Professional services firm Ernst & Young has today announced that it is launching EY Ops Chain Public Edition, the world’s first secure private transactions carried out over Etherium public blockchain.

EY Ops Chain Public Edition will allow organisations to securely transact on the Ethereum public blockchain, an open-source, decentralised platform. This technology will allow companies to privately and securely create and sell product and service tokens on a public blockchain with private access to their transaction records.

A public blockchain network is one that is open for anyone can join and participate. A private blockchain on the other hand is a network that requires an invitation to join. Public blockchains are typically viewed as offering greater security and liquidity than private systems and become more powerful as more companies join.

Secure transactions on Etherium public blockchain a “major step forward”

With a market cap of $20bn and millions of users  the Ethereum public blockchain is larger than any private blockchain. However, due to their size, public blockchains require a large amount of computational power to operate, and they offer less transaction privacy than private blockchains.

Paul Brody, EY blockchain global innovation leader at EY, explains how EY Ops Chain Public Edition offers the best of both private and public blockchain:

“EY Ops chain PE is a first-of-its-kind application and a major step forward that empowers blockchain adoption. Private blockchains give enterprises transaction privacy, but at the expense of reduced security and resiliency. With zero-knowledge proofs, organizations can transact on the same network as their competition in complete privacy and without giving up the security of the public Ethereum blockchain.”

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This is also the first time zero-knowledge proof technology has been used on the public Ethereum blockchain. Zero-knowledge proof technology is a method of ensuring a transaction is secure, in which one party can prove that another party knows something is true, without having any other information.

Brody says:

“The biggest challenge for enterprises’ blockchain adoption is the ability to on-board business partners into their private or consortium blockchain network. Using the standard, secure infrastructure of a public blockchain while keeping their transactions private, businesses greatly reduce the expensive and time consuming process of setting up private networks and on-boarding business partners one at a time.”

Enabling organisations to harness the benefits of a public blockchain while ensuring privacy is an important step in the evolution of the technology, and EY hopes that their new solution will lower barriers to blockchain adoption.