Guest Article: Oil, blue whales and blockchain

Guest Article: Oil, blue whales and blockchain

In the last few months, Blockchain has become more and more popular as the number of projects being built using this technology has grown exponentially. We are joined by an pro FinTech blogger who is sharing his opinion on which companies to keep an eye on in the future.

Newspapers in the early 1980s were suggesting up predictions for the early twenty one st century. They usually involved oil running out and the blue whale becoming extinct. Today, our world is much worse than all that. But the point is, most of these quaint futurists introduced came out wrong with their predictions.

With that in mind, I’ll spare you my guesswork and instead share a duo of Blockchain projects to look out for. There are many more floating in the FinTech universe, but that’s for another time and another person.

R3 Consortium

Very first up is R3. It used to call itself a Blockchain consortium, then it was a “Blockchain-inspired” entity, while today it is an enterprise software rigid. It’s gone through as almost many regenerations as Doctor Who.

Some of its latest activity includes bringing Intel on board to beef up its data privacy and security for Corda, its distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform. Prior to that, Corda was used to create a prototype solution for the issuance of euro commercial paper.

In May, R3 ended the very first two of three tranches in its Series A fundraising round, securing $107 million in the “world’s largest DLT investment to date”. Not bad.

I find R3 interesting as it has a lot of rivals, and we all love a contest to stir things up. These competitors include such names as Enterprise Ethereum Alliance and CULedger. Who’s going to win? Or maybe they’ll all prosper? Don’t ask me.

R3 is also a fighter. A laudable quality. Fairly a few big names left its consortium (or whatever it is called now) – such as JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Santander, Morgan Stanley and National Australia Bank. Bit of a setback, but it came back all guns blazing with funding, fresh deals and fresh members.

Japan’s Mizuho

June 2017, R3 and four Japanese financial institutions joined coerces to use Blockchain in a derivatives prototype test. One of those four was Mizuho, and as is often the case in our FinTech arena, many firms are connected to each other in some form or form. At times, it feels like everybody is hell-bent on forming a gigantic group hug.

A duo of things came up recently. Mizuho, trading and investment hard Marubeni Corporation, and Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance all ended a trade transaction inbetween Australia and Japan using Blockchain.

That’s not all. Mizuho likes to get around as it also teamed with IBM Japan to build a blockchain-based trade financing platform – prompting the feeling that commercialisation was edging ever forward. When? I have no idea.

A lot of FinTech news has a US-European slant, so it’s significant to recall the broader world. And Mizuho usually keeps people informed about what it’s doing. There’s no mystery truly.

As always in these trade finance developments, Blockchain brings “transparency” and cuts down on the paperwork. It’s simply making things better in every trade finance story I come across.

By no means was this an exhaustive list. But do you indeed want me to discuss every blockchain project? Even a futurist knows the response to that question.

Deputy Editor at Banking Technology. Founded in London in 1984, Banking Technology offers news and analysis of the global FinTech sector.

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