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Tech and Banking Giants Join Forces with the Linux Foundation to Create New Open Source Blockchain 'Hyperledger'

by: Giulio Prisco

Tech and Banking Giants Join Forces with the Linux Foundation to Create New Open Source Blockchain 'Hyperledger'

A group of top tech and finance companies including IBM, Wells Fargo and the London Stock Exchange Group, are joining forces to develop a new open source blockchain separated from the Bitcoin blockchain, Bloomberg Business reports.

The group will work with the Linux Foundation to create a public network that lets blockchain applications built on top of it communicate with each other.  The open-source software will enable others to transform the way business transactions are conducted, according to a statement released by the Linux Foundation. The statement, not yet available in the open at the time of writing, has been shared on the Pastebin social sharing site.

The group also includes Accenture, ANZ Bank, Cisco, CLS, Credits, Deutsche Börse, Digital Asset Holdings, DTCC, Fujitsu, IC3, Intel, J.P. Morgan, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MFUG), R3, State Street, SWIFT, VMware.

“Distributed ledgers are poised to transform a wide range of industries from banking and shipping to the Internet of Things, among others,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. “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.”

Digital Asset Holdings is contributing the Hyperledger mark, which will be used as the project name, as well as enterprise grade code and developer resources. Digital Asset Holdings bought San Francisco-based Hyperledger in June. The hyperledger.com URL now redirects to blockchain.linuxfoundation.org

“The blockchain for business is ready in 2016,” states the brand new website. “Linux Foundation has united industry leaders to advance blockchain technology with a new open ledger project to transform the way business transactions are conducted around the world.”

“We are delighted that The Linux Foundation is providing a broadly-supported vehicle through which we can contribute the Hyperledger brand and enterprise grade blockchain solutions to the open source community,” said financial superstar Blythe Masters, CEO of Digital Asset Holdings. “The resulting impetus will benefit our clients and the entire global financial services industry who are seeking to build business applications on a trusted foundation."

IBM intends to contribute tens of thousands of lines of its existing codebase and its corresponding intellectual property to the open source project. R3 intends to contribute a new financial transaction architectural framework designed to specifically meet the requirements of its global bank members and other financial institutions. “These technical contributions, among others from a variety of companies, will be reviewed in detail in the weeks ahead by the formation and Technical Steering Committees,” notes the statement.

"Deutsche Börse group sees great potential in blockchain technology, and is delighted to join this initiative,” said Jeffrey Tessler, a member of the executive board of Deutsche Börse AG. “As a market infrastructure covering the entire value chain, we believe that the true value of the blockchain will only materialise as part of industry initiatives such as Hyperledger project.”

It seems plausible that the global payments innovation initiative recently announced by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) could be related to the Hyperledger project.

“The current blockchain is a great design pattern,” said IBM Vice President Jerry Cuomo, CTO of IBM’s software group, as reported by Wired. “Now, how do we make that real for business? What are the key attributes needed to make that happen? That’s what this organization is about.”

Cuomo added that the group intends to create something that is like the blockchain but separate. “We are very excited about blockchain, less as a once-and-only-once implementation of an idea, but as an idea that can be implemented and extended in ways that are consistent but enhanced,” he said. Wired notes that, by backing a new project separated from the Bitcoin blockchain, the group can exert more control over blockchain technology.

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