Ernst & Young (EY), which is one of the four largest consultancy companies in the world (often referred to as the “Big Four”), has decided to make its Nightfall software open source. The project is focusing on enabling private transactions on the Ethereum blockchain and now anyone will be able to see the code and use it, as it was released on Github.
The main goal of the company in doing this is that it will provide a way for other companies to have complete privacy while making transactions.
The official statement affirms that Nightfall can be integrated with several smart contracts and services and that it uses the ZoKrates zk-snark toolkit, which lets ERC721 and ERC20 tokens be traded without revealing the ID of the traders.
According to reports, one of the other reasons why the company has decided to do it is because it wants to help its corporate clients to use the Ethereum blockchain in a better way. This way, it can create use cases for some niches like food tracing, supply chain management and transactions among companies.
Another important reason is that EY believes that the technology being open source can be interesting because it will speed up the adoption of public blockchains.
This technology works using another tech that is pretty well-known, zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs). They allow sharing information proofs between the parties without having to actually reveal the information itself.
The CEO of QEDIT, a privacy-focused blockchain, is Jonathan Rouach. He explained that the technology works in a similar way to telling someone that there is a Waldo in a picture, however, the exact location of the Waldo is not revealed.
This a reference to Where’s Waldo, a popular children book in which the users have to locate key figures in a crowded image. With the use of technology, the transactions are validated without the validators knowing exactly who is making the transaction, which enables more privacy.
While it may look that this is a very new technology, the answer could not be different. ZKPs were actually originally created back at the end of the 1980s. Several crypto projects such as Ligero and Zcash use them today, but the original idea was very old.
QEDIT, for instance, also uses technology in order to create privacy solutions to clients such as RGAX and VMWare. The company was recently able to close a Series A investment round in which it was able to get $10 million USD. Some of the investors included Ant Financial and the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
According to EY, the company wants to use the Nightfall software in two of their current blockchains. One of them is the EY OpsChain and the EY Blockchain Analyzer. This information was made public by Paul Brody, the global innovation leader of the company.
Brody affirmed that the EY OpsChain is used for coding apps based on the blockchain and that it can be used in sales and inventory management as well. The other application is the Blockchain Analyzer, which can be used in order to understand the blockchain better and for auditing information on both public and private networks.
He has affirmed that now that the code was released on GitHub, other developers outside of the company will be able to also be a part of the technology and can create interesting new systems on top of it. He finished by saying that the company was creating a suite of capabilities that would make the users more comfortable while using the technology in the future.
Despite how interesting this project is, it is important to also perceive that it may not be very well received by some people outside of the crypto world. For instance, several coins mixers, which are often used for privacy reasons as well, were attacked by police enforcement.
Crypto influencers such as John McAfee attacked the authorities because of this, affirming that anonymity is starting to be considered a crime and that people think only criminals want privacy.