New ZenIP Idea - “New Horizen” Discussion

The Horizen ecosystem has always been driven by the ambitious vision of becoming the “Zero-Knowledge Enabled Network of Blockchains.” While the project has made some important contributions towards this end, most notably by developing a zero-knowledge proof-based interoperability protocol, the industry was generally more interested in other interoperability solutions.

All the while, Horizen and its community has adapted to changes in the web3 landscape, with protocol upgrades such as the introduction of an EVM-compatible sidechain (EON) and removing the shielded pool. Despite these important updates, Horizen needs to better differentiate itself in the crowded Web3 landscape by contributing new technologies to solve the industry’s existing and future challenges.

As the current technical partner of the Horizen ecosystem and long standing members of the community, we at Horizen Labs, want to introduce a potential technical update called “New Horizen” to the community. This is not just an update to Horizen; it’s a bold leap forward, positioning the Horizen ecosystem to make a significant impact in solving the scalability problem, where rollups must compete with each other and applications on monolithic blockchains for limited blockspace to settle their states. Horizen’s journey thus far has set the stage for the project to not just catch up, but to lead and innovate in the blockchain space.

The industry is evolving from a preference for monolithic, “one-size-fits-all” blockchains, to a more dynamic, flexible approach focused on modularization. In this transformative phase, the Horizen community is perfectly positioned to play a pivotal role with “New Horizen,” a groundbreaking concept to build web3’s modular security layer.

Think of “New Horizen” as a modular system dedicated to proof verification and settlement. This strategic segmentation has the potential to substantially lower the security costs for Layer 2 solutions (L2s) and application-specific chains (appchains). This is especially crucial in a multi-chain environment, where L2s and appchains often face economic challenges due to the substantial costs of maintaining a secure, decentralized network.

To bring this vision to life, we at Horizen Labs, envisage creating a "New Horizen” mainchain that features a Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism and a proving system upheld by this consensus. Initially, this architecture should dramatically decrease the verification costs for zero-knowledge (ZK) rollups, paving the way for broader applications to other types of rollups, appchains, and even Web2 services. As a proof of concept, it could start by verifying proofs from a specific ZK rollup development framework but its design would be versatile and composable, allowing it to adapt and verify a diverse range of proofs as the ecosystem develops.

At Horizen Labs, we view “New Horizen” not only as a potential technological advancement for the Horizen ecosystem, but also as a strategic leap towards a more efficient, secure, and collaborative blockchain future. Therefore, we would like to introduce the concept to the community for discussion.


This is exciting!

  1. How does “New Horizen” benefit roll-ups with the upcoming Cancun/Deneb Ethereum Q1 of 2024 upgrade which is meant to reduce rollup costs by 10x - and the eventual EIP-4844 “proto-danksharding” later this year to reduce rollup costs by 100x and “large scalability gains because this data is not competing with the gas usage of existing Ethereum transactions.”"
  2. Who is the competition, are there existing solutions?
  3. How do we ensure we’re building something other projects will actually use, and also make sure we’re delivering quickly?
  4. Is there a specific ZK rollup framework to target initially?

1 - Proto-danksharding addresses the Data Availability layer for rollups. It is something that Celestia and Eigenlayer may want to be concerned about. Proof Verification is a completely different part of blockchain composability than Data Availability.

  1. Proof Verification is done on Ethereum and in ZK rollups, although there may be other projects that are working toward creating a modular and composable layer for proofs. Not sure

  2. The software development and delivery methodology of Horizen Labs is very different now than a few years back when Zendoo was being developed. This will be a big project, it will not be easy, and as the Horizen Labs team has the right mix of people, experience, and process, it will move along smartly.

  3. The ones listed on l2beat that are the ZK Rollup type would be good ones that would be able to benefit.

It is the apps that want lower costs for their overall transaction fees who will want to work with ZK rollups that optimize each of the layers listed above in the Modular Blockchain diagram that will really drive the usage of New Horizen. There are many apps that will become possible when the overall settlement costs are lower.


I’m lookng very much forward to engaging with anyone who has any questions about this. Please feel free to tag me with any questions that you might have!

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  1. The focus of the upgrade you’re referencing is Data Availability cost. The solution here is not focused on data availability, but rather other costs that rollups incur.
  2. blockops answer is correct. Proof verification is currently done in Ethereum, and as of now, we haven’t found anyone targeting this piece of the stack specifically.
  3. Horizen Labs has been performing user research, and discussing (at a very high level) the concept with a variety of potential partners. User research is important in product development. It’s a concept that we’ve been introducing slowly over the time that I’ve been a part of Horizen Labs. I’m confident it will be incredibly impactful, and ensure that we’re working on the correct problems, and creating the best solutions. If we find anything that leads us to believe that we’re not working on the correct problem, we’ll pivot very quickly. This is one of the benefits in working in Agile (which is a framework that Horizen Labs teams employ).
  4. Yes, but for now, we’re not going to be sharing that as there are some details that need to be worked out.

Awesome questions and not much more to add to what @blockops and @john have already said, but wanted to highlight some big points that might not be readily understood from the OP:

  1. The initial GTM with New Horizen (NH) is to provide proof verification services to ZKRs on Ethereum, but…
  2. Importantly, we’re going to be building a fully integrated ZKR and appchain (and beyond) stack natively within NH such that our user base will extend beyond Ethereum.

This means we’ll get demand for NH from the ZKR world inside of Ethereum, for starters, and then we’ll be doing our own ecosystem building natively within NH.

The thread here is high level and what we really want the community to think about is whether they believe in this shift in purpose: should Horizen turn into the modular proof verification layer for Web3, or should we continue with the status quo…trying to compete in the interoperability space (I would say, unsuccessfully). Second, is shifting to proof of stake acceptable?

If these two things are interesting to the community, then we’ll drop the full ZenIP with more detail on the implementation. As @john alluded to, we’ve done a ton of research and even development already, so we’re fully confident and ridiculously excited by this idea and have a ton to share with everyone. Let’s just take the important decisions in order and move fast on this.

This is a big idea. Huge, even. No one is doing modular proof verification yet, so Horizen has the opportunity to own this layer, just like Celestia owns the DA layer. We’ve taken our time in making the idea public, because to “own” it we need to move fast and deliver ASAP. We’re ready if you are.


Yes the shift to modular proof verification sounds like the best thing for horizen. Staying as we are will not bring the ecosystem forward. Need big change on the tech side.
Eager to see the full zenIP, any idea on timeframe and delivery if this zenip gets approved?


We’re working on the estimates now, but the expectation is within the first half of the year, if not sooner, for the proof verification layer. Then we’ll build out the vertical stack from there, but at least we’ll be able to start offering valuable services to the rest of the Web3, and get that extra utility for $ZEN, quickly.


Unlike a store-of-value token like Bitcoin, HORIZEN has a network direction.
In such a network, scalability is essential and we believe that the transition to POS is a necessity as the times change.
Horizen Labs already has enough internal data (including market research) based on its experience with Yugalabs.
Based on this, we will be able to achieve positive POS conversion results.


The new horizen sounds exciting. I admit I am not a dev, but from the history with zendoo we have learned that complicated modular systems is not what the market is looking for(proof of this would be that, with all the promise zendoo had, no developers besides horizen labs built a sidechain). So, to that point I want to make sure we reflect on this and not make the same mistake. Again, I am not a dev, but when I hear modular vs. “one size fits all” I get the feeling it is complicated. It would make me feel better knowing that any low level developer could use the ZK proof system without having to be an expert. Wouldn’t it be better to build both a simple module for the majority of developers and not just modular system only experts can use? At the end of the day its a numbers game and the more developers that can easily use the system the better.

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May I ask what’s the full name of ZKR?

Zero Knowledge Rollups

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I’m not totally sure I follow. The modular system is what Horizen Labs is proposing to build. A user of the ecosystem would need to do nothing more than deploy their ZKR stack into the ecosystem. This is relatively simple (much simpler than spinning up an entire appchain) and represents a departure from the old Zendoo paradigm which was a “system only experts can use”. We have spent time to evaluate why only Horizen Labs have developed on top of Zendoo. This new platform will represent a significant departure from the old way to a new way.


Totally agree that we want to stay clear of complexity here and to learn from our past. That’s exactly what New Horizen does: it offers a clear vision and mission for the ecosystem in doing one really important thing in Web3 better than anyone else; versus with Zendoo we were competing with every interoperability play and really every execution layer, or L1 and L2, out there.


I was examining ZKSync’s on-chain data related to proofs and settlement. In just 7 minutes, the ZKSync protocol consumed 0.4057 ETH at this rate, that´s 3.477 ETH / hour and 83.45 ETH / Day ($183k a day), $67M a year !!! . This is just one example of the numerous Layer 2 solutions on Ethereum. With the cost-reduction potential that “New Horizen” brings, it’s exciting to envision how this could facilitate the growth of even more L2s and appchains.


It’s really promising.We’re still doing market sizing estimates and looking across all ZKP smart contracts, but this is a solid example of costs faced with ZKRs. Just one note is that the New Horizen solution will specifically be for proof verification, not the full cost of settlement, but it’s still a great example to illustrate the point.


Sorry I am late writing here, I wrote my thoughts on discord, but I forgot to share it here. As I am pro PoS, I see no downside to this idea. Faster modular changes + faster blockchain while removing centralization that is currently formed on PoW system. Yes please :smile:

Can Horizen zk roll-up BTC?

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Hi !

How is EON integrated in this New Horizen project ? Is it one example of these settlement layers ?

I think I understand the new product but I don’t see exactly where EON fits in (hoping it’s not abandonned) ?

Best regards,

thanks for your question.

could you please explain a bit more what you mean by this, I’m not sure I understand.