Ernst & Young (EY) in its latest move in the blockchain space has engineered a blockchain platform specifically for wine traceability, which will help customers determine their wine’s quality, provenance and authenticity. According to the news revealed in an official EY press release, the Big Four audit firm is providing its professional services to a relatively new platform called Blockchain Wine PVT. Ltd.
The technology has a valid use case for the $400 billion industry. EY is offering its propriety blockchain solution dubbed the OpsChain blockchain solution, which also happens to be the firm’s flagship blockchain product, in order to aid the Blockchain Wine Pte. Ltd in helping consumers determine the authenticity of imported European wines.
Ernst & Young was created back in 1989 and grew to be a global organization of several member firms in more than 150 countries around the globe offering assurance, advisory, tax, and specialty services. The firm is among the Big Four audit firms aside from Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG).
EY’s OpsChain blockchain solution, launched earlier in the fall of 2018, enables secure and private transactions to take place on the Ethereum (ETH) public network by using zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) technology.
The solution was employed by Blockchain Wine Pvt. Ltd in order to develop the e-commerce platform called Tattoo. According to the press release, is actually an acronym for traceability, authenticity, transparency, trade, origin and opinion. EY said:
Each bottle of wine will be ‘tattooed’ with its own unique QR code. By scanning the QR code, participants can access information such as vineyards’ names and locations, details such as the types of fertilizers used to grow the crops, and how each batch is transported for processing and delivery.
The Tattoo wine platform has the backing of The House of Roosevelt, an Asian wine cellar which will use the blockchain solution to sell wine straight from the vineyards to hotels, restaurants, cafes and customers. Moreover, it plans on utilizing the platform’s support for smart contracts in order to enable customer-to-customer sales for investment-grade wine collectors.
Furthermore, Tattoo also provides consumers and distributors to buy and sell wine in addition to scheduling and tracking shipments, monitoring warehousing and delivery, and arranging for and tracking insurance coverage of wine shipments.
Per reports, Tattoo has been developed on Ethereum’s ERC-721 standard for non-fungible tokens, or crypto collectibles, similar to CryptoKitties but more focused on alcohol. According to EY, the OpsChain’s asset traceability module has enabled the tokenization of over 11 million bottles of wine so far for various clients.
The developed blockchain solution is targeting the Asian wine market and will be focusing particularly on European wine consumer markets like China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Singapore. EY further revealed that over 5,000 labels would be added to the system in near future, including wines from France, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, South America and California.
Ernst & Young has been quite active in the blockchain space for sometime now. Earlier last month, the firm released two new developments for two of its blockchain products — a new version of the Blockchain Analyzer and a Zero knowledge proof protocol.
Unlike the first version of its analytics tool EY Blockchain Analyzer, which was available to only EY audit teams facilitating gathering companies’ entire transaction data from multiple blockchain ledgers, the second generation of the product made the analyzer accessible for EY teams and non-audit customers as a business application.
As for EY’s zero knowledge proof protocol, the company aims to facilitate the adoption of secure, private transactions over public blockchains. Furthermore, according to an interview with Paul Brody, Ernst & Young Principal & Global Innovation Leader, Blockchain Technology, the firm has almost 200 projects under their belt. Brody said:
We have so much more nuanced understanding about what blockchains are really good for, and what they’re not so great for–where they’re successful and where they aren’t, than we did two or three years ago.
He accredits the firm’s growth in the budding space to cryptocurrencies and crypto exchanges, among other factors. According to him, the market has declined significantly, but at the same time it’s also maturing with tremendous speed, and there’s a huge amount of demand from the leading players to mature their process to be properly audited.
While EY maybe one of the biggest names working on wine traceability through blockchain, it is not the only one. A blockchain startup VinX is also in the process of developing a supply chain platform for wine. The Israel-based VinX will enable connoisseurs and collectors to purchase a vintage wine while its still ageing in the barrel, a year or two prior to its bottling and official release in the market.
The aim behind VinX, like several blockchain startups, is to eliminate middlemen from the process and to counter the problem of counterfeits, thus providing their consumers with quality product at a relatively economic rate.