Aligned Manifesto

We live in an era where we can no longer trust what we read, see, or even hear.

Rapid advancements in artificial intelligence have accelerated the production of illusory content. Fake news and alternative facts are displayed in all formats, for any purpose, from personal vanity to political propaganda.

At the same time, global internet freedom is falling, as critical content is increasingly censored, and replaced with deepfakes and disinformation.

This situation, combined with our heavy dependence on online communication, means that verification is both more difficult and more important than ever before.

The information age demands verification.

We need tools to define the truth.

A long series of events have brought us to where we are now. These events are distinct in their scale and in their execution, yet all approach one common challenge: Trust.

In 1985, MIT researchers published a paper introducing the idea of zero-knowledge proofs; a way to prove the validity of a statement without revealing any other information beyond the fact that it is true. Their ideas were explored further in 1991, when researchers used the theory to describe a system where a relatively weak individual computer could check and control the activity of a group of more powerful, decentralised machines.

While the concept was clear in theory, its practical application wouldn't come to fruition until many years later.

In 2009, Bitcoin was created, addressing the lack of trust in the traditional banking system. This was the birth of an entirely virtual sovereign currency, not controlled by inconsistent groups of flawed human beings but by a defined set of mathematical rules.

In 2013, further advancements in ZK theory were published, leading to the first practical combination of zero-knowledge and blockchain technology: the launch of Zcash. Since then, we've witnessed a proliferation of proof systems, each with its unique set of tradeoffs.

After the launch of Ethereum one year later, users were able to have much more control over the data that they put on-chain. Ethereum gave us a decentralized, secure public information and coordination protocol. However, it has encountered significant scalability challenges. ZK proofs present a solution to these scaling issues, and have been implemented in various systems aiming to scale Ethereum. To meet the increasing demand, dozens of projects are working to accelerate the speed of ZK proof generation, and in the near future, hardware acceleration will allow us to generate proofs close to real-time.

With the surge in the generation of ZK proofs, comes an equal demand for their efficient verification. However, fast and affordable verification of proofs has remained a significant challenge due to technological constraints.

The recent introduction of EigenLayer has opened up new possibilities for Ethereum through a novel primitive called 'restaking'. This innovation facilitates the reutilization of ETH within the consensus layer, thereby bolstering crypto economic security and enabling additional applications on the network.

Aligned is at the forefront of the new wave of applications enabled by EigenLayer.

With EigenLayer, it is possible to run various ZK and validity proof verifiers in a decentralized manner, marking a significant advancement in the ZK domain.

Aligned makes full use of EigenLayer to accelerate Ethereum by maximizing the benefits of this new primitive, and providing the ecosystem with a tangible path towards a fully ZK-enabled future.

Our joined technologies represent a huge step forward for Ethereum, signalling a new era of open innovation, with fast and affordable verification of any ZK proof system, and the ultimate alignment of all Ethereum's ZK scalability solutions.

**Aligned will verify and aggregate all the proofs, creating a single core infrastructure of the internet, and helping Ethereum to become the global open coordination network.
Forty years after the original paper was published, the concept of zero-knowledge is more relevant, and prevalent, than ever before. Humanity continues to invent new motivations to deceive, and technology provides the techniques to do so. Yet it also provides the tools we’ll use to defend against deception.

Software powers our cars, factories, airplanes, hospitals, our legal and our financial institutions. This software is vulnerable, and can be modified by dishonest parties.

ZK and validity proofs protect the software that powers our lives.

Aligned defines the truth.

If you want to learn more about Aligned and how we are accelerating Ethereum, read our whitepaper.

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