IBM with CLS – a foreign exchange settlement provider handling $5 trillion a day, launched a trial with a number of leading financial institutions to test their ‘LedgerConnect’ platform for blockchain-based applications.
Announcing the collaboration on its website, IBM unveiled the pair’s new blockchain ‘app store’ — a “managed” platform aiming to make it easier for financial institutions to access blockchain-based software.
Targeting financial institutions, fintech, and software providers, LedgerConnect will offer a range of applications and services such as know-your-customer (KYC), sanctions screening, collateral management, derivatives post-trade processing and other finance-related capacities.
Nine prominent institutions have already joined hands for the LedgerConnect trial, including two of the largest financial corporations in the world — CitiGroup and Barclay’s. The trial group will be able to access a range of services on the platform, offered by a number of vendors including Baton Systems, Calypso, Copp Clark, and IBM — a software giant themselves.
Blockchain: Too Many Keys to the Kingdom, Says IBM
Blockchain may offer unprecedented utility to the world of finance, yet with a vast list of projects “performing the same business functions”, IBM and CLS maintain the key to adoption is a single point of access.
Instead of requiring institutions to build, test, and deploy applications on their own blockchains — which is as a costly, time-intensive process in the eyes of the duo — LedgerConnect offers a single, permissioned blockchain platform where a range of services can be offered and consumed.
This quality makes LedgerConnect superior to single-function blockchains such as Bitcoin, according to CLS. The forex giant’s Chief Strategy and Development Officer, Alan Marquard stated:
“LedgerConnect is part of CLS’s strategy to explore how we can provide safe and robust solutions that create efficiencies and reduce risk for a diverse range of firms operating in the financial markets. We expect LedgerConnect to deliver enhanced efficiencies and economies of scale over single-purpose distributed ledger networks.”
Upon the successful completion of their trial, and leaping through the hoops of regulation, IBM and CLS intend to make the platform available to the wider industry.
After suffering years of financial decline, IBM may see blockchain as a glimmer of hope, a ticket to the highpoint of the former personal computing titan. A partnership with CLS — who provides settlement services to 24,000 clients including JP Morgan and CitiGroup — may offer IBM a lucrative market share should LedgerConnect’s Proof of Concept eventuate into a concrete product.
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