Shanghai is hosting International Blockchain Week and in addition to the Ethereum DevCon announcements, there was a slew of news about shared ledger technologies from the private blockchain world.
The R3 consortium, which has 40-plus big banks learning to use its Corda DLT system, is working with Axoni. This is interesting because the latter is working closely with ICAP, so we are starting to see lots of cross-pollination happening in the enterprise blockchain building space.
The R3 announcement said seven buy-side and sell side firms, including AB (Alliance Bernstein), Citi, Credit Suisse and HSBC, have collaborated with financial innovation companies R3 and Axoni to explore how blockchain technology could simplify reference data processes.
The group, working with R3 and Axoni through the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), recently completed a multi-month proof of concept (PoC) exercise, coordinated by Credit Suisse, that aimed to build a distributed ledger prototype that can enhance the risk management, cost and efficiency issues inherent in managing financial reference data.
The prototype was created using Axoni Core (Axoni's proprietary distributed ledger software) to simulate the collaborative management of reference data, as well as the use of that reference data for corporate bond issuance. The technology enabled participants to interact with reference data after issuance, with any proposed changes requiring validation by the underwriter to ensure the ledger provided a single, immutable record of all data related to the bond.
David Rutter, CEO of R3, said: "Quality of data has become a crucial issue for financial institutions in today's markets. Unfortunately, their middle and back offices rely on legacy systems and processes – often manual – to manage and repair unclear, inaccurate reference data. Distributed ledger technology – which allows financial institutions to push these functions to a cloud environment – removes the need to reconcile multiple copies of data, providing a sophisticated and agile solution to the headaches currently caused by these legacy systems and processes."
Meanwhile, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) launched its new tech hub, Next in Tech "for all things emerging tech to see how these tools – from blockchain and AI, to connected cars and Virtual Reality – can be adopted and successfully implemented across industries," said a statement.
Haskell Garfinkel, PwC Partner and FinTech co-founder, is looking beyond blockchain and IoT and the arrival of a new era of the Collaboration of Things.
Also on PwC's radar is the evolution of autonomous e-commerce and how blockchain is revolutionising the supply chain; blockchain as a chief validation officer, checking IDs etc; and the interplay of artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain – presumably as an overlay or reputation-checking system above the protocol itself.
Another of the big consultancies, Accenture debuted the prototype of its "Editable" Blockchain for Enterprise and Permissioned Systems.
This invention addresses blockchain "immutability" challenges for permissioned systems, including the legal "right to be forgotten", human error, illegal actions – but only under extraordinary circumstances.
When necessary, designated administrators acting on agreed rules of governance can edit, rewrite or remove blocks of information without breaking the chain. It does this by using a new variation of what is known as the "chameleon" hash function, which can recreate algorithms that link two separate blocks through the use of secure private keys, said a statement.