R3 consortium numbers swell; FS giants join Linux Foundation distributed ledger project

R3 consortium numbers swell; FS giants join Linux Foundation distributed ledger project

The R3-led blockchain consortium is to close applications to new member banks as 12 more financial institutions sign up and will instead concentrate its efforts on recruiting non-banks to the coalition.

Since its September launch, the company has seen a groundswell of interest in the consortium from financial services companies around the world, with the latest round of sign-ups swelling the membership to 42 top tier banks.

The R3 project is seeking to develop commercial applications and to establish consistent standards and protocols for distributed ledger technology across the financial industry in order to encourage broad adoption and benefit from a network effect.

With the window for the admission of new bank members having closed under the consortium’s formative agreement, R3 says it will now focus efforts on broader engagement with a diverse range of institutions outside of the banking industry, including exchanges and clearing houses.

David Rutter, CEO of R3 comments: “Partnering with a broad range of institutions has always been central to our strategy of developing distributed ledger technologies that will truly benefit the financial services industry as a whole. Securing the backing of 42 of the world’s leading banks demonstrates the level of interest in our initiative, and we now look forward to exploring collaboration with non-bank institutions and expanding our already diverse group.”

BMO Financial Group, Danske Bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, Natixis, Nomura, Northern Trust, OP Financial Group, Banco Santander, Scotiabank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, U.S. Bancorp and Westpac Banking Corporation are the most recent banks to join the consortium tasked with designing and applying distributed ledger technologies to global financial markets.

R3 isn't the only consortium game in town, with other initiatives brewing across the industry. Twenty financial institutions have joined a London-based working group looking at how blockchain technology can transform the way securities are traded, cleared, settled and reported.

Elsewhere, R3 has joined IBM, Intel, Swift and Cisco as well as the London Stock Exchange Group and big-name banks JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, and State Street on an effort led by the Linux Foundation dubbed the Open Ledger Project. The open source initiative aims to apply the principles of the blockchain to trading in stocks and other asset classes in global financial markets.

Digital Asset will be contributing the Hyperledger brand name to the project, which also includes technology supplied by London-based startup Credits. IBM is contributing thousands of lines of existing code based on a year-long research effort into the blockchain.

Jim Zemlin, executive director, Linux Foundation, says: "As with any early-stage, highly-complex technology that demonstrates the ability to change the way we live our lives and conduct business, blockchain demands a cross-industry, open source collaboration to advance the technology for all.”

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