PLONK Benchmarks II — ~5x faster than Groth16 on Pedersen Hashes

Benchmarks from Aztec

Following our first benchmarks on the MiMC hash at the end of December, we’re excited to present benchmarks on Pedersen hashes, whose security properties are less controversial than MiMC because they rest on assumptions no stronger than discrete log.

To refresh your memory about why hash benchmarks are so important, read our primer.


PLONK is a new type of ZK-SNARK — a highly efficient Universal SNARK, created in a collaboration between Zac Williamson and Ariel Gabizon. ‘Universal’ of course means that all circuits (read: private transactions / smart contracts) can be validated with just one trusted setup. Before this, we require a new setup for every new circuit (read: every edit to a private smart contract).

Sonic, PLONK and Marlin are a new circuit description which consists of gates, of two kinds: multiplications (×) and additions (+).

So — the results.

The Benchmarks

PLONK is ~5x faster over Pedersen Hashes, 3x faster over MiMC, but ~1.5x slower over SHA-256. Pedersen vs Groth16 is measured over 2,400 hashes. Note: MiMC, Pedersen and SHA-256 are here benchmarked over different numbers of hashes bytes, and so these benchmarks are only valid by comparing across a row, not across a column. Machine Spec: Surface Pro 6, with an i7–8650U CPU at 2.1GHz, 4 physical cores, 16GB RAM

Proving Times in Pictures

Prover time in seconds for given number of hashes
The same graph but measuring constraint count rather than seconds to prove

Quick Glance in the Rear-View Mirror

This is another exciting milestone for universal SNARKs.

That there is now a secure hash over which a universal SNARK can not just match but outpace the seminal single-circuit Groth16 by 5x on prover speed — this is extraordinary.

We must remember that Sonic, that historic first breakthrough in universal SNARKs from Maller, Bowe, Kohlweiss and Meiklejohn, was published only a year ago.

Aztec and other teams will keep working to push the boundaries of mathematics and smart contract engineering to eliminate the trade-offs between public blockchains and private networks.

Join the Team

We’re on the lookout for talented engineers and applied cryptographers. If joining our mission to bring scalable privacy to Ethereum excites you — get in touch with us at

Join our Community

Aztec Network

Private transaction network on Ethereum.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Start a blog

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store