IBM, Linux Foundation And Others Launch Blockchain Consortium

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Linux Foundation oversees new Blockchain consortium to develop enterprise grade ledger framework

A number of big names in the tech industry and other sectors have come together in an open source project to advance blockchain technology.

The central thrust of the consortium is to develop blockchain technology to transform business transactions in a number of different environments including banking, supply chain, and other transaction-based systems.

Blockchain Consortium

Blockchain is a digital technology for recording and verifying transactions. Until recently, it has mostly associated as a global online ledger that underpins the bitcoin digital currency.

blockchain_info_logoBut the fact that it utilises distributed ledgers, means that virtually anything of value can be tracked and traded. This has an obvious enterprise application here, as securities can be settled in minutes instead of days. It can also be used to help companies manage the flow of goods and related payments around the world, or simply enable manufacturers to share production logs with OEMs and regulators to reduce product recalls.

And now a number of big names companies from both the technology and financial sectors, have joined forces to focus on building industry-specific applications, platforms and hardware systems to support business transactions.

The main idea is to remove complexity from the blockchain layer and promote a standard-based approach.

So which firms are involved? Well, the Linux Foundation is overseeing the open source project, but tech firms such as IBM, Intel, Cisco, Fujitsu, Accenture, VMware have also joined, as have financial firms such as  ANZ Bank, J.P. Morgan, Wells Fargo and also the London Stock Exchange.

Many of these founding members are already investing their own R&D efforts exploring blockchain applications for industry. IBM for example intends to contribute tens of thousands of lines of its existing codebase and its corresponding intellectual property to this open source community.

Broad Support

“Distributed ledgers are poised to transform a wide range of industries from banking and shipping to the Internet of Things, among others,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. “As with any early-stage, highly-complex technology that demonstrates the ability to change the way we live our lives and conduct business, blockchain demands a cross-industry, open source collaboration to advance the technology for all.”

“The Open Ledger project is a key turning point in the industry establishing enterprise grade blockchain technology,” said Dave Ward, SVP and chief architect, Cisco Systems. “It’s key for the industry to enable an open developer community around blockchain and it’s great that so many colleagues are joining and supporting the effort to move the entire Internet community forward.”

“A broad, cross-industry and open source approach is critical to advance the potential for blockchain and make it mainstream,” said Arvind Krishna, Senior VP and Director, IBM Research. “Even beyond building out standards, creating common code will allow organisations to focus on creating industry-specific applications that enhance the value of this technology.”

“Open source software is very well suited to be the basis of highly-complex technologies that require secure transactions,” said Imad Sousou, VP and general manager, Open Source Technology Center at Intel. “The open ledger project can help enable the industry to focus on a shared infrastructure to help create value and impactful innovation.”

“LSEG is committed to an open source collaborative approach to the development of the building blocks for blockchain technology,” said Moiz Kohari, Group Head of Technology Innovation, London Stock Exchange Group. “We believe this technology has the potential to drive change across the industry but will need to be developed in partnership with clients and other industry participants under an open source approach. This needs to be done in a considered and rigorous manner to benefit the market as a whole.”

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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