Consultancy firm Ernst & Young (EY) has released a new set of protocols concerning private transaction on the ethereum blockchain on GitHub.
The project, called Nightfall, aims to provide a way of transaction on ethereum with “complete privacy.”
“Nightfall integrates a set of smart contracts and microservices, and the ZoKrates zk-snark toolkit, to enable standard ERC-20 and ERC-721 tokens to be transacted on the Ethereum blockchain with complete privacy,” reads Nightfall’s code description on Github. “It is an experimental solution and still being actively developed.”
The code was mainly developed to help EY’s corporate clients take advantage of blockchain technology for such use cases as supply chain management, food tracing, and processing transactions between different corporate branches.
Nightfall runs on zero-knowledge proofs (ZKP), which allow the sharing of information between two parties without revealing the information itself.
ZKPs in action
Jonathan Rouach, CEO of privacy-focused blockchain app QEDIT, explained at Consensus Construct 2019 that using a ZKP is similar to telling someone Waldo exists in a “Where’s Waldo?” picture without telling them the character’s exact location.
This is made possible by using a combination of information theoretics and cryptography. Crypto projects such as Ligero and Zcash are already using ZKPs to allow secure on-chain transaction privacy. 0x and StarkWare are also using ZKPs as a possible solution for the scalability issues in decentralized exchanges.
QEDIT also uses ZKPs for its blockchain-based privacy tools being used by enterprise-grade clients like VMWare and RGAX.
Iterating on the now-public protocol
According to Paul Brody, EY’s global innovation leader for blockchain, the consultancy firm wants to run Nightfall on two of their existing blockchain products: EY OpsChain and EY Blockchain Analyzer.
Brody told crypto news site CoinDesk that EY OpsChain is meant for coding blockchain applications such use cases as procurement, sales, inventory management, and the like.
Blockchain Analyzer, on the other hand, is primarily being used by EY’s audit teams to match transactions between public or private blockchain networks and ERP systems and other enterprise systems for auditing purposes.
Now that Nightfall is publicly available on GitHub, Brody says that developers outside of EY and their clients can freely iterate on and develop privacy-focused apps based on the protocol.
“We’re trying to put together an entire suite of capabilities that would include audit and security [and] would allow an enterprise to say yes we are comfortable that we can do secure, private, reliable and regulatory compliant business transactions on a public blockchain network,” he said.