One of the world's largest consultancy firms has released a new set of protocols for enabling private transactions atop the ethereum blockchain.
The project, dubbed "Nightfall," by Ernst & Young (EY) was released on GitHub Friday.
The goal, according to the code's description on GitHub, is to provide a means for transacting on ethereum with "complete privacy." As it states:
As previously reported by CoinDesk, the freely-available code is aimed at helping corporate EY clients use the ethereum blockchain for use cases that include supply chain management, food tracing, and transacting between different corporate branches.
Nightfall leverages a well-known technology in the crypto space known as zero knowledge proofs (ZKPs). ZKPs, put simply, allow for the sharing of information proofs between untrusted parties without revealing the information itself.
Putting ZKPs to work
As explained by Jonathan Rouach – CEO of privacy-focused blockchain application QEDIT – it's similar to showing someone Waldo exists on a picture without revealing where on that picture he is located. The popular children's activity book "Where's Waldo" requires users to locate a key figure in a crowded image.
ZKPs make such a matter possible using a combination of information theoretics and cryptography, Rouach explained during an address at Consensus Construct 2019.
QEDIT also uses zero-knowledge proofs to build blockchain-based privacy tools for enterprise clients such as VMWare and RGAX, a subsidiary of Reinsurance Group of America. Most recently, QEDIT closed a $10 million Series A round from investors including Ant Financial, the payments affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba.
EY, in specific, aims to run Nightfall in two of their existing blockchain products called "EY OpsChain" and "EY Blockchain Analyzer," according to the firm's global innovation leader for blockchain, Paul Brody.
The EY OpsChain is meant for coding applications on the blockchain for use cases such as procurement, sales, inventory management, and the like.
“We have a second application called the Blockchain Analyzer and that’s really to help understand what we did on a blockchain,” explained Brody to CoinDesk. “It’s primarily used by our audit teams to match transactions between public or private blockchain networks and ERP systems and other enterprise systems for audit purposes.”
Now, with the Nightfall code publicly released on GitHub, Brody notes that other developers outside of EY and their clientele can further iterate and build systems leveraging the new protocol.
Brody told CoinDesk:
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