JPM Develops New Privacy-Enhancing Tool for Payment Mechanisms on ETH Blockchain

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) — the United Stateslargest bank — is reportedly poised to release an open-source extension that enhances the privacy of payment mechanisms on Ethereum-based blockchains. The development was reported by crypto media outlet Coindesk on May 28.

The new tool has reportedly been designed as an extension to the Zether protocol. As reported, Zether is a privacy-focused payment mechanism that is compatible with Ethereum and other smart contract platforms. The protocol uses zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) technology and was developed by researchers from Stanford University and Visa Research earlier this year.

JPM reportedly plans to release its extension as an open-source today, and will implement the tool on Quorum, the bank’s private blockchain platform built on the Ethereum protocol.

In an interview with Coindesk, JPM’s head of Quorum and crypto-assets strategy Oli Harris outlined the function of the new extension, explaining that:

“In the basic Zether, the account balances and the transfer amounts are concealed but the participants’ identities are not necessarily concealed. So we have solved that. In our implementation, we provide a proof protocol for the anonymous extension in which the sender may hide herself and the transactions recipients in a larger group of parties.”

To further distinguish Zether, Harris noted that its confidential payments architecture uses an accounts-based approach consistent with ethereum, in contrast to the unspent transaction output approach employed by both bitcoin (BTC) and privacy-focused altcoins like zcash (ZEC).

Harris proposed that as “an efficient trustless mechanism for trustless and anonymous payments,” the new extension could be particularly beneficial for to protect privacy within enterprise consortia, and that it could also in future serve JPM’s interests to develop Quorum for wider use.

To press time, JPMorgan has not responded to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

As recently reported, JPM has also been working to rehaul the privacy architecture of Quorum with the help of Microsoft, in a bid to make the platform  easier to implement by a broader spectrum of firms.

Beyond its Quorum innovations, the banking giant has been in the industry limelight for its recently unveiled blockchain-powered stablecoin dubbed JPMCoin.