After six months of development, the R3 consortium has unveiled its Corda distributed ledger platform for recording and managing financial agreements.
Set up last September, the R3 project has attracted more than 40 member banks to its cause of developing commercial applications and to establishing consistent standards and protocols for distributed ledger technology across the financial industry.
In a blog, the group's CTO, Richard Brown, has shared an update on Corda, the distributed ledger platform "designed from the ground up to record, manage and synchronise financial agreements between regulated financial institutions".
Financial firms - which are mutually distrusting actors - currently spend huge amounts of time, effort and money separately recording and then reconciling financial agreements.
"Now imagine we had a system for recording and managing financial agreements that was shared across firms, that recorded the agreement consistently and identically, that was visible to the appropriate regulators and which was built on industry-standard tools, with a focus on interoperability and incremental deployment and which didn’t leak confidential information to third parties," says Brown.
While "inspired" by the blockchain systems made notorious by Bitcoin, Brown says that Corda has been designed specifically to meet the financial services requirement, particularly when it comes to privacy.
So, while Bitcoin shares details of all transaction across the network, the R3 platform is about individual agreements between firms. "We reject the notion that all data should be copied to all participants, even if it is encrypted," writes Brown.
"Secondly, our focus is on agreements: the need to link to legal prose is considered from the start. We know there will still always be some disputes and we should specify right up front how they will be resolved.
"Thirdly, we take into the account the reality of managing financial agreements; we need more than just a consensus system. We need to make it easy to write business logic and integrate with existing code; we need to focus on interoperability. And we need to support the choreography between firms as they build up their agreements."