Down To Business: A Who’s Who Of Enterprise Blockchain
These blockchains mean business
Blockchains don’t exist in isolation. This is especially true of enterprise blockchains, which target the business and financial sectors. These projects rely on industry-wide consortia to attract new clients, research, and investments.
Unlike public ledgers, projects in the world of enterprise blockchain rarely issue cryptocurrencies or launch an ICO. As such, they don’t have much of a public image. But that may soon change, as many enterprise blockchain projects are joining forces in order to gain recognition.
According to a recent report from Deloitte, there were over 40 blockchain consortia in 2017. Many other groups have been created since then, but only a handful are notable. Here are a few particularly established groups.
The Hyperledger Foundation
Hyperledger is a blockchain group that was created by the Linux Foundation in 2015. It’s one of the most notable enterprise blockchain groups, and it is best known for Hyperledger Fabric, a permissioned blockchain platform that is being developed by IBM.
Several other high-profile members belong to Hyperledger as well: Intel, JP Morgan, and SAP Ariba are all part of the group. Hyperledger has also partnered with the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance, bringing two of the largest blockchain associations together.
In recent news, Hyperledger has taken over one of ConsenSys’ blockchain projects. The project, formerly known as “Pantheon,” is a suite of tools for Ethereum. Hyperledger will continue to develop it under the name Hyperledger Besu.
The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA)
The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance was founded in 2017 to bring Ethereum to enterprise clients. It mainly provides standards and specifications for Ethereum-based tools and forks of the software that are targeted at businesses. Over 250 companies have joined the group.
EEA’s member list includes many big tech names, such as Microsoft and Intel. Several blockchain companies, including Consensys, Aion, and Filament, are also members. Many financial firms, such as JP Morgan and Santander, have joined the group as well.
EEA’s most notable project may be the Token Taxonomy Initiative, which aims to define blockchain tokens in a way that applies universally. EEA also frequently publishes industry reports: for example, it published a report on blockchain and telecom last month.
The R3 Blockchain Group And Corda
R3 was formed in 2014, and it is best known as the company behind Corda – an enterprise blockchain that is primarily targeted at financial institutions and similar firms. R3 isn’t just a blockchain company, though – it’s also a group that has over 300 members.
R3’s most prominent members are banks and financial institutions, such as ING, Wells Fargo, and several others. However, some of R3’s earliest and most prominent members have left the group: both JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs have cut ties.
Several non-member companies have also partnered with R3. Earlier this year, SWIFT integrated its rapid-settlement service, gpi Link, with Corda Settler. Amazon also offers Corda via Amazon Web Services, making it easier for clients to deploy R3’s blockchain.
In recent news, R3 has partnered with Wethaq to create a trading platform that is compliant with Sharia Law. This platform is reportedly being built on Corda, and it will support the trade of sukuk securities, a heavily-regulated Islamic financial asset.
The Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI)
The Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative was founded in 2018. It may be new, but it’s also unique: it’s introducing blockchain and distributed ledger technology to the automotive industry. It’s also developing blockchain tech for smart cities, transit systems, and similar areas.
So far, MOBI has attracted participation from many major automakers, including Ford, Renault, GM, Honda, and BMW. Several blockchain companies are also involved, including IOTA, Hyperledger, Quantstamp, ConsenSys, and DLT Labs. IBM is involved as well.
MOBI’s most recent announcement concerns plans for a Vehicle Identity Standard, which will be used to allow communication between vehicles and other entities. This will in turn make vehicles safer, reduce environmental damage, and improve supply chain management – all through the use of blockchain technology.
Can Enterprise Blockchain Get The Job Done?
Consortia may provide support to enterprise blockchains, but they don’t guarantee success. As Deloitte has noted, these enterprise groups must attract funding and members. Governance and leadership are also key – they actually have to get things done.
Sometimes, consortia can produce disappointing results, despite their best efforts. Some collaborations are brief, slow-moving, or unproductive. Suffice to say, blockchain technology is a secondary concern for many large companies.
Enterprise projects also face direct competition from public blockchains that target similar markets, such as Ripple‘s XRP Ledger and VeChain. It’s not clear if enterprise blockchains have an edge against the competition, but they do provide an alternative path to adoption.