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  1. #1
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    [EN] JP Morgan abandons blockchain consortium R3

    Anna Irrera
    Apr 27, 2017

    JPMorgan Chase & Co has left the mammoth bank blockchain consortium led by New York-based startup R3 CEV, the latest member to depart over the course of the company's fundraising process, R3 confirmed on Thursday.

    R3, which counts about 80 financial institutions as members, wants to raise $150 million from its members and strategic investors and give them a 60 percent stake in R3.

    "JPMorgan parted ways with R3 to pursue a very distinct technology path which is at odds with the one chosen by the global financial services industry, represented by our 80-plus members," said Charley Cooper, a managing director at R3.

    JPMorgan declined to comment.

    JPMorgan's move follows the departure of other large banks from the R3 consortium.

    Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Banco Santander SA, Morgan Stanley and National Australian Bank left the group in quick succession in late 2016, as R3 proceeded with its fundraising plans.

    Like the other banks that have left the group, JPMorgan is involved in other blockchain initiatives.

    The bank is a member of the newly formed blockchain consortium Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, and is an investor in blockchain startups Axoni and Digital Asset Holdings. It also participates in the Hyperledger Project, a cross-industry group led by the Linux Foundation.

    R3, which began operating in September 2015, seeks to help the financial sector develop shared blockchain technology to run some of their most cumbersome and expensive processes.

    Blockchain is a distributed ledger of transactions that is maintained by a network of computers on the internet rather than a centralized authority. It first emerged as the system underpinning cryptocurrency bitcoin, but banks are hoping it can help them reduce the complexity and costs of activities like international payments and trading settlement.

    Skeptics have warned that the technology is still in its early days and it might take many years before the financial industry can reap any benefits.

    Since it began operating, R3 has rapidly gained the support from the world's largest banks, with members including UBS Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG, Barclays Plc, Bank of America Corp.

    So far they have paid membership fees to participate in the company's activities.

    R3 had initially planned to raise $200 million from members and give them a 90 percent stake in a new company. In November, it lowered the target and said members would get a 60 percent stake in R3.

    Thomson Reuters Corp is also a member of R3.

    (Reporting by Anna Irrera; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-jp...-idUSKBN17T2T4

  2. #2
    WHT-BR Top Member
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    JPMorgan defection underscores tough blockchain choices

    Penny Crosman
    April 28 2017

    The news that JPMorgan Chase left the R3 blockchain consortium speaks to the challenges ahead for any group that aims to get thousands of financial institutions to agree on a shared set of technologies and principles.

    “This just shows the experimental stage blockchain and distributed ledger technology is at right now,” observed Chris Skinner, chairman of the Financial Services Club, a networking group for senior executives in Europe. “There may well be multiple distributed ledger systems in financial services over the next decade. Then we will be working on interoperability and standards between ledgers. It reminds me of the old discussions of standards. ‘Sure, we got standards. Which one do you want?’”

    The original blockchain was created to track the movement of bitcoin, a digital currency, without the need to trust a centralized third party. The basic concept – a set of shared data that multiple connected parties agree on as valid – has been enthusiastically embraced by the financial services industry. Many bankers and technologists say it will help them handle things like securities trades, payments and contracts in a faster, simpler, more efficient and cheaper way than they do today.

    But agreement as to exactly what that distributed ledger should look like does not yet exist.


    A diagram of Quorum, the smart contract platform JPMorgan is building. According to the white paper, the design aims to "prevent all except those party to the transaction from seeing sensitive data."

    Several models have attracted adherents: the IBM-led Linux Foundation Hyperledger Project, which is building a blockchain built on the open-source Hyperledger Fabric, has 122 members, including Wells Fargo, BBVA, JPMorgan Chase, the Bank of England, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and American Express. The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, which is building a blockchain based on the Ethereum protocol, has more than 30 financial services and technology members including JPMorgan Chase and Intel. R3, which is creating a “blockchain-inspired” distributed ledger called Corda, has 84 members, including Barclays, BBVA, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Credit Suisse, Royal Bank of Scotland, State Street, and UBS.

    JPMorgan’s departure from R3 follows on the heels of defections last year by Goldman Sachs, Banco Santander, Morgan Stanley and National Australian Bank. The banks’ reasons for leaving varied.

    While still a member of the Hyperledger and Ethereum consortia, JPMorgan is also going it alone with a distributed ledger it’s building in-house called Quorum. Quorum is based on the Go Ethereum client, a software program that supports the Ethereum network. In a white paper, the bank outlines how its blockchain will handle data and contract privacy and consensus mechanisms (the process by which different computers agree on the order and legitimacy of transactions on the network).

    The bank’s decision to use Ethereum was at odds with R3’s decision not to use that system.

    “Ethereum was a platform we looked at and decided was not fit for purpose,” said Charley Cooper, managing director of R3. Objections among the membership included issues around privacy controls, scalability, immutability of transactions, and consensus mechanisms for validating transactions, Cooper said.

    R3 originally hoped to use an existing blockchain model like Ethereum, he explained.

    “When we first launched the company, we were in an ‘adapt or build’ mentality,” Cooper said. “Our thinking was, it would be easier if there was solution fit for purpose, if something out there was close we could adapt it to our needs, but meanwhile we’re going to build something in parallel, a platform fit for purpose for financial services. Ethereum was not deemed by R3’s experts and our members to be appropriate for the financial services industry.”

    By press time, JPMorgan had not responded to a request for an interview.

    Other banks have left R3 because they balked at the money it wanted them to pay to help fund the development of Corda, industry sources said. Last May, the group reportedly sought to raise $200 million from members (it later was said to cut the target to $150 million).

    “That was not the direction expected when these firms were already paying substantial amounts just to be a member of the consortia,” Skinner said. (Dues are in the six figures, according to market sources and published reports.) “It was this, in my view, that caused some of the founders to question where R3 were going.”

    Yet R3 is still in a strong position, he noted, with many banks still involved in Corda.

    https://www.americanbanker.com/news/...kchain-choices

  3. #3
    WHT-BR Top Member
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    Dec 2010
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    Blockchains Keep Getting Smaller and Smaller

    Tim Sloane
    May 2, 2017

    The blockchain was supposed to enable unrestricted participation, but that was overly daunting so the concept moved to a trusted consortium model. Now JP Morgan finds that equally daunting and will develop a private blockchain. Wouldn’t a cloud-based database be faster and more reliable?

    To Mercator, the current status of blockchain development indicates that technologists have not yet determined how to rip the blockchain out of Bitcoin while retaining its positive attributes and eliminating its negatives. Instead, the favorite approach is to limit participation to trusted entities.

    Mercator does not believe a general purpose blockchain can be built utilizing existing blockchain technology. Every use case will require a different set of replication rules (e.g. to keep PII data within a specific region), different access permissions, and potentially different support for correcting the ledger.

    Until the use case is perfectly understood, the underlying blockchain technology simply can’t be properly designed. This would suggest that there will be multiple blockchains, one for each regulated use case. Linking these different implementations together will create a thorny nest of data protection problems and for information flow security leaks. As blockchains get smaller and more use case specific, it suggests that a time to market opportunity exists for traditional cloud-based solutions, assuming everyone stops staring at that shiny blockchain object. Since several blockchain pilots have been implemented on a single node operated in the cloud, why do we resist a traditional cloud-based solution? Traditional databases can become immutable ledgers by utilizing linked SHA-256, so what’s the holdup?

    http://paymentsjournal.com/Content/F...tories/35843/?

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