R3 blockchain code goes open source
R3 has made its blockchain platform’s code publicly available as it seeks to make it an industry standard.
The Corda platform has been developed by R3’s consortium, which comprises more than 60 financial institutions around the world (the latest addition is Synchrony Financial – the first credit card company to join the consortium).
“We want other banks and 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,” R3’s 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.”
At the end of November, Corda’s code will be contributed to the Hyperledger Project – established in December 2015 by the non-profit consortium Linux Foundation.
R3’s chief executive David Rutter’s also revealed something about the costs of development and deployment, which could be behind the open source route.
“Blindly investing millions of dollars in small, disparate technology projects is not appropriate for banks at a time when budgets are stretched,” he says.
“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.”
In a separate development, R3 and twelve of its blockchain consortium member banks recently trialled Ripple’s Digital Asset XRP for interbank cross-border payments.
Using XRP, Ripple says it can enable near real-time value exchange anywhere in the world, providing “liquidity on demand and reducing associated costs”.
Trouble in paradise?
Banking Technology also looked at R3’s ambitions and its rivals.
Large US banks such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs (which are also members of R3), have filed patents for their own blockchain projects, which threatens to derail the project, according to an article by Jonas Leijonhufvud at Sweden-based DI Digital.
A representative of SEB at R3, Kristian Gårder, told Leijonhufvud that the R3 project requires a significant amount of time and resources from the banks in the consortium. SEB, for instance, has around ten employees committed to it.