Leading global companies, from IBM, Intel and Microsoft to Nasdaq and DNB, are adopting new plans to benefit from the blockchain technology through streamlining their processes. They are seeking to upgrade the common state of their business and gain an edge against rivals.
Hyperledger and Linux
It starts with Hyperledger, the open source project that was established in December by the Linux Foundation. It now has over forty companies signed on to use it including Accenture, JPMorgan, Fujitsu and VMWare.
Hyperledger has the backing of global innovation company, IBM, which believes that blockchain is a fundamental concept that will create an open body of companies that support driving market penetration in the same way Linux has.
Linux has the largest installed base of all general-purpose operating systems, because of the dominance of Android, and is also the leading operating system on servers and other big iron systems such as mainframe computers and virtually all the fastest supercomputers.
IBM and Nasdaq
IBM is also working with the Japan Exchange Group (JPX) to jointly evaluate how the IBM open source blockchain code could be used for trading and settlement in low liquidity markets. The joint evaluation work will transition to use code produced by that effort, IBM noted in a statement.
Similarly, the US stock-market firm Nasdaq is working to give Estonian e-residents and Estonian citizens who are shareholders in firms listed on its Tallinn stock exchange an opportunity to vote securely online in shareholder meetings using its blockchain technology, based on the distributed public ledger that underpins Bitcoin transactions, to record votes quickly and securely.
This is part of Nasdaq’s plans to test blockchain technology as an alternative to other traditional processes to expedite trade settlements for transactions in public markets.
Technology company Intel believes that a lot of companies could benefit from the blockchain technology, and the chipmaker published its plan last week to develop a version of a distributed ledger, the Sawtooth Lake platform, which is expected to allow a wide variety of companies that have no need for a central authority, to essentially run their own blockchain, thus providing them with a permanent digital record.
Intel is proposing that the code for Sawtooth Lake be submitted to the Hyperledger blockchain project though it has been published on GitHub, warning those planning to use it now that it “…is intended for experimental usage and we recommend against using it for security sensitive applications.”
Banks and financial services
With the understanding that blockchain is the most stable and least risky to use, the Dutch central bank, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), says it is looking to develop an internal blockchain prototype called “DNBCoin” in its recently published annual report for 2015.
Citing DNBCoin as an experiment with its own digital currency, the bank says it will aim to use blockchain to improve its business and possibly cut down on transaction costs in the financial industry.
Among the long list of organisations taking a greater interest in blockchain are UK-based financial services firm, ICAP, which this month says its post trade risk and information (PTRI) division has completed a proof of technology test case for blockchain; Mizuho Bank, Fujitsu and Fujitsu Laboratories in Japan which jointly conducted a three-month operational trial using blockchain to prove it is “practically impossible” to tamper with transaction histories; and the Korea Exchange (KRX), the securities exchange operator in South Korea, which plans to launch a platform powered by blockchain to improve their trading market.
Microsoft and R3
Last week, Microsoft and the R3 consortium of 43 banks announced a partnership that will help spur the adoption of distributed ledger technologies among R3’s members.
After several experiments with providers such as IBM Cloud and Amazon AWS, the company decided Microsoft’s capabilities best suited R3’s needs in serving its financial institution members.
Microsoft will provide a blockchain-as-a-service accessed via the cloud, similar to how Google Docs offers word-processing software without users needing to download any software.