Roberto José Catalán, Co-founder of Aligned, Explains How ZK Tech Will Onboard Significant Number of Crypto and Blockchain Users

While some say adoption will ruin crypto, diluting the core principles this industry was built on, Aligned CEO Roberto José Catalán is on a mission to improve the accessibility of financial tools that are easy to use and free from third-party restrictions.

Aligned is described as the ZK-verification layer for Ethereum, tackling the barriers to crypto adoption – cost and speed. With the launch of its testnet, Aligned can reportedly verify 1000 proofs per second, each for 10% of the typical cost.

As a proof verification layer developed on top of EigenLayer, Aligned‘s platform can work with various proof systems, offering developers flexibility and adaptability.

By reducing costs and increasing verification throughput, Aligned enables more startups within the blockchain industry to utilize proof systems without the enormous expenses associated with Ethereum.

Aligned has garnered interest in its project, as demonstrated by its Series A round which raised $20M USD.

We recently caught up with Roberto José Catalán, Co-founder of Aligned, who explained how ZK tech will onboard the “next generation” of users.

Our conversation with Roberto José Catalán is shared below.

Crowdfund Insider: What is ZK verification, and why does it matter?

Roberto José Catalán: Zero-knowledge (ZK) verification refers to a cryptographic method in which one party (the prover) proves to another party (the verifier) that a given statement is true without revealing any additional information apart from the fact that the statement is indeed true. This is crucial in several contexts, including privacy, security, and efficiency.

This is extremely useful in scenarios where sensitive information needs to be verified without being disclosed, such as financial transactions, identity verification, or compliance checks. By not exposing underlying data during verification, ZK technology helps reduce the attack surface for malicious activities, enhancing overall system security.

Lastly, ZK proofs can streamline processes that require validation by reducing the computational overhead needed to verify data accuracy. This is particularly important in blockchain environments where scalability and speed are crucial.

Crowdfund Insider: There are a number of different players in the ZK space at the moment. What differentiates Aligned from competitors?

Roberto José Catalán: Aligned significantly reduces the cost of ZK verification, verifying proofs for less than 10% of the usual cost, making it extremely cost-effective. This lowers financial barriers, making the adoption of ZK technology more feasible across various applications.

On speed and throughput, Aligned enhances the verification speed and can handle higher throughput ranging up to 1000 proofs per second, far exceeding Ethereum’s standard capacity. This capability is essential for high-volume applications and contributes to greater scalability in blockchain networks.

On speed and throughput, Aligned enhances the verification speed and can handle higher throughput ranging up to 1000 proofs per second, far exceeding Ethereum’s standard capacity Click to Tweet

Additionally, Aligned’s verification layer acts as middleware, integrating seamlessly with Ethereum’s infrastructure. It supports a modular blockchain architecture, offloading verification responsibilities from the main Ethereum network thereby, enhancing performance and enabling scale. As a leading innovator in the ZK space, Aligned is built from scratch for ZK proofs, allowing newer and faster-proving algorithms to be integrated as they are developed. This focus on continuous innovation ensures that Aligned remains at the forefront of the ZK field.

Lastly, Aligned has secured significant funding and strategic partnerships that bolster our capabilities and market reach, including a recent $20 million USD Series A funding round supported by prominent investors like HackVC and DAO5, among others.

Crowdfund Insider: With the launch of its testnet, Aligned can verify 1000 proofs per second at 10% of the typical cost. How were these metrics achieved?

Roberto José Catalán: Aligned is built with state-of-the-art algorithms designed to handle ZKPs efficiently, ensuring faster processing and verification times. Additionally, we employ economic and computational strategies such as batching proofs together, which distributes the verification cost across multiple transactions and significantly reduces the cost per proof. Leveraging a subset of Ethereum’s validators via EigenLayer; restaking also minimizes the need for comprehensive verification across all nodes, which enhances our throughput while keeping costs low.

The Zero-Knowledge Proof verification layer optimizes both speed and cost by focusing exclusively on proof verification, enabling us to process transactions more efficiently than generalized blockchain infrastructures. We harness the power of ZKPs, which are crucial for maintaining data integrity while significantly reducing the computational load. This ensures privacy and security and dramatically lowers the costs associated with traditional proof verification methods. Our modular architecture is another crucial factor of our approach.

By decentralizing the components involved in blockchain operations, we allow each part of our system to specialize and optimize its functions Click to Tweet

By decentralizing the components involved in blockchain operations, we allow each part of our system to specialize and optimize its functions. This enhances performance and scalability, which is particularly vital for managing large volumes of transactions. Finally, our infrastructure is designed to support these operations at scale. We utilize restaked ETH and have developed incentivized light clients that add an extra layer of security and efficiency, allowing us to manage and verify large volumes of proofs, effectively.

Crowdfund Insider: What kind of interest and feedback has Aligned received from the community since the launch of your testnet?

Roberto José Catalán: Aligned has received great interest and traction since the launch of our testnet, with thousands of new users joining our Twitter and Discord channels after witnessing and taking a note of our product’s speed and cost efficiency.

The current testnet was designed solely for EigenLayer AVS operators, a capital-intensive role with high infrastructure requirements. We only plan to open this testnet to around 100 operators with no financial incentive for them; they would simply help us test our verification layer as they believe this is an important infrastructure for the future of Ethereum and ZK technologies.

For users seeking a measured way to contribute to our project, we recommend completing our Galxe quest, where users can learn about our project and help us accelerate the Ethereum roadmap by increasing awareness of the problem being addressed by Aligned. In the coming weeks, we will share our plan for a suitable and rewarding community involvement. We encourage participants to follow our digital community channels (Twitter and Discord), for the latest updates.

Crowdfund Insider: Aligned’s recent Series A round raised $20M USD. How will these funds be used to advance Aligned’s development and adoption?

Roberto José Catalán: We were thrilled that many investors shared our vision for accelerating the Ethereum roadmap by verifying ZK proofs. We completed a pre-seed, seed, and Series A, with each round being oversubscribed.

The funds we raised in our Series A have allowed us to hire some of the best talents in our industry, and we will continue to deploy these funds to improve our team and increase awareness of our project through community projects and marketing initiatives.

Crowdfund Insider: How will ZK technology onboard the next generation of users? What are the key factors that will drive this adoption?

Roberto José Catalán: ZK technology presents several opportunities to onboard the next generation of users, these include solving the scalability issue presented by Ethereum and other blockchains.

ZK-Rollups enable significant scalability improvements by bundling multiple transactions into a single proof. This proof can be verified on the decentralized Aligned layer and sent to Ethereum for a super low cost. This reduces the load on the Ethereum mainnet, allowing for faster and cheaper transactions.

ZK technology also improves interoperability between blockchains, allowing users to interact seamlessly across various platforms. This allows the creation of user-friendly dApps, which will ultimately be the key to attracting more users.

Lower transaction fees mean reduced operational costs for application builders, encouraging more developers to build on decentralized networks.

As the regulatory environment evolves, ZK technology’s ability to provide compliance-friendly privacy solutions will be crucial. Businesses and users will adopt technologies that help them meet regulatory requirements without compromising privacy. We are solving a cost bottleneck for verification that makes these applications possible.

Crowdfund Insider: Is there anything else you would like to share about Aligned, ZK technology, or the future of crypto adoption?

Roberto José Catalán: We have several plans for community-focused initiatives, and we invite all interested users to complete our Galxe quest to familiarize themselves with our project and to stay updated with future developments.

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