Interview Software Technology
April 19, 2024

What’s Next for Aleph Zero? Antoni Zolciak Shares Mainnet Updates, Plans, and Key Partnerships at TOKEN2049

In Brief

Antoni Zolciak, Co-Founder of Aleph Zero, discussed the platform’s blockchain advancements, including near-instant transaction finality, proprietary AlephBFT consensus protocol, community-driven development, regulatory compliance, and user privacy enhancement.

Antoni Zolciak, Co-Founder of Aleph Zero, provided exclusive insights during TOKEN2049 into the platform’s advancements in blockchain technology. According to him, with features like near-instant transaction finality and the proprietary AlephBFT consensus protocol, Aleph Zero addresses common blockchain concerns such as scalability, security, and decentralisation. He then shed light on Aleph Zero’s community-driven development, proactive regulatory compliance, and integration of innovative technologies like ZK-SNARKs and sMPC to enhance user privacy.

What differentiates Aleph Zero from other L1 blockchains currently available?

The main difference between Aleph Zero and other L1s is threefold: we want to make Web3 development easy, scalable, and embedded with data confidentiality. What we mean by that last point is that we want to provide developers with the right primitives to build Web3 applications that respect user data from the ground up–and give users a choice on what to share and what to keep private. We believe that the only option to achieve that is to build a system that is compliant with the AML/CFT regulations. Aleph Zero also has near-instant transaction finality, which takes just 0.9s on average.

How does Aleph Zero address common concerns in blockchain technology, such as scalability, security, and decentralisation?

There are many parts of the network that address these in different ways. But in a nutshell, we could say it all comes down to the AlephBFT consensus protocol. It’s our proprietary take on a PoS system that makes use of a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) to offer speed and scalability, extensive security that tolerates even 33% malfunctioning nodes, and a rotating committee mechanism that ensures decentralisation.

What are some of the most exciting solutions being developed by the company?

There’s a lot happening in the Aleph Zero ecosystem. Cardinal Cryptography, the core team that built Aleph Zero, is currently working on Common, a special kind of DEX that features a private order books mechanism and true user data confidentiality that even mitigates the effects of the MEV problem. And while Aleph Zero uses a tech stack derived from Substrate–with modifications required to house AlephBFT–we’re excited about the upcoming EVM compatibility.

What role does the Aleph Zero community play in the company’s development and governance?

Since the early days, Aleph Zero has been driven by its community, which led to a very active user base and engaged members on our Discord and other social media channels. We take community suggestions and feedback and incorporate them into our products–such as enabling validator pruning, simplifying the UX around our products, or simply addressing any other issues.

We work with Ambassadors who help with pre-release testing and community engagement, hand in hand with our Community Management team.

Could you share some of the latest challenges Aleph Zero has faced and how the team overcame them?

Onboarding to a new layer 1, with a new tech stack, is a hurdle for some developers, with the need for additional onboarding, attracting users that need to use a bit non-standard wallets and methods, and beyond it all, you want the DeFi ecosystem to flourish, bringing in liquidity to the products.

Our proactive efforts include the Ecosystem Funding Program, which provides developers with comprehensive support materials, financial grants, and extensive guidance to ensure their projects not only start strong but also reach significant milestones toward Mainnet launches.

How does the company plan to expand its user base and adoption in the coming years?

Stellar products are what drive users, make them stay, and tell their friends about the product, translating into powerful network effects. But as we’re on the brink of ecosystem expansion and new product launches, we’ve come up with the idea of an ecosystem-wide campaign called Alephoria. It’s a set of incentives for AZERO stakers and users to get rewarded and acknowledged for playing a role in our ecosystem. We’re excited to reveal more information about that in the coming weeks!

How is Aleph Zero preparing for potential regulatory changes in the blockchain space?

We’ve always been very conscious of regulation and even preemptively staying on the right side of the law — or even potential laws. 

For example, our privacy layer has a built-in ZK-ID mechanism that effectively means that only users who obtain the ZK-ID by doing KYC with one of the providers will be able to enter the private setting. This is a proactive approach towards the AML/CFT regulations by enabling users to benefit from privacy and also making the system auditable for regulatory purposes.

There’s no shying away from the regulations, and thanks to our proactive approach, we’re building the network in a way that can benefit from them and onboard the next wave of institutions and enterprises coming to Web3.

Regarding the novel AlephBFT consensus protocol, what are the key differences and potential advantages over traditional consensus mechanisms like proof-of-stake and proof-of-work? 

Technically, PoS and PoW are Sybil-resistant schemes required to make a permissionless network operate to ensure a malicious actor cannot control the network without a large economic barrier. Not consensus protocols. AlephBFT is a classical consensus protocol, and the decentralised system combines AlephBFT and PoS to create a permissionless network. What is great about AlephBFT is that it is highly efficient – so efficient, in fact, that the research team proved that you cannot obtain better performance and security theoretically but can only match it. One of the key ideas behind this is that instead of immediately organising transactions in a chain, the network instead begins by organising transactions through an intermediary data structure known as a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) and then eventually ordering all the transactions into a blockchain.

So with AlephBFT, the network tolerates even 33% of the nodes malfunctioning, can operate under the harshest network conditions of total asynchrony between nodes, and enables transaction below a second, which makes it one of the fastest networks out there by this metric. It’s secure and efficient.

How does the integration of ZK-SNARKs and sMPC in Aleph Zero’s platform enhance user privacy compared to other blockchain technologies? 

On the technical level, Aleph Zero’s privacy is purely software-based, which means it doesn’t require any specific hardware to offer that privacy. Our ZK verifier component is also highly performant, even 10X faster than in other privacy-oriented projects, according to the first benchmarks. This is a significant advancement since ZK technology requires extensive computing power. And with sMPC, the applications with privacy can be endless–whenever ZK falls short–such as when storing the smart contract’s state–sMPC comes in to offer a powerful, complete framework.

What upcoming features or updates can users and developers look forward to?

We have just launched Mainnet 13.3 Zahir, which reduces the transaction fees ten times to just 0.00003 AZERO, together with other key improvements around scalability, stability, and network resilience.

The developers can already build on the Mainnet, while the upcoming privacy layer will enable a host of new confidentiality-related features using Zero Knowledge Proofs to verify data without disclosing it. EVM developers should also find their home on Aleph Zero soon.

What were Aleph Zero’s primary goals for participating in Token 2049? What do you expect from these events for your community and the company?

We want to showcase what they can do on Aleph Zero. Every time we participate in such events, we see a lot of people who discover Aleph Zero and immediately start building the most interesting ideas across so many different verticals–the privacy aspect is what opens a bag of new ideas for most, especially combined with the speed.

We would love to get feedback from these participants at events like Token 2049 on new ways in which we can improve the network and make it more useful to them. Live events are also a great way to foster connections, but recently, we’ve also been using them to announce major developments or partnerships. During the week of Token2049, we announced our collaboration around DePin infrastructure with stc Bahrain, one of the major telecoms in the Gulf region, and announced the major release of Mainnet Zahir.

Disclaimer

In line with the Trust Project guidelines, please note that the information provided on this page is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as legal, tax, investment, financial, or any other form of advice. It is important to only invest what you can afford to lose and to seek independent financial advice if you have any doubts. For further information, we suggest referring to the terms and conditions as well as the help and support pages provided by the issuer or advertiser. MetaversePost is committed to accurate, unbiased reporting, but market conditions are subject to change without notice.

About The Author

Viktoriia is a writer on a variety of technology topics including Web3.0, AI and cryptocurrencies. Her extensive experience allows her to write insightful articles for the wider audience.

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Viktoriia Palchik
Viktoriia Palchik

Viktoriia is a writer on a variety of technology topics including Web3.0, AI and cryptocurrencies. Her extensive experience allows her to write insightful articles for the wider audience.

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