Private transactions are coming to Ethereum.
Crypto startup Carbon is partnering with AZTEC Protocol, a privacy tech development firm, to leverage AZTEC’s privacy technology for Carbon’s CUSD stablecoin. The privacy-enabled CUSD is set to go live on the Ethereum mainnet in the third quarter of 2019.
According to Carbon CEO Sam Trautwein, this partnership would create the first privacy-wrapped fiat collateralized stablecoin on Ethereum. “We think this is an important step in the crypto space,” Trautwein tells The Block.
“In the era of big data and Cambridge Analytica, privacy is something people care about,” Trautwein adds.
The process to mint a private CUSD coin is as follows:
- A client signs up to Carbon and completes a KYC verification process
- The client sends a USD transaction (wire or ACH) to one of Carbon’s financial partner banks.
- Once this transaction is received, a trust managed by Carbon will issue private CUSD to the client’s Ethereum address, backed 1 to 1 by the amount of USD transferred from the client.
As to whether there are regulatory concerns for printing and redeeming privacy coins, Trautwein tells The Block that he does not “think there is an answer that question today,” and that Carbon is “still waiting with bated breath to see how the regulatory [landscape] works out.” Trautwein does note that all of CUSD’s client will still have to pass through a “bank-level” KYC process.
The AZTEC protocol uses a cryptography method called zero-knowledge proofs popularized by privacy coin Zcash. AZTEC, however, has designed its protocol, using range proofs, to increase the speed and lower the cost of privacy transactions on Ethereum.
Prior to launching AZTEC, Thomas Pocock and his co-founder Zachary Williamson was running Creditmint, a trading and settlement platform built on Ethereum. While running Creditmint, the duo discovered a “need for privacy on public blockchains,” but also “realized that privacy wasn’t coming to Ethereum.” So they decided to launch AZTEC in November 2018, raising a $2.1 million seed round led by ConsenSys Labs.
As to why the AZTEC team chose to partner with Carbon as opposed to the dozens of other stablecoins on the market, Pocock tells The Block that Carbon was “one of the first to test our technology” and that they were “lightning fast” at finding a way to use it.
“Carbon has built up considerable expertise at the intersection of cryptocurrencies, regulation and money transfer, and we’ve been consistently impressed with the speed and quality of their execution in this challenging area,” Pocock said in a statement.