This is the second part of my article about blockchain consortiums, focusing on the enterprise market.
In Part 1, I covered Linux Foundation’s HyperLedger Project, which acts as an umbrella for Fabric, Intel Sawtooth Lake, and Iroha. I also touched on R3’s Corda, and Digital Asset Holdings’ offerings. Learn more here.
In this part, I will cover the following three players:
- Enterprise Ethereum
Chain is a Silicon Valley startup that provides enterprise blockchain solutions. Chain offers an enterprise grade platform, called Chain Core, which allows companies to launch their own permissioned blockchains.
Chain Core is built based on the Chain Protocol, which defines how assets are issued, transferred, and controlled on a blockchain network. It allows a single entity or a group of organizations to operate a network, as well as supports the coexistence of multiple types of assets, and is interoperable with other independent networks.
Chain Core SDK is available in three languages (Java, Ruby, and Node.js). It provides a robust set of functionalities to create enterprise applications that require permissioned blockchain.
Chain put a significant amount of effort in building and documenting the APIs. By abstracting the technical details (that may impose a steep learning curve when it comes to learning DLT), Chain has done a great job providing simplified libraries, which can have an enterprise developer up and running in a minimal amount of time.
Image Credit: Chain.com
Chain could have stopped at just releasing the developer documentation – but the consortium went an extra step and open-sourced its Chain protocol. This allows third-party developers to inspect the protocol specifications, and build additional bridges to other popular blockchain networks in the market.
Chain demonstrated its success by building a fully permissioned blockchain-based solution for Visa, called B2B Connect, which offers financial institutions a simple, fast, and secure way to process business-to-business payments globally.
Chain also managed to raise funds from industry players, such as NASDAQ, Fiserv, Capital One, Citi, Fidelity, First Data, Orange etc. With its developer and enterprise-friendly platform, Chain provides an easy access to DLT technologies for enterprises that are looking to experiment with blockchains.
The foundation of Chain platform includes the Chain Virtual Machine (CVM), which executes the smart contract programs written in Java, Ruby or Node. These programs are Turing Complete; to guarantee that the contract does not get stuck in an infinite loop, the CVM terminates contract code that executes more than a run limit time. (Similar to the ‘gas’ that powers ethereum smart contracts).
Image Credit: Construct 2017, Coindesk
Ripple is one of the first successful distributed ledger technology companies to integrate with global financial institutions to tackle the problem of cross-border payments. Sending money from one country to another can be a frustrating experience, even in today’s standards. Almost all major banks in the world use SWIFT technology to move money across borders.
An average SWIFT payment takes days (and not hours) to settle. Bank to bank transfers usually take 1-2 days (adding in time differences, if applicable). Depending on the size of a bank, and its presence in the receiver country, a correspondent bank may be involved.
Ripple attempts to eradicate this delay by providing near real-time settlement times for cross-border money movement. By their own statement:
Ripple’s solution is built around an open, neutral protocol (Interledger Protocol or ILP) to power payments across different ledgers and networks globally. It offers a cryptographically secure end-to-end payment flow with transaction immutability and information redundancy. ARCHITECTED TO FIT WITHIN A BANK’S EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURE, Ripple is designed to comply with risk, privacy and compliance requirements.
Interledger Protocol(ILP) – ILP serves as the backbone of Ripple technology. ILP borrows many of the battle-tested ideas from Internet standards (RFC 1122, RFC 1123 and RFC 1009) that exist today. ILP is an open suite of protocols for connecting ledgers of various digital wallets to national payment systems and other blockchains. A detailed overview of the ILP protocol can be found here.
Ripple Connect – Ripple Connect acts as glue, which connects various Interledgers operated by FIs around the world. By linking the FI ledgers through ILP for real-time settlement of cross-border payments, it preserves the transaction’s privacy. It also provides a way for banks to exchange originator and beneficiary information, fees, and the estimated delivery time of the payment before it is initiated.
Image Credit: ripple.com
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