Q2 was a quarter full of growth and exciting new milestones for the Horizen ecosystem, including the launch of our EVM-compatible sidechain EON on permanent public testnet Gobi, bringing an influx of developer activity onto Horizen, as well as some exciting new partnerships and integrations!
We launched several new products and upgrades, grew the team, welcomed our EVM sidechain, EON, to permanent public testnet Gobi, and more! We are excited to continue meeting new milestones with our growing community.
Horizen EON Q2 Review
EON Permanent Testnet – Gobi
In April, Horizen EON launched on our permanent public testnet, Gobi! Gobi testnet has many improvements and new features since the previous testnets, it is the final beta stage before the EON mainnet activation.
See here for detailed information about the above new features on Gobi.
A ton of work was done on the infrastructure as well, both by improving the Node Gateway (our public RPC, available on Chainlist) and by building and integrating the Secure Enclave for certifiers that won’t have to worry about their signing keys, given they are stored in a secure remote environment.
Furthermore, we have made improvements to our networking layer, enhancing overall performance. This optimization translates into faster and more reliable communication within our ecosystem. Our dedication to security has led us to engage in rigorous theoretical analysis. This in-depth evaluation has allowed us to fine-tune our consensus mechanism, ensuring optimal parameters.
Interoperability is one of many capabilities the team focused on in Q2:
- Native <> traditional smart contracts interoperability
- Sidechain-to-sidechain full workflow with real circuits completed and circuits were audited with success. This crucial interoperability protocol allows for seamless communication between different sidechains within the Horizen ecosystem.
First Sidechain Hardfork
On Gobi, we successfully conducted the first hardfork on a Horizen sidechain! The team has revised the fork manager to handle optional fork points, and this is a feature of the underlying Sidechains-SDK.
EON Developer Tools and Resources
We have extensive documentation and tutorials for our EON users, be sure to check out some of the links below to start building, and be sure to reach out to us on our Discord with any questions!
- How to Launch an ERC-721 NFT on Horizen via Thirdweb
- How to Create an ERC-20 Token on Horizen
- Horizen EON Documentation
- Deploying a dApp using the Remix IDE
- Cobalt Wallet Step-by-Step Tutorial
EON Partnerships and Integrations
In April we announced a partnership with Covalent, a Web3 data provider trusted by over 40,000 developers. The partnership will bring about massive data accessibility and transparency to Horizen’s EVM-compatible smart contracting platform, EON, and provide its developers billions of data points and comprehensive insights into on-chain data. This integration will accelerate the process of achieving a permissionless, interoperable, customizable sidechain network on Horizen, as well as allow developers to leverage an increasingly accelerated volume of blockchain data points to efficiently build and deploy dApps on Horizen EON.
Horizen has also integrated Band Protocol, a cross-chain data oracle platform, that will provide real-time price feeds and reliable data for Horizen EON. This integration allows developers to enhance and extend their smart contract capabilities on Horizen’s EON.
Horizen added Ankr, a leading web3 infrastructure provider to its ecosystem. This collaboration will make Ankr one of the first Remote Procedure Call (RPC) providers for EON – unlocking additional access, scalability, and reliability.
In June, we announced a partnership with Auros, a global arithmetic trading, and market-making firm that will increase widespread access to $ZEN in preparation for the launch of the EON ecosystem.
The partnership is set to drive significant growth for the EON ecosystem. Enhanced liquidity for the $ZEN token across centralized and decentralized exchanges, underpinning many functionalities of the EON ecosystem, will increase opportunities for traders, DeFi users, and builders to participate in one of the fastest growing layer-0. Besides instant liquidity provision, this long-term partnership will extend beyond the $ZEN token to future projects building on EON, providing bespoke support based on the unique needs of each project.
- Horizen Bug Bounty Program with Immunefi launched with $75,000 in Rewards!
- Gobi Testnet Integrates with Snapshot Labs
- EON’s Gobi testnet has been added to chainlist
1st Hackathon on Horizen EON: CryptScrow Codeathon
During Q2 we hosted our 1st Hackathon on Horizen EON! The CryptScrow Codeathon saw 90 participants, 47 projects, and 15 submissions, focusing on a theme of building scalable escrow platforms, solving real-life escrow challenges, integrating with external services, and streamlining bounty payouts with Ubiquity DAO.
Some of the various projects included were automated trades via escrow contracts, building a scalable escrow platform, enhancing the functionality of Ubiquity’s UbiquiBot, and more! The winning projects can be found here. Be sure to stay in the loop for our next hackathon by joining our developer newsletter list.
Upcoming Deprecation of the Horizen Mainchain Shielded Pools
The Horizen community recently approved ZenIP 42204 for the deprecation of the Horizen mainchain shielded pools – the removal of shielded transactions with transparent inputs from the Horizen mainchain, which will prevent shielded transaction (T addresses to Z addresses) support at the consensus level.
After the deprecation of mainchain shielded pools, all privacy features will be removed from Horizen main blockchain at the consensus level. This also means ZEN will no longer be a privacy coin after this change.
The purpose of the deprecation is to ensure Horizen does privacy technology the right and sustainable way to drive ecosystem growth and minimize risks. It proposes a solution to eliminate technical debt and avoid regulatory threats that can prevent the greater Horizen community from fully and freely participating in our ecosystem.
The deprecation of the Horizen mainchain shielded pools will be implemented as part of the upcoming mandatory software upgrade of ZEN 4.1. The target release windows are as follows:
Testnet – August 2023
Mainnet – September 2023
CoinDesk also featured this news in an article – “Horizen Scraps Privacy Coin Moniker Amid Regulatory Scrutiny”, including an interview discussing the move with Horizen co-founder and CEO of Horizen Labs, Rob Viglione.
The Horizen Labs cryptography team has been busy during Q2 – participating in many different research projects and initiatives!
The upgraded hash function is optimized for speed and ease of use in zero-knowledge applications. Efficient hash functions play a major role in modern zero-knowledge (ZK) settings. One of these hash functions, Poseidon, has found use in many of the currently used protocols, including Zcash and Mina. However, improvements can be made to its performance, functionality, and usability to adopt it for a wider range of applications. We identify those improvements and present Poseidon2, a faster version of Poseidon.
To advance the application and adoption of zero-knowledge technology, Horizen Labs collaborated with Ethereum Foundation and Ponos Technology on Poseidon2. For more details, we refer to the full paper.
Plonky2 is an efficient ZKP system for constructing succinct non-interactive arguments of knowledge. Groth16 is a widely used ZKP system based on bilinear pairings, known for its strong security and efficiency in generating zk-SNARKs. In this article, discover how Horizen Labs’ research aims to revolutionize both worlds to make them more decentralized and scalable.
At Horizen Labs, we have a strong cryptography team specializing in the usage of zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs). Two types of ZKPs used in blockchain are STARKs and SNARKs. STARKs are transparent and fast, while SNARKs have smaller proofs. While these two types of ZKPs are often used separately, our team has recently discovered how to transform STARK (Plonky2) to a SNARK (Groth16) in order to reduce proof size and increase speed.
In this blog post, we will delve into the significance of this transformation and explain how Horizen users will benefit from it.
Learn more about how Griffin makes zero-knowledge proofs more efficient by reading this paper co-Authored by Horizen Labs’ Markus Schofnegger, Horst Meets Fluid-SPN: Griffin for Zero-Knowledge Applications!
Beyond the Horizen Podcast Updates
During Q2, we continued our Beyond the Horizen Podcast Series, a monthly show all about the Horizen ecosystem and Web3 movement, with three new episodes:
- Episode 4 – Gobi Testnet Security and Bug Bounties – the focus of this episode is on security within the Horizen ecosystem. Joined by James Shuman, head of Security at Horizen Labs, and co-host Ben Sherman. They discuss the recent launch of Horizen EON’s permanent test net called Gobi, which is designed for testing and launching smart contracts on the mainnet. Additionally, they introduce a bug bounty program co-hosted with Immunefi, offering up to $75,000 in bounties to the community.
- Episode 5 – How Market Making Creates Early Liquidity for EON – this episode welcomed Jason Atkins from Auros to discuss what market making is and how it enhances the user experience with cryptocurrency, especially on a new chain like EON.
- Episode 6 – Diving into Cryptography – During this episode, we were joined by Markus and Serena from the Horizen Lab’s Cryptography Team to discuss what cryptography is, what it’s like to work in the space, and how Horizen and Horizen Labs utilize cryptographic proofs.
Media and Events
We were excited to join Consensus in Austin, Texas this year as a sponsor. Connecting with our community, partners, and other projects in Web3, was incredibly rewarding and educational for our team. This year, we showcased all that is new with the Horizen ecosystem and some of the various projects we are working on. The main focus of discussions was around our EVM-compatible sidechain, EON, which just recently launched onto the permanent public testnet, Gobi, our innovations around zero-knowledge technology, and our focus on education and documentation with our Horizen Academy, EON documentation, and more!
The Co-Founder of Horizen and Horizen Labs, Rob Viglione, led a presentation on Why Enterprises Haven’t Embraced Blockchain En Masse. The presentation focused on scale, privacy, and control on the final day of Consensus. After his talk, Rob was joined by Zain Cheng, CTO of Horizen Labs, and Jordan Calinoff, VP of Strategy and Revenue at Horizen Labs for a panel discussion moderated by Angie Villarreal, Project Manager at Horizen Labs.
Horizen hosted a side event during Consensus, called dAppy Hour, with our partners Horizen Labs, Immunefi, Zellic, and Auros, where guests enjoyed food, drinks, and networking! We had live music at the event, featured an interactive photo booth, and it was a great opportunity for Consensus attendees to network and unwind, during a busy event week, welcoming over 300 attendees throughout the evening!
During NFT.NYC 2023, Spencer Soloway, VP of Ecosystem & Marketing and Jordan Calinoff, VP of Strategy & Revenue participated in a panel discussion, A Future of Safer NFT Marketplaces. The discussion focused on a review of the common issues users, brands, and creatives face today, as well as reviewing issues and potential solutions with a focus on how to push a more secure, better experience forward.
Horizen in the News
- Why Enterprises Would be Wise to Choose an EVM-Compatible Chain: Horizen Labs CEO
- Head of Strategic Investments touts the Progressing Advancement of Technology and Artificial Intelligence
- The Blockchain for Enterprise is Hiding in Plain Sight
- Privacy Focused Network Horizen Expected to Undergo Node Upgrade in June
- Beyond Bitcoin: Blockchain is Already a Game-Changer Across Industries
- Binance Will Support the Horizen (ZEN) Network Upgrade & Hard Fork
- Digital Dilemma: Achieving Equilibrium Between Privacy and Usability