EY has launched its Baseline Protocol, a package of public domain blockchain tools. These enable enterprises to build and deploy procurement and other business processes securely and privately on the public Ethereum blockchain. EY developed the Baseline protocol in cooperation with ConsenSys and Microsoft. The work will have governance via the Ethereum-Oasis Project, which is managed by OASIS and funded by the Ethereum Foundation and the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance.
Paul Brody, EY Global Blockchain Leader: “Over the last two years, EY has been advancing the state of the art for private, secure transactions on public blockchains. This initiative builds on that groundwork and starts filling in gaps such as enterprise directories and private business logic so enterprises will be able to run end-to-end processes like procurement with strong privacy.”
Businesses spend hundreds of millions of dollars on ERP, CRM and other internal systems of record. Failure to synchronise systems between organisations frequently causes disruption via:
- lost inventory
- inflated capital costs
- regulatory actions (or inactions)
- other value ‘leakage’.
However, past approaches to blockchain technology have had difficulty meeting the highest standards of privacy, security and performance required by corporate IT departments. Overcoming these issues is the goal of the Baseline Protocol.
To avoid such problems, systems should have a common frame of reference. Only the largest high-volume participants, however, can afford the capital expense involved in setting up comprehensive integrations which avoid the problems.
The Baseline approach employs the public Ethereum Mainnet as a common frame of reference. Because it is always on, enterprises cannot be locked out or restricted from using it. Plus they only need to pay for what they use.
Yorke Rhodes, Principal Program Manager, Blockchain at Microsoft: “With the Baseline protocol, we are developing enterprise processes that are ecosystem ready because they are being built in a truly blockchain-native manner. When delivered on the public Ethereum network, this will drive adoption and the whole ecosystem.”
The EY Baseline protocol
The Baseline protocol integrates multiple technologies including:
- zero knowledge proofs
- off-chain storage
- distributed identity.
The idea is that enterprises can:
- set up and synchronise processes and agreements using common standards
- do this with full privacy, and without storing sensitive business information on the blockchain itself.
The Baseline protocol supports smart contracts and accepted industry-wide tokenization standards. In so doing, this enables an ecosystem of interoperable business services. Key process outputs like purchase orders and receivables:
- are tokenised
- are integrated into a decentralised finance (DeFi) ecosystem.
The initial release of the Baseline protocol includes the process design and key components to enable volume purchase agreements and lays the groundwork for blockchain applications that link supply chain traceability with commerce and financial services.
John Wolpert, Group Executive for Enterprise Mainnet, ConsenSys put it like this: “The EY vision to leverage the public Ethereum network without putting any enterprise data at risk aligned strongly with our view of the blockchain as an enterprise integration network. By working with EY, we can help build a powerful business ecosystem on open standards that is designed for privacy and security from the ground up.”
Enterprise Times: what does this mean
The EY Baseline initiative encompasses tools for enterprise procurement and business process. It developed these tools in cooperation with ConsenSys and Microsoft – a significant plus.
By supporting smart contracts and tokenisation as well as integrating into a DeFi ecosystem, enterprises will have a broader and deeper toolbox with which to investigate and then implement blockchain solutions. The protocol will enable confidential and complex collaboration between enterprises without leaving sensitive data on-chain.