Privacy and Public Blockchains: A Tall Order From Large Enterprise
Dubbed “EY Ops Chain Public Edition,” the technology uses zero-knowledge proofs to give permissions to transaction information similar to Monero and other privacy coins.
Only those with the keys to see the actual transaction information will be able to do so.
EY believes that privacy-enhancing technologies are crucial to more widespread blockchain adoption, saying in their press release:
“For most enterprises and investors, the inability to conduct secure private transactions has been a major obstacle to fully embracing public blockchain networks.”
The move is meant to promote the use of “public” as opposed to “private” or “permissioned” blockchains. EY makes this move in the face of firms like JP Morgan releasing private blockchains for moving value within their massive network.
This is how Ethereum works pic.twitter.com/ptg1cQHur7
— Dennis Parker⚡️ (@Xentagz) April 17, 2019
EY Promotes Public Blockchains
The product isn’t only intended for financial transactions, however. That’s more of an afterthought. The company first debuted the software at an Ethereum developer conference last year, showing how it could work with a supply chain.
EY invited hackers and coders to find flaws in their zero-knowledge proof system and try to reveal the transaction data without access. In the time since, they’ve been able to make improvements, including reducing the cost of transactions made with the software by up to 90%.
They believe that releasing it to the public domain is the way to ensure that it reaches its full potential, according to Paul Brody, EY’s blockchain chief:
“The most efficient way to maximize blockchain adoption is to release this work to the community as a true contribution, with no strings attached. The only way that blockchains deliver upon their true promise to the world is if public blockchain networks are the preferred path for enterprises and investors.”
It’s undoubtedly true that blockchain projects thrive in an open-source environment. No single major cryptocurrency or crypto project has a private source code unless you count projects launched by companies such as Facebook, Telegram, and JP Morgan, none of which currently count toward the global market capitalization of cryptocurrencies as a whole.
EY Ops Chain has multiple purposes, but primarily it focuses on giving regular enterprises a smart way to build on the Ethereum blockchain, satisfying requirements for privacy and efficiency. Importantly, selective transparency is still very possible with Ops Chain, as they note:
“Companies will still be able to provide full traceability and transaction history to auditors and regulators without revealing transaction content more widely.”
In several ways, the blockchain can create a more transparent society. However, enterprises still require some degree of privacy in many types of transactions. Products like Ops Chain haven’t been the focus of most Ethereum development teams, who are working on more pressing issues like making the largest smart contract platform efficiently scale.