Ernst & Young Launches Nightfall, a New Blockchain Platform to Bring Business to Ethereum

EY has announced plans to launch a new protocol, Nightfall, into the public domain to help accelerate the adoption of secure, private transactions over public blockchains.

We’ve got in contact with experts in the field to find out, what this means for the space, and how EY’s decision will impact widespread adoption of blockchain technology, particularly in enterprises.

Matthew Finestone, the Director of Business Development at Loopring, an open-source protocol for building decentralized exchanges commented:

“It’s very exciting to see this EY effort for a number of reasons, particularly as it validates the work that a number of innovators in the blockchain space are already doing – working on the development of zero knowledge proofs (ZKP) for computation with public verification on Ethereum – an avenue that is now attracting some leading, legacy companies. Time will show these technologies to be especially important, not only for new and emerging enterprises, but also for those with more ‘traditional’ service offerings.

If EY can build ZKP tools for Ethereum, it will shine a light on the efforts and tech stacks of other, smaller players in the space, and highlight their appeal to projects seeking to leverage zero-knowledge proofs in combination with blockchain, around the world.

This announcement really shows the versatility of ZKP tied to Ethereum. Here you have an EY solution being used to faithfully track oranges or video game licenses by some of the largest companies, while it can also be used to ensure scalable, trustless token trading. What a versatile technology! This is what is so compelling about ZKP and Ethereum – it is a generalized tool and computing platform, respectively; the opportunities are truly endless! Especially once it is out in the public domain to be improved and tinkered with.

A lot of previous enterprise talk has focused on private blockchains – that has always defeated most of the purpose and benefit in my opinion. Just replacing the old silo with the new. Using a public chain like Ethereum, however, while still affording private computation, is really quite exciting for the Ethereum community. The move towards becoming an open settlement layer, not just for money, but as a general source of truth, is underway.”

Vaibhav Kadikar, founder of CloseCross, a decentralized prediction market platform, commented:

“The open source and public domain approach taken by EY is absolutely refreshing to see. For one of the Big Four professional services firms to make a decision such as this is, without a doubt, disruptive to the business models that other large, comparable institutions are following or are likely to follow. This will do wonders for institutional adoption of blockchain technology if executed well and if kept to the promise as outlined by EY. Now they need to start working on their ecosystem and obtain as much support for the protocol as possible.”

Mateusz Tilewski, Co-founder and CTO of the Concordium Group, the world’s first ID/KYC-ready business blockchain network, commented:

“Running Nightfall on Ethereum requires using a special token designed for the project and as such brings privacy shielding to users –– it does not, however, shield users from other issues such as money laundering and scams, which plague pseudonymous networks such as Ethereum and Bitcoin.

The future success of DLT and blockchains hinges on the advent of a new class of solutions that are able to stand up to regulatory scrutiny and do away with anonymity in favour of strong privacy shielding that does not preclude accountability. Nightfall is certainly a step in that direction but more is needed in order to succeed.”

Matt Branton, Co-founder and CTO of Neutral, an open financial protocol building a suite of financial products on-chain, commented:

“Institutional players should help to pave the way for mainstream adoption of blockchain technology. Increased usage by traditional enterprise bodes well for the ecosystem as a whole. Just as enterprises once had to challenge themselves with adopting the first wave of internet technology, decentralization will pose similar challenges and reap similar rewards. Our industry needs to produce decentralized products that change the way enterprises do business.”