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R3 makes blockchain code public


anking consortium R3CEV (R3) has announced that it will open-source its code for the blockchain platform it has developed together with over 70 global financial institutions, in hopes that it will be adopted as the industry standard. Code for the Corda platform will be contributed to the Hyperledger Project – a cross-industry project led by the non-profit Linux Foundation to advance blockchain technology. The Corda platform represents the biggest shared effort among the finance sector to work on the development of blockchain technology. R3 says that while it hopes its platform will become the industry standard, its intention is for other companies to build products on top of it. “We want other banks and

“The benefits of additional ledger platforms are minimal. There is room for only one or two enterprise platform technologies.” Zaki Manian, Skuchain

other parties to innovate with products that sit on top of the platform, but we don’t want everyone to create their own platform… because we’ll end up with lots of islands that can’t talk to each other,” chief engineer James Carlyle told Reuters. “If we have one platform with lots of products on top, then we get something that’s more like the internet, where we still get innovation but we can still communicate with each other.” The news comes on the back of numerous announcements by various smaller bank

consortiums and partnerships on their blockchain efforts, both in and outside trade finance, over the past year. “Blindly investing millions of dollars in small, disparate technology projects is not appropriate for banks at a time when budgets are stretched,” adds Carlyle. “The risk of backing the wrong horse could far outweigh the potential gains. Given that the power of this technology lies in its network effect, the consortium model is the ideal method to get it off the drawing board and into the wholesale financial markets.”

Commenting on what this means to other platform developers, Zaki Manian, cofounder at blockchain-based supply chain finance company, kuchain, tells GTR: “I think the benefits of additional ledger platforms are minimal. I suspect there is room for only one or two enterprise platform technologies. I expect that innovation will transition from new greenfield platforms to innovation on top of the platforms that successfully build an ecosystem. “I don’t think enterprises will see much value from running a dozen different technology stacks. At the same time, extraordinary work has been done in many of the proprietary platforms and I think their leadership will have to either decide to embrace and extend nonproprietary platforms, or bet on their failure.”

Synechron launches cloud-based blockchain solution


usiness consultancy Synechron has launched a series of cloud-based blockchain applications to help banks and companies get fast access to the technology. The so-called “accelerators” include applications for global payments, trade finance, smart margin calls, insurance claims processing, KYC

and mortgage financing and processing, and use existing platforms such as Ethereum, Hyperledger, Eris and Ripple. By being cloud-based and pretty much ready-made, the applications could save, smaller banks in particular, the time and energy needed to create their own blockchain infrastructure. Synechron’s capital markets

managing director, Sandeep Kumar, explains to GTR: “Synechron’s blockchain accelerators were designed to ‘accelerate’ financial institutions’ time to market for blockchain projects by giving them working, modular code to build on in a sandbox environment. “This helps large, global financial institutions working

on a number of blockchain projects to quickly stand up a second, third or fourth modular blockchain project to drive forward innovation.” The accelerators will also help tier two banks and intermediaries to futureproof their business models and help them to remain competitive, Kumar tells GTR.

education, standardisation and adoption through a blockchain working group; and partnering with the World SME Forum to help SMEs engage successfully in international markets. Steven Beck, member of the World Trade Board and head of trade finance at the Asian Development Bank, explains:

“Many of the barriers to global trade and access to finance can be addressed with technology. The success of these initiatives and our ability to address impediments to trade through financial technology is largely based on our ability to easily, accurately and efficiently find, track and validate information.”

World Trade Board reveals digitisation focus


he World Trade Board, a group of trade experts formed at the World Trade Symposium in June to push a harmonised global trade agenda among policymakers and the private sector, has announced three areas of focus: digitisation, standardisation and SME finance. In a release published at the

start of Sibos in September, the board unveils three initiatives meant to drive the trade finance agenda: working with the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) to drive greater adoption of its system, designed to unambiguously identify participants in financial transactions; pushing blockchain

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November/December 2016 issue  
November/December 2016 issue