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Enterprise blockchain in 2018: the rubber has met the road

October 23, 2018

By: David E. Rutter, CEO and founder of R3

 

2018 will be remembered as the year enterprise blockchain technology came of age. Businesses of all sizes across the world, in sectors as diverse as financial services, healthcare and logistics, are now actively using blockchain in live deployment as you read these words. And thousands more are continuing to explore its application for use cases we never could have imagined just two or three years ago. The adoption of this technology to rewire the way the world does business is now an inevitability, and while the timing will depend on the market and sector, the trajectory is clear.

The speed and scale of blockchain adoption has been remarkable. The level of interest, airtime and pace of growth it has experienced is usually reserved for primetime consumer-facing technologies and platforms such as the iPhone or Instagram. The history of enterprise technology has shown it can be as game-changing as consumer technology in the long run, but more often than not it remains behind the scenes and adoption rates are far more conservative.

This is categorically not the case in blockchain. A recent survey of 1,000 companies across seven countries found that 34% already had a blockchain system in production today, while another 41% expected to deploy a blockchain application within the next 12 months. In addition, nearly 40% of the surveyed companies reported they would invest USD 5 million or more in blockchain in the coming year.[1]These numbers are even more impressive when you consider blockchain is only considered to have entered mainstream consciousness in the business world in 2015.

For those of us that have witnessed the growth of blockchain first hand, this comes as no surprise. The potential for this technology to improve the efficiency, transparency, speed and security of the way money and goods flow around the globe is vast and virtually unparalleled, but it was clear from the outset to R3 and the thousands of coders, business leaders and cross-industry professionals that make up our ecosystem.

Fast forward to today and we are now seeing widespread community adoption of Corda, our open source blockchain platform, and have recently launched Corda Enterprise, the commercial distribution of Corda. We are immensely proud to have played a role in the enterprise blockchain revolution since Day One, and to have delivered the vision we’ve shared with our ecosystem from the beginning: to build a robust, new blockchain-based system that enhances the way global business is conducted.

Development on Corda and Corda Enterprise is happening now, with many live apps in production, and hundreds of firms and thousands of technologists engaged as part of the R3 community to solve a multitude of problems across various industries.

The open source version of Corda is a unique, inclusive platform designed for production from the very start. Companies with a relatively simple IT structure and network can go live on it today. Each week we’re seeing new and innovative Corda apps being released into different industries.

Corda Enterprise offers a range of additional features that make it the most resilient, secure and efficient enterprise blockchain platform available, including the world’s only Blockchain Application Firewall, which enables it to be deployed inside corporate data centres, while retaining the ability to communicate securely with other nodes anywhere else in the world. This is a critical feature requested directly by institutions with complex IT infrastructures.

With the choice between Corda and Corda Enterprise, a wider range of institutions can now realise the full potential of blockchain regardless of their industry, size, budget and stage of development.

But the hard work doesn’t stop there. Just last month we launched Marketplace – a new channel for the R3 ecosystem. It offers a directory of over 200 organisations focused on harnessing the power of Corda, and helps firms to discover, build and deploy solutions on our platform. At launch, Marketplace had over 50 applications solving specific problems across several industries, including trading precious metals, streamlining property valuation, trading high quality liquid assets more efficiently, self-sovereign identity and much more.

When three years ago we started this journey to take the potential of blockchain technology and apply its benefits to real business, we knew there would be challenges ahead.  Then, and to a lesser extent now, the industry’s imagination was captured by public blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum.  We chose a different path, and the tough choices we made around critical issues such as privacy, security, scalability, integration and others led us to design Corda by taking the best of early blockchain technology and improving upon it to suit the needs of global business.

And the dividends are paying off. Corda is now seen as the blockchain platform that gets the job done. This is the right model and the right technology, built collaboratively by the right people. This is blockchain machine-tooled for business.

As more institutions put their resources behind blockchain technology, the network effect will continue to grow and businesses across the globe will become connected in a more streamlined, secure and efficient manner than ever before. Unnecessary risk and cost will be eliminated from business processes, security and privacy will be greatly enhanced and new business models and revenue sources will open up. Corda is now firmly rooted at the heart of this revolution, and our work has only just begun.

 

[1]Deloitte 2018 Global Blockchain Survey