-knowledge rollup technology, which essentially bundles transactions before sending them to the Ethereum mainnet, saving money on transaction or gas fees.

Aztec Connect is intended to allow anyone to add privacy to Ethereum applications through either bridge contracts (interfaces connecting Ethereum smart contracts to Aztec’s underlying rollup technology) or a software development kit (SDK) that lets developers integrate their apps with Connect.

The original protocol has also received an upgrade so that users can now access DeFi interactions that are private by default, beginning with liquid staking through Lido and the fixed rate vaults of Element Finance.

“Our belief is that public and private applications will have to play seamlessly together in the future,” said Wu. “Aztec Connect is a great example of how you can seamlessly add private functionality to public applications.”