Paul Brody, the Global Blockchain Lead of big four accounting firm EY, has publicly announced a new update to an open sourced code library that uses zk-snarks for supply chains on ethereum’s public blockchain.
“We promised <$1 per transaction by the end of 2019, and we nailed it by a wide margin,” Brody said after announcing an update that enables “our first version of transaction batching – allowing up to 20 transactions at once under zero knowledge.” He said:
“Doing the full 20 transactions available in this version drops your gas cost to approximately $0.24. This includes both batching and a new tool for reducing Merkle tree updates called (appropriately) Timber developed by the EY Blockchain research team.”
On their github they say: “Any asset that needs to be tracked is tokenised into a non-fungible token commitment while any payment that needs to be made against this asset is tokenised into a fungible token commitment.
Processes are built over the movement of these token commitments using business logic executed through smart contracts.
But to maintain privacy for business operations regarding what asset has been transferred between which two parties and how much was paid for it, we use 7 different ZKP protocols.”
So that makes all this quite interesting because it’s in-production use of a set of very new tools that they appear to have combined and developed further.
On the surface, it looks like they’re using a plasma-like scaling solution where “sidechain blocks are cryptographically committed to the mainchain. Thus sidechain operators can not arbitrarily mess with the block content.”
This then is combined with the Aztec method where a shield contract is used for privacy.
So they’re using starks for both compressing transactions, or batching, so turning 20 transactions into one transaction. And they’re using starks to also hide transactions after they are sent to a smart contract, with starks then keeping account of ownership movement within the smart contract.
That latter part might explain why we couldn’t figure out what exactly was happening in their tokenized asset smart contract which they revealed to Trustnodes.
We expected attributes and the like, something that says basically one bottle of strawberry champaign sold at time to person, but it appears snarks are shielding all this, so we can’t see much.
Making all this very interesting because it’s on the public blockchain, but much is actually private.
They’re one of the very few global brands that have gone with the public blockchain, something that differentiates them and may be desirable in this case because the assets are in the smart contract and if there’s any bug, they can be hacked.
Since this all has been open sourced, you’d think any such bug would be caught through global review with the passage of time then making it very secure due to considerable potential scrutiny.
While if it’s a private blockchain, it might not be so easy to correct such bugs, with this security aspect being one of the main advantage of the public blockchain over the private one, but another advantage is also impartiality.
There have long been whispers of companies not wanting to use a private blockchain because they fear they might be locked in or they fear it might give their competitor – who might be the one managing the private blockchain – an advantage.
Goldman Sachs, for example, is definitely not going to use JP Morgan’s Quorum you’d think. Likewise some companies might not want to use what is perceived as being IBM’s Hyperledger.
While here, EY is just providing a service with the above solution being no different than using WordPress or whatever, as in, something that has nothing to do with them and it’s a tool kind of provided to them, which they’re developing on, with EY having no say over ethereum save for how they use it.
In addition as it’s still early on, they appear to be progressing tech development, so contributing to the ethereum network in packaging these technologies, in addition to using it with EY having at least 4 eth.