“Big Four” accounting powerhouse EY has released yet another blockchain tool, this time one focused on helping governments bring efficiency and transparency to their management of public funds.
Announced on October 16th, the EY OpsChain PFM is just the latest solution that the accounting firm has added to its growing stable of blockchain services and that is built on the company’s in-house enterprise EY OpsChain platform.
Specifically, the new tool can “match government spending programs with tangible outcomes” in real time, allowing citizens and administrators alike to easily track public budgets, “even as funding may pass through multiple layers of government and public service agencies.”
So while there are those skeptics who still contend blockchain technology is a solution in search of a problem, EY’s innovators feel quite differently.
“EY OpsChain PFM is an exciting new tool that helps public finance leaders to assess and improve their finance management systems,” said Mark MacDonald, the head of EY’s Global Public Finance Management division.
Notably, the tool has already been piloted in cities like Toronto, where it was used in a bid to streamline the management of “reconciliations and interdivisional fund transfers” for improved financial reporting capabilities.
“With a commitment to championing the economic, social and environmental vitality of the city of Toronto, our officials strive to implement technologies that best help us meet our residents’ evolving needs,” Heather Taylor, the chief financial officer of Toronto, said of the pilot.
EY Has Been Ramping Up Blockchain Activities in 2019
EY, which generated more than $36 billion USD in revenue in its latest fiscal year, is already a giant in the mainstream. And the company has been becoming something something of a giant in the blockchain arena in recent months as its overtures toward the space have increased.
For example, back in April the firm announced a flurry of new blockchain tools and updates such as the 2.0 release of its “flagship” OpsChain platform, the EY Smart Contract Analyzer, the EY Blockchain Analyzer, and the Nightfall privacy mechanism.
The EY OpsChain, which first launched in spring 2017, is designed to help enterprises efficiently administer “supply chain, procurement and asset management” processes. The accounting powerhouse says the platform can achieve “up to 20 million transactions per day on private networks.”
As for the firm’s analyzers, the Smart Contract Analyzer can be used to apply over 250 tests to check how secure Ethereum smart contracts are, while the Blockchain Analyzer is designed to help enterprises manage “audit, tax, and transaction monitoring” operations when using blockchain tech, according to EY blockchain innovation lead Paul Brody.
Last but not least is Nightfall, which EY published as open source software at the end of May 2019. This privacy tool has earned the company considerable goodwill in the Ethereum community since it was released freely for anyone to use or tinker with.
Nightfall a Gift to the Cryptoeconomy
Nightfall is a privacy solution that uses the privacy tech of zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs) to obscure Ethereum transaction details. The idea? To help large enterprises feel more comfortable using Ethereum by providing an assurance that operational activities don’t have to be public knowledge.
When it was first announced, EY’s Paul Brody said the tool was being open sourced so that the wider blockchain community might help cultivate it to maturity:
“Making public blockchains secure and scalable is a priority for EY. The fastest way to spread this privacy-enhancing technology was to make it public. The gold standard in security is only achieved with the kind of intense review and testing that comes with public domain releases.”
The tool is among a growing number of related Ethereum privacy solutions, like Zether and JP Morgan’s Anonymous Zether.