Ernst & Young taps ZK-proofs on Ethereum to automate contracts

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Big Four accounting firm Ernst & Young has launched an Ethereum-based solution using zero-knowledge proofs aimed at helping its private business clients facilitate complex contracts.

Called the EY OpsChain Contract Manager (OCM), the solution will help private businesses execute complex business agreements in a timely, confidential and cost-effective manner, the firm explained in an April 17 statement.

Among the types of contracts that can leverage EY’s Ethereum-based solution are purchase agreements, standardized rate cards, volume discounts, rebates and strike prices.

EY said it chose Ethereum — a public blockchain — instead of a private network as it would prevent a party from gaining a “strategic advantage” over another and reduce the risk of sensitive business information being leaked.

The firm built OCM as it realized through past client work that accuracy in contract terms could be improved while also cutting cycle times and administration costs by around 90% and 40%, respectively, noted Paul Brody, EY Global Blockchain Leader.

“With our zero-knowledge privacy technology, we have industrialized this capability, and we can now get these benefits at a fraction of the up-front cost.”

Source: Paul Brody

The solution was launched at the annual EY Global Blockchain Summit on April 17.

In a recent interview with Cointelegraph, former Grayscale executive Celisa Morin noted that TradFi institutions have started to prefer using  on public blockchains instead of private ones in recent months, noted former Grayscale executive Celisa Morin, with BlackRock’s BUIDL being a textbook example of that.

Related: Bitcoin ETF to trigger massive demand from institutions, EY says

OCM has been in the works since at least September 2021, when the accounting firm chose Polygon to help build its blockchain enterprise product. Polygon helped EY build Nightfall — an Ethereum-based enterprise solution to orchestrate private transactions — a few months later, in December 2021. However, no mention of Polygon was made in EY’s latest product information sheet for OCM.

EY first started experimenting with ZK-proofs in April 2019 for the purpose of building a blockchain-based platform for audit, tax and transaction monitoring. Ethereum has long been its chain of choice to build on.

The firm revealed it invested $1.4 billion into AI technologies for its new EY.ai platform late September, aimed at helping companies adopt AI through its in-house built large language model, EY AI EYQ.

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