In the cryptocurrency world, there is a growing focus on privacy-centric features. Whereas not every project offers that particular option, it seems Ethereum can now be added to this list. This is only possible up to a certain degree, as the first set of privacy protocols has only just been released. Even so, it is a major development to see Nightfall being made accessible to the bigger public.
For those who are unfamiliar with how this new set of protocols work, it is not a community-driven project. That is a bit unusual in the Ethereum industry, as most of the proposals, improvements, and projects are either built by the actual developers or the community. Most of these projects tend to be rather successful in their own regard, albeit it is good to see some of the bigger names contribute to Ethereum as well. EY is a well-respected consultancy firm and they have shown a keen interest in Ethereum for some time now.
As such, they released Nightfall, a set of privacy protocols for the Ethereum ecosystem. It will allow private transactions atop of this public blockchain, albeit its sue has yet to be determined. Being able to transact with complete privacy where Ethereum is concerned is rather interesting, as it will allow a lot of potential use cases in the future. This does not make Ethereum a privacy currency by any means, but it is evident there is a genuine interest in what Nightfall brings to the table.
Under the hood of Nightfall, the project relies on smart contracts and microservices. Additionally, it implements the ZoKrates zk-snark toolkit. It has been coming for quite some time now, as there has been a lot of talk regarding zk-snarks and Ethereum for several years. Implementing these features at the core Ethereum level is still ongoing at this time, but Nightfall shows it doesn’t have to be integrated into the core protocol for those who are not willing to use it.
For those who do take an interest in this particular development, it allows both ERC-20 and ERC-721 tokens to be transacted with complete privacy. A lot of token holders will take a keen interest in this particular project, although it is not necessarily something for everyone. Moreover, it is still an experimental solution first and foremost, thus there may be some potential drawbacks to using the current implementation. Further upgrades will be introduced down the line by EY as Nightfall matures.
While it is evident Nightfall can be rather beneficial to individual users, the main target audience for EY is the corporate client segment. Especially those companies who use the Ethereum blockchain for non-transactional use cases can benefit from this added layer of privacy. Supply chain management, or transactions between different corporate branches can always benefit from extra privacy in different ways, thus it seems those potential use cases will be explored further as time progresses.
One also has to consider this project is developed by several dozen developers, which shows EY is very serious about this particular project. Being able to share information proofs without having to build a trust relationship between different parties is a big selling point for corporate clients. While the exact use cases remain to be determined at this time, it seems Nightfall can bring a lot of attention to Ethereum in a matter which is not related to cryptocurrencies.
As one would come to expect from EY, they will not develop products or services they are not using themselves. Nightfall is no different in this regard, as it will be used for two of their blockchain products. One project focuses on analyzing blockchain information to better understand what has been done and how it works exactly. Additionally, it is used by audit teams to match transactions. The other is a chain used for coding applications. Especially in that latter regard, the benefit of privacy seems to be self-explanatory.
Given the growing focus on blockchain and transaction auditing in the cryptocurrency world, Nightfall may serve a surprisingly wide array of potential use cases. Even so, this project also confirms private transactions and regulatory compliance are not mutually exclusive, regardless of how regulators may feel about this particular concept. It introduces a new era for the Ethereum ecosystem as a whole, and may pave the way for similar solutions compatible with other public blockchains.
Disclaimer: This is not trading or investment advice. The above article is for entertainment and education purposes only. Please do your own research before purchasing or investing into any cryptocurrency or digital currency.
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