in 2014 as a digital asset exchange provider, AlphaPoint added a distributed
ledger to its product range a year later with a focus on financial markets
players. While the company has been generally tight-lipped about its customers,
it did recently announce that it had completed
a trial with ScotiaBank. It also highlighted
its involvement with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the U.K.’s Royal Mint
on the creation of the RMG blockchain for gold trading.
A spinout from
the TradeBlock digital asset market data and trade management vendor, Axoni has
often been in the news over the past year with several trials of its
distributed ledger technology. These included focuses on processing of foreign
exchange, equity swaps, corporate bond reference data and credit default swaps.
Notably, its work in the credit default swap (CDS) marketplace has led to a
proposed production, the Trade
Information Warehouse to be implemented by the Depository Trust & Clearing
Corparation (DTCC) in 2018. As part of the DTCC deal, Axoni is expected to
open source its platform, or at least a version of it.
A former bitcoin
tools vendor, Chain became one of the first blockchain platform vendors to
emerge in 2015, and quickly
signed up the likes of Citi, Nasdaq and Visa as investors and customers.
Recently it open-sourced a developer version of its Chain Core platform while
pointing its enterprise version at production deployments.
Developer of the MultiChain
platform, Coin Sciences has a proprietary product that it offers for free
download to developers. Having just entered
beta release mode, the company has
signed up a number of partners to work on production opportunities including
Accenture, Boston Consulting Group and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Digital Asset Holdings
by former J.P. Morgan executive Blythe Masters, of blockchain is “nothing much more than a
fancy kind of database,” fame, Digital
Asset has acquired technology from a number of startups and, fueled by more
than $60 million of investment, is working on significant projects with the
Australian Stock Exchange, SIX Securities Services and the DTCC. A significant
contributor to the Hyperledger-managed Fabric open-source platform, the company
is also planning to open source its Digital Asset
Modeling Language for the creation of smart-contract-like agreements.
formed in 2014 as an early bitcoin tools vendor that transformed into an
enterprise blockchain platform player with its GemOS offering. Much of Gem’s
focus has been on the healthcare
and supply chain markets, in areas including health data management and
identity, claims processing and the management of carbon offset credits in the
natural gas marketplace.
in Estonia in 2007, Guardtime has been building keyless signature
infrastructure — “blockchain without a ledger” is one reported explanation of
its technology — for a number of industry verticals and applications,
including defense, financial services, government, healthcare and
telecommunications. Work with the Estonian government, GE and Ericsson has led
the company to characterize itself as the world’s largest blockchain company by
“revenue, headcount and
actual customer deployments.”
on the cyber security expertise of its founders, Manifold Technology is
focusing its efforts on creating blockchain technology that offers improved
security, privacy and scalability. The startup can now count Royal
Bank of Canada among its clients, which is
implementing its loyalty rewards program using its technology.
known as Eris, this startup has focused on creating a smart contracts platform
based on a modified version of the Ethereum virtual machine and marrying it
with blockchain technology from Tendermint. In an interesting move, the company
decided to open
source its technology under the guidance of the Hyperledger project, which could see its smart contracts layer married with
other blockchain underpinnings, and perhaps even closer cooperation between the
Ethereum and Hyperledger communities.
OTC Exchange Network (OTCXN)
OTCXN is primarily building a blockchain-based service for peer-to-peer
foreign exchange trading, it is also actively
exploring making its core technology available to others as a general purpose
platform. Assuming its foreign exchange service performs well, it could be a
useful showcase to persuade prospects to adopt the underlying technology for
other asset classes.
as a split off from bitcoin exchange itBit, Paxos has built its Bankchain distributed
ledger platform and is focusing it on the post-trade securities space. In
addition, via a partnership with clearing network Euroclear, it is building a
system for the London gold market.
one-time bitcoin mining company, PeerNova pivoted to blockchain software in
2015 and has developed trading applications for Overstock.com (which is an
investor) and addressed data
provenance-related issues for State Street Bank.
contribution to the open-source Hyperledger project is Sawtooth Lake, designed
to tackle security, privacy and scalability issues by leveraging the
Proof-of-Elapsed-Time (PoET) consensus mechanism. To date, it has been tested
for bond trading in a trial run by R3, and also for a music
industry rights management application. Its supporters
suggest, though, that its sweet spot is in implementation by industry
by financial market veterans in London, SETL
has built distributed ledger technology, dubbed “OpenCSD,” that is being
deployed for equities settlement by Computershare in Australia and post-trade
foreign exchange processing by Cobalt DL in the U.K. It has also worked with
Metro Bank and Deloitte on a smart card-based, contactless payments pilot,
which looks set to be deployed more widely.
on smart contracts running on its proprietary Assembly distributed ledger
technology, Symbiont has been involved in a number of pilot projects, including
the management of syndicated loans, the
issuance of securities for companies forming in the State of Delaware and the digitization of gold.
blockchain subsidiary of online retailer Overstock.com, t0 — or “T Zero,” a
name chosen to reflect real-time securities settlement — might be thought of in
the same way as Amazon’s AWS cloud division is viewed. Both parent companies
use the technology developed for their own business (albeit, Amazon has a few
year’s head start) and offer it for others to leverage.
For its part,
t0 has acquired order routing software and brokerage licenses in order to roll
out its securities trading system, through
which it has issued its own stock and now supports
secondary market trading. The plan for the future is to list other companies as
well as open up the platform to additional asset classes.
state the obvious, there are currently many options to choose from when considering
blockchain and distributed ledger technology for an enterprise rollout. Probably
the first decision to be made is whether to go with an open-source offering or
proprietary technology. The big picture determination, though, has to delve
beyond the quality of the platform. It also has to include a business
assessment of whether a particular startup or project can survive a general
market belief that vendor consolidation will begin in 2018, as winners and
losers emerge in the race for production pilot implementations.