Zero-knowledge proof privacy solution for Ethereum introduced by Ernst & Young

Accounting services firm Ernst & Young (EY) has introduced a new zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) privacy solution that it says will reduce barriers to blockchain adoption.

In its announcement, the company claims that EY Ops Chain Public Edition (PE) prototype is the world’s first implementation of ZKP technology on the public ethereum blockchain. The solution will reportedly allow companies to privately and securely create and sell product and service tokens on a public blockchain with private access to their transaction records. The solution also includes the EY Blockchain Private Transaction Monitor prototype that captures transaction history for later review.

A zero-knowledge proof or protocol is a cryptographic technique that allows a “prover” to assure a “verifier” that they have knowledge of a secret or statement without revealing the secret itself. The technology has been generating excitement in the financial industry due to its potential for increasing privacy and security for blockchain participants.

“Private blockchains give enterprises transaction privacy, but at the expense of reduced security and resiliency,” said Paul Brody, EY Global Innovation Leader, Blockchain. “With zero-knowledge proofs, organizations can transact on the same network as their competition in complete privacy and without giving up the security of the public Ethereum blockchain.”

The accounting giant said EY Ops Chain PE is the result of extensive research by the EY blockchain labs in London and Paris – with patents pending – and supports both payment tokens and unique product and services tokens that are similar to the ethereum ERC-20 and ERC-721 token standards. The solution is aimed at helping organizations commercialize the use of blockchain technology across the enterprise.

“The biggest challenge for enterprises’ blockchain adoption is the ability to on-board business partners into their private or consortium blockchain network,” Brody said. “Using the standard, secure infrastructure of a public blockchain while keeping their transactions private, businesses greatly reduce the expensive and time consuming process of setting up private networks and on-boarding business partners one at a time.”

According to James Wester, Research Director, Worldwide Blockchain Strategies, IDC, the development of tools that enhance the capabilities of public blockchains will spur enterprise adoption of public blockchains and are crucial to the growth of blockchain technologies in general.

“The ability to ensure privacy while retaining the security and resilience of public blockchains is an important consideration,” Wester said. “It offers an opportunity for enterprises to begin building real-world solutions on public blockchains and is an important step in the evolution of the technology.”

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