EY releases third-generation zero-knowledge proof blockchain technology to the public domain

New enhancements allow private transfers to be batched in a single transaction 

– Technology reduces cost per transaction to around US$0.05

– Helps address scalability concerns of public blockchains for the enterprise

LONDON, Dec. 19, 2019 — EY today announced the release of the third-generation zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) blockchain technology to the public domain on the Ethereum public blockchain. The enhancements of the ZKP blockchain technology will help make private transactions on public blockchains more scalable by significantly reducing transaction costs through batching multiple private transfers together in a single transaction. 

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The new components of the ZKP blockchain technology include tools for batching multiple proofs together and a solution for reducing the size of an on-chain Merkle tree. The combination allows for up to 20 transactions to be done at once and cuts the cost per transaction to around US$0.05. This represents a 400-fold improvement (at constant transaction pricing) over the initial EY prototype unveiled in October 2018.

The release of the third-generation ZKP technology comes on the heels of a study conducted by Forrester on behalf of EY in November 2019 in which half of respondents cite security (49%) and data privacy (46%) as top blockchain concerns. Additionally, 45% of respondents cite interoperability as a stumbling block of private blockchain.

Paul Brody, EY Global Blockchain Leader, says:

“This technology is perhaps the most important EY blockchain milestone in making public blockchains scalable for the enterprise. In the prior iteration released in April 2019, public blockchains were already getting competitive with private networks. With this iteration, we cut the cost per transaction by more than 90% again, making private transactions more accessible for mainstream business application.”

In addition to being deployed on the public Ethereum network, the updated technology can also be deployed on private blockchains built on the Ethereum platform. On private blockchains, it provides a second layer of security and privacy, supporting more complex privacy models across multiple organizations within industry consortia. 

The new ZKP batching function is also the first of several new batching-related functions that EY will announce in the coming months to help enable greater scalability. In 2018, EY became the first organization to complete a private transaction on the Ethereum blockchain.

Brody says:

“I believe we will look back upon the industrialization of ZKPs as a key milestone in the wide enterprise migration from private to public blockchains. Organizations are increasingly seeing the potential for public blockchains, with 75% of enterprises likely to use these networks in the future. The third-generation EY ZKP technology brings us even closer to private and secure transactions on the public blockchain.”

Since EY announced the release of the original ZKP technology code known as Nightfall into the public domain, it has been tracked by more than 500 individuals and entities, as well as edited and customized more than 80 times. EY is preparing for upcoming changes to the Ethereum blockchain platform that will permit further performance improvements and allow users to pool transactions together.

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