Ernst & Young (EY), one of the world’s largest professional services firm, has today publicly released Nightfall: a zero-knowledge proof private transaction protocol. The free and publicly available software has been made available via Github, with the ambitious goal of bringing corporations across the world onto the Ethereum ecosystem.
EY has invested significantly in the project, which surely cost in excess of a million dollars and was carried out by over 200 blockchain developers for over a year. The use cases of this protocol, which sits atop the public Ethereum network, are diverse: from supply chain management and tracing involving various companies and corporations, right through to transactions between geographically-disparate branches of a private company.
At the heart of Nightfall is zero-knowledge proof, which allows private transactions to take place on a shared ledger. However, EY’s Nightfall is differentiated from other enterprise blockchain solutions by enabling their new protocol to run on top of the public Ethereum network; not a private offshoot.
EY’s commitment to making the protocol truly ‘public’ is evidenced by their impressive decision to go beyond open-source and release the code entirely in the public domain. By doing so, the professional services giant has jettisoned their right to licence the protocol. Paul Brody, EY’s Global Innovation Leader, explained how he hoped the corporate community would adopt and adapt the protocol, and how the ‘no strings attached’ nature of the release should encourage this behaviour.
Being such a large player in the global corporate landscape, EY’s Nightfall will surely encourage a spike in adoption of – or at least experimentation with – Ethereum ecosystem solutions among corporations. This experimentation and implementation will be further enabled by the fact that Nightfall runs on Microsoft’s Azure and will be integrated with SAP’s enterprise solutions: both of which are ubiquitous in the modern corporate context.
You can read Paul Brody’s post on LinkedIn for more information.