R3 launched Conclave this week, a new platform that makes it easy to build privacy-protecting solutions, through the use of Confidential Computing. But what is Confidential Computing, why should you care and why is Conclave the platform to watch?

The data sharing dilemma

When you click “submit data” you lose control of your data. But what if there was a technological way to retain control?

Imagine you’re a hospital administrator whose mouse is hovering over the “submit” button. When you click that button some of your patients’ most sensitive healthcare records will be uploaded to a research firm which is performing a clinical trial. You have the patients’ consent; they desperately want to help advance medical science. But you’re still worried.

What would happen if a…


Inviolable truths about the limits of technology govern every industry… until they don’t. “You can’t do that with client data” will soon be one of them…

Are consumer-grade camera manufacturers stupid?

No.

And yet they have presided over a near total collapse in sales in the last decade, and are experiencing profit shrinkage of existential proportions, with some of them exiting the industry entirely, by selling their assets at what must surely be fire-sale prices.

Consumer-grade camera sales have collapsed. How could the manufacturers sit back and just watch? Source.

This means they must have been watching the smartphone revolution and yet concluded they could either retain a profitable niche or perhaps even outlast it…


In part one of this series, I introduced the idea of Confidential Computing:

Imagine if the padlock in your browser told you WHAT would happen to your data and not only with WHOM you were sharing it.

But imagine such a technology existed. What could you practically do with it?Who cares? Why does it matter?

It turns out that two of the three “big” use-cases are insanely important and already rapidly reaching the mainstream. But the third is something entirely new. This third problem is also the focus of the forthcoming Conclave platform and I explain more below.

Interestingly, the…


Reimagining the padlock in your browser

You’re probably reading this article in a web browser. And there’s probably a little padlock on the address bar somewhere. This is how you know you’re “secure”.

We’ve all been trained to “check for the padlock”. But how many of us ever think about what it means and what protections it provides?

But have you ever stopped to ask yourself what that actually means? Secure in what way? What does that padlock actually represent? What protection is it giving you? What bad things could happen to you if the padlock wasn’t there?

And in any case, isn’t there a padlock when you browse to sites like Facebook? And yet aren’t they appearing in the news every day accused of…


I was asked on Twitter recently why Corda is called Corda.

I replied with a brief tweetstorm but thought it was worth expanding a little in a blog post as Corda’s name and the product’s vision and philosophy are inextricably linked.

To understand one is to understand the other.

The tl;dr of this piece in five tweets…

The story starts in 2015.

We knew even in those early days that if blockchain architectures were going to have any relevance to business at all it was going to be at the boundaries… the places where two or more entities interact. Bitcoin…


Quiz time!

What does the word “permissionless” in the context of blockchains mean?

Hands up if you know what “permissionless” means!
  • A) Anybody can participate.
  • B) You can use the network for any purpose.
  • C) Anybody can set up a network for themselves.
  • D) Anybody can take part in the transaction confirmation process at any time.
  • E) None of the above.

Top marks and a gold star if you answered: “D: A permissionless blockchain network is one in which anybody can take part in the transaction confirmation process at any time.”

I discovered recently that this subtle definition is not as widely understood as I’d thought. This matters…


“I just wired you the funds; did you get them?”… “No… I can’t see them. Which account did you send them to? Which reference did you use? Can you ask your bank to chase?”

The cheque is in the post…

How can we be almost a fifth of the way through the twenty first century and this is still a daily occurrence?

How can we be in a world where even if you and I agree that I owe you some money, it’s still a basically totally manual, goodwill-based process to shepherd that payment through to completion?!

In this post, I argue this scenario is an…


How do you gain the benefits of the cloud without giving up control and power? Enterprise Blockchains like Corda are the key.

The Faustian Bargain

There is a wicked tradeoff at the heart of the IT industry: the cloud can transform your company’s economics but, by giving so much power and control to a small number of huge firms, are you handing over the keys to your future? And is this risk preventing even bigger market-level transformations from taking place?

How do we apply the transformative power of the cloud to entire markets?

Whilst an individual firm may be willing to move their workloads to the cloud, opportunities to remake markets for the twenty-first century stall…


We shipped Corda 4 yesterday… here are some key new features we think make it a big deal…

Kat has all the details here, and the release notes, upgrade notes and changelog provide all the detail.

In this post, I highlight three specific new features, all unique to Corda, and explain why I think they are important. They are:

Reference States

“Only confirm this transaction if the reference data used to construct it is up to date”

Corda enables parties who wish to transact to do so safe in the knowledge that “what I…


We use these terms interchangeability at our peril… as I discovered earlier this year…!

I published an article about the Corda Settler yesterday. The Settler is a new way to think about interoperability between blockchains and other platforms. And as I was writing it, I realised that part of the confusion in the interoperability debate is caused by our using different words for the same concept, and also using the same word to mean lots of different things.

I wrote the following to help clarify my own thinking and hope others may find it useful too.

Integration: the solved problem of moving information around

First, let’s get the…

Richard Brown

Chief Technology Officer, R3. See https://gendal.me/about/ for more info.

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