- Ernst & Young, Microsoft and the Ethereum development studio ConsenSys have published the Baseline Protocol as a joint effort.
- The protocol provides a middleware solution for large companies to privately map business processes via the public Ethereum blockchain.
Two heavyweights from the corporate world, Ernst & Young and Microsoft have joined forces with Ethereum‘s development studio ConenSys and announced today the foundation of the Baseline Protocol project. The protocol is intended to create a middleware solution for large companies to exchange data privately via the public Ethereum blockchain and map business processes.
The Baseline Protocol thus addresses a fundamental problem of public blockchains, namely that all stored data is public. Especially in the corporate sector this is not acceptable and is also a reason why companies have so far reviled the use of the blockchain. The Baseline Protocol is an open source initiative that solves this problem by using zero knowledge proofs to enable private business processes over the public Ethereum mainnet.
The protocol supports tokenization and decentralized financial services on the mainnet in a way that does not share corporate assets or activities with unauthorized parties and leaves corporate data secure in traditional systems. Baseline uses Ernst & Young’s Nightfall zero knowledge proof for Ethereum. Whisper is also used for secure peer-to-peer messages.
The work is governed by the Ethereum Oasis project, managed by OASIS and funded by the Ethereum Foundation and the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. The Baseline Protocol emerged from a project between ConsenSys and Microsoft, which used the Ethereum blockchain in the supply chain under the code name Radish34.
Ethereum on the way to becoming a standard in the corporate sector
According to the blog post, companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars on synchronizing ERP, CRM and other internal systems. The Ethereum blockchain can take over this task as middleware and thus obtains an important use case in the corporate sector:
The baseline approach employs the public Ethereum Mainnet as that common frame of reference, because it’s always on, companies can’t be locked out or restricted from using it, and they only need to pay for what they use.
Paul Brody, the head of Ernst & Young Global Blockchain said
Over the last two years, we have been advancing the state of the art for private, secure transactions on public blockchains. This takes the groundwork we have built and starts filling in gaps such as enterprise directories and private business logic, so companies will be able to run end-to-end processes like procurement with strong security.
John Wolpert, ConsenSys’ Group Executive for Enterprise Mainnet added
A lot of people think of blockchains as the place to record transactions. But what if we thought of the Mainnet as middleware? This approach takes advantage of what the Mainnet is good at while avoiding what it’s not good at.
The protocol has already brought together more than a dozen companies and organizations that will form its technical steering committee (TSC), including ConsenSys, EY, Microsoft, AMD, Chainlink, Core Convergence, Duke University, Envision Blockchain, MakerDAO, Neocova, Splunk, Unibright, Provide, and W3BCLOUD. The code is available to a first group of testers as of today and will be made available to the public this month.
Already in October last year, Ernst & Young announced their intention to bring the Ethereum blockchain to large companies through the Nightfall project. Today’s release of the baseline protocol shows that Ernst & Young has taken a big step towards this goal. For Ethereum, this could mean widespread use in the corporate sector.