This article introduces the 18 most popular blockchain consortia.
Broadly, two types of consortia exist.
- Business-focused. These, aim to build and operate blockchain-based business platforms to solve a specific business problem. E.g. — An example is Digital Trade Chain.
- Technology focused. They seek to develop reusable blockchain platforms based on technical standards. An example is Hyperledger.
At the intersection of the two objectives, a consortium like R3 is formed. (More on that, later.)
But the question arises — why are organisations taking the pain to form consortia? Clearly, working together across organisations couldn’t be a cakewalk. Why indulge in it? The answer lies in the technology itself. Strictly speaking, there are differences between a distributed ledger and blockchain. However, a very core characteristic of blockchain is the distributed ledger. As many participants join the blockchain, the relevance of the data shared, the authenticity, its technical security, all increase multi-fold. Needless to say, the more democratically owned the data is, the more comfortable its users and contributors would be.
Let’s dive into the various consortia that have been formed across the world, and evaluate the goals that drive them. They are listed as follows in alphabetical order.
BankChain is a community of banks for exploring, building and implementing blockchain solutions. Its formation was initiated by Primechain Technologies. They maintain, operate and govern the consortium. Formed in February 2017, BankChain has 37 members and 9 live projects.
Members get access to all BankChain projects like Electronic Signature Engine (web service), Corporate KYC and Charge Registry, Bank guarantees & Documentary Credits, Invoice discounting, Stressed assets marketplace and many others.
The Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative (B3i) was formed in late 2016 as a collaboration of insurers and reinsurers to explore the potential of using Distributed Ledger Technologies within the industry for the benefit of all stakeholders in the value chain. The success of the B3i Initiative is manifested in the incorporation of B3i Services AG on 23rd March 2018 in Zurich.
Product: The first product developed by B3i is a Property Cat XOL contract. Rather than maintain data on separate ledgers of each contracting party, the B3i blockchain application runs a shared process, calculation, settlement and reporting on a distributed ledger.
3. China Ledger
Formed with the intention of understanding and exploring the blockchain technology, its underlying encryption algorithms, the formation of private chains, sidechains, and lightning network technology, China Ledger is a consortium launched in China.
As a progress to the exploration phase, China Ledger aims to build solutions and blockchain infrastructure for the country of China.
4. EEA — Enterprise Ethereum Alliance
Formed to accelerate the adoption of Enterprise Ethereum. The Alliance sets global standards for architecture and specifications. It undertakes testing and certification programs. Privacy and Performance improvements are critical to EEA’s roadmap.
Enterprises, part of the network, come together to produce the industry standard, open source, free to use blockchain solutions that will be the foundation for businesses going forward.
5. FISCO — Financial Blockchain Shenzhen Consortium
The Financial Blockchain Shenzhen Consortium (FISCO) was established on May 31, 2016. It has so far attracted more than 100 members including financial institutions and financial information service companies.
FISCO has established research projects in areas like credit, equity, loyalty points system, insurance, commercial bills, cloud service, digital assets, and wealth management issuance and trading.
FISCO blockchain open source platform is collaboratively built by the FISCO open source working group. Members of the working group include Beyondsoft, Digital China, Forms Syntron, Huawei, Shenzhen Securities Communications, Tencent, WeBank, YIBI Technology, Yuexiu Financial Holdings (Fintech) and more.
The Fundchain initiative was launched in 2016 by Scorechain. It constitutes of 10 key market players of the fund industry — BIL, BNP Paribas Securities Services, CACEIS, European Fund Administration (EFA), HSBC, ING Luxembourg, Pictet, RBC Investor & Treasury Services, Société Générale Bank & Trust, and Professional Services firm PwC Luxembourg, the University of Luxembourg (SnT)
Use cases being discussed: KYC onboarding, cash management, transfer agent, regulation
7. GBBC — Global Blockchain Business Council
With thought leaders and innovative organisations from across 40 countries, GBBC aims to make blockchain a well-understood subject, and simultaneously, accelerate its adoption by engaging with the global political and business leaders, and regulators. It is a Swiss-based non-profit, which was launched formally during the 2017 Annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
It partakes in advocacy, and education of blockchain for all relevant partners.
8. Global Shipping Business Network
Nine leading ocean carriers and terminal operators formed this consortium to develop the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN), an open digital platform based on distributed ledger technology.
Initiated by software solutions provider, CargoSmart, this network constitutes of COSCO Shipping Lines, CMA CGM, Evergreen Marine, OOCL, Yang Ming, DP World, Hutchison Ports, PSA International and Shanghai International Port, as well as software solutions provider CargoSmart.
The new platform will establish a digital baseline that aims to connect all stakeholders, including carriers, terminal operators, customs agencies, shippers, and logistics service providers to enable collaborative innovation and digital transformation in the supply chain.
9. Hashed Health Collective
Hashed Collective is a global community for healthcare organizations, consumers, entrepreneurs, developers — anyone looking to be a part of conversations at the intersection of blockchain and healthcare.
It is an open, no-cost community where enthusiasts and newbies can engage with industry leaders and blockchain entrepreneurs across an array of interest areas.
For enterprises — Hashed Health works with enterprise teams to help unpack and apply blockchain technology in the healthcare industry.
10. International Organization for Standardization
ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organization with a membership of 162 national standards bodies. Through its members, it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market-relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.
They give world-class specifications for products, services and systems, to ensure quality, safety and efficiency. They are instrumental in facilitating international trade.
ISO has 11 standards on blockchain under progress, under the direct responsibility of ISO/TC 307 with 39 participating members and 13 observing members.
11. ISITC Europe
ISITC Europe’s Mission is to promote operational efficiency in the global financial industry through education, design, standardisation and recommendation.
ISITC Europe is a voluntary, not for profit group of interested members from the financial industry. Members comprise Investment Managers, Custodian Banks, Broker/Dealers, Software-Data Network communication vendors (technology vendors), Industry Service providers, Consultancies, Depositories and Individuals.
It has various working groups. The ISITC Europe Blockchain working group has discussed how best to assist the financial services industry in the adoption of Blockchain Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).
The working group has established a series of Blockchain DLT benchmarks based on both technology and operational requirements
12. Japan Exchange Group — JPX
Japan Exchange Group was formed with the collaboration of various Japanese financial institutions and IT vendors to explore and develop blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) based solutions for the capital markets. The consortium consists of 33 Japanese financial institutions and other related organizations,
Projects under progress: Capital Market Infrastructure, Trade Matching Processes, KYC Operations, Pre-Settlement Process of Cross-Border Securities Trade
13. Marco Polo Network
Launched in 2017, this trade finance network aims to aid the working capital finance availability via its solution — TradeIX platform. This platform is integrated with the Marco Polo Network. The solution is built on Corda. It is API driven, and not a destination application.
Various financial institutions like BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, ING Standard Chartered Bank, SMBC, DNB, OP Financial Group, Bangkok Bank, NatWest and Natixis, International Trade and Forfaiting Association (ITFA) are a part of this network.
The platform also manages critical cross-platform services such as tasks and alerts, compliance, analytics, reporting and 3rd-party integrations.
mobi is a nonprofit organization working with forward thinking companies, governments, and NGOs to make mobility services more efficient, affordable, greener, safer, and less congested by promoting standards and accelerating adoption of blockchain, distributed ledger, and related technologies.
Starting with vehicle identity and history, mobi’s use cases span the entire mobility services value chain
Partners: Bosch, BMW, Carblock, Cognizant
15. PTDL — Post Trade Distributed Ledger
PTDL (Post Trade Distributed Ledger) Group includes nearly 40 financial institutions and prominent market infrastructure players. It is meant for post-trade landscape.
Practitioners, regulators, and central banks connect through PTDL to identify and drive activities and position specific recommendations that may leverage distributed ledger technologies for the benefit of the post-trade industry.
R3 is a dual-focused network. It has built a blockchain platform called Corda and has built an ecosystem of over 200 members across industries. Corda comes in two variants — open source, and a commercial version for enterprise usage.
R3’s partners work together in an advisory capacity to build applications for finance and commerce. It boasts of a Marketplace, which is a web platform that brings R3 members and partners together to discover solutions built on Corda.
17. Trusted IoT Alliance (TIA)
Motivated by the need to build trust in IoT technology, TIA aims to use blockchain to induce reliability in IoT, and hence make use of the automation potential that comes with using IoT sensors with smart contracts.
Enterprises/Individuals who join this alliance have the freedom to work with a technology of their choice. This also provides a cost-efficient way to develop new solutions, instead of developing an in-house PoC.
Projects under progress — Smart E-Mobility, Smart Logistics, Smart Buildings, Smart Construction.
It provides an easy to use interface for bank’s customers to discover potential vendors and sellers, place orders, and manage payments. All businesses on the blockchain are KYC’d. It also allows them to select banking products. Bank also supplies guarantees for payments.
It is built on Hyperledger Fabric. 12 European banks have taken part, including, Societe Generale, UniBank, UBS.