Consensus Amongst Banks? Easier Said Than Done

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Distributed ledger startup, R3CEV, this week announced that they’d partnered with nine of the world’s leading banks to further integrate distributed/shared ledger technologies into global financial markets. The list of banks is impressive and includes Credit Suisse, State Street, UBS, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, BBVA, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Interestingly, R3CEV in their press release noted that:

“The project – in addition to developing commercial applications – will seek to establish consistent standards and protocols for this emerging technology across the financial industry in order to facilitate broader adoption and gain a network effect.”

Obviously, R3CEV is not the first distributed ledger technology company to target banks. However, they might be the first to also be discussing setting up a distributed ledger “technology standard” amongst banks. Although, some might see this as semantics (e.g. if all the banks use their technology it is a de facto standard) media reports tend to imply a deeper level of cooperation amongst the banks involved. The reports suggest that R3CEV is looking to create the common ‘piping’ between banks using distributed ledger technology.

Although this is great news for the technology, I must admit I’m sceptical as to whether a set of banks with vastly different infrastuture priorities will be able to cooperatively come together to form a common standard. In any case, the idea of a distributed ledger standard is definitely an emerging trend worth keeping an eye on as banks continue to open their doors to blockchain technology.

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