A new Blockchain alliance has been formed based on Ethereum by Microsoft, Intel, Accenture, Credit Suisse Group, UBS, etc. In total there are more than two dozen companies that have come together to form the Enterprise Alliance. The alliance will have a rotating board. Ethereum is an open source Blockchain-based computing platform which has smart contracts built in. The platform uses Ethereum Virtual Machine as well as the programming language Solidity.
Ethereum Foundation supports Enterprise Alliance
Ethereum Foundation, the body behind Ethereum, has expressed its support for Enterprise Alliance. In an email to Cointelegraph, John Frazer from External Relations at Ethereum Foundation wrote:
“Although the Ethereum Foundation is not officially involved in the Enterprise Alliance, we are very much supportive of the Ethereum enterprise community at large and have expressed our support for this Enterprise Alliance. Many of the members are long-time contributors to the Ethereum project and the Foundation hopes to be able to work more with this Ethereum enterprise standards body in the future.”
Increasingly, a number of organizations have been working on Blockchains and forming alliances.
IBM Blockchain has a Hyperledger-based Blockchain initiative. Then there is R3, a Blockchain alliance comprised of financial industry persons, entrepreneurs, experts and technology specialists. No one will doubt that it was the Bitcoin Blockchain, which is freely available and open source that fired the imaginations of various individuals and companies about what possibilities exist using this technology. Ethereum with its smart contracts feature has its own appeal.
Ming Chan, executive director at Ethereum Foundation, says in respect to the public vs. private debate:
“We are very supportive of the Enterprise Alliance effort especially as we feel having Ethereum enterprise and other Ethereum standards organizations are important to the Ethereum ecosystem and adoption in the world at large. Since Ethereum Foundation remains focused on our Ethereum platform and protocol R&D mission, we are happy to see industry groups like the Alliance provide for an enterprise-specific need that is relevant to the Ethereum Foundation's work, but not one we can devote our attention to.”
Private vs. public Blockchains
It does not come as a surprise that various constituents of industry, trade and financial services providers would be interested in private Blockchain solutions.
Ming Chan told us that the Ethereum Foundation would continue to work on the public chain, where the work will be free, open and accessible to anyone. She adds:
“Our hope that Ethereum will gain mass adoption, in fact, necessarily includes the world of business, trade and industry, which is naturally interested in private Blockchains. There are many areas of overlap between public and private chain development and we expect the future of Ethereum will see a great deal of interplay, exchange and collaboration between the two.”
The news of Ethereum Alliance comes as a shot in the arm for Ethereum, which has been dogged by news of hacking, forks and wild movements in Ether, the cryptocurrency. It would be interesting to see how this development affects the future of Ether and Ethereum and what direction the cryptocurrency takes from here.
No fee to participate
Among the many companies that make up the newly formed Ethereum Alliance, many already have a background of working on Ethereum related projects. Jan Xie, the founder of Cryptape, said in the press release issued by the Ethereum Alliance: “As a long-time supporter of Ethereum technology, Cryptape is honored to be a member of the EEA. The success of a global standard of commercial Blockchain needs the participation of Chinese enterprises, and we will, as always, work with the whole community to make it come true.”
Reuters is one of the members of Ethereum Alliance and they reported that members of the alliance will not have to pay any fee to participate, at least for now.
Microsoft among leading backers
Microsoft is among the leading backers of the Ethereum Alliance. They already have the Azure platform in place which offers Ethereum Blockchain as a service. Marley Gray, the principal architect of the Azure Blockchain Engineering team at Microsoft, says in the Ethereum press release: “At Microsoft, we are proud to be a founding member and board member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance to continue the advancement of enterprise-grade Blockchain platforms. Participating with the Ethereum community to implement open standards will accelerate deployment of Blockchain solutions. In addition, Microsoft Azure’s open, global scale cloud infrastructure and platform services provide fertile ground for the evolution of Ethereum into the enterprise.”