Why (on earth) did you build DASL on Corda?

Richard Crook
Sep 2, 2019 · 3 min read
Photo by Dmitry Moraine on Unsplash

Over at LAB577, we have been working on Digital Asset Shared Ledger (DASL)

I’m frequently asked: why (on earth) did you build DASL on Corda?

The short answer is that we understand the challenges associated with handling digital assets in a regulated environment. The need for privacy of transactions, the lack of appetite for volatile crypto-currencies, the mitigation of AML/CFT risk through KYC, and finally, the importance of scalability to cope with financial volumes. There are many other challenges but these four surface time and time again.

The longer answer takes us back to late 2015 when my team and I were working (for a former employer) on a distributed clearinghouse for the Irish banks. We built prototypes in both Ripple and Ethereum, the leading technologies of the day, only to discover that privacy was a requirement that neither could easily solve. Both technologies provide tremendous transparency by sharing everything at the cost of privacy. To solve for the privacy requirement we would have to learn how to un-share on Ethereum. JP Morgan decided to do just that with Quorum. However, sharing is easier than un-sharing, so instead, we opted to take this challenge, and others, to the nascent Corda open-source project led by Richard Brown and Mike Hearn.

Roll the clock forward four years and Corda has a publicly-available internet of Corda nodes that mitigates the AML/CFT risk by disallowing anonymity. Corda provides us with a peer-to-peer architecture, solving the privacy and scalability challenges. Corda does not force the use of a volatile crypto-currency. Tokens and account functionality has been ported from Ethereum and David Nicol, Roger Willis and Todd McDonald are leading the charge on strategy, standards and conventions for digital assets.

The crypto and finance domains are converging, and Corda stands well-positioned in the intersection between these two worlds. Apologies to Kipling but here is a poem to remember the requirements we need to make a finance grade, enterprise-ready and regulatory friendly de-centralised market of the many.

If you joined a network where you cannot be anonymous,

That mitigates your risks of AML and CFT;

If you were not forced to use a volatile crypto currency,

Where the majority of the currency is owned by a few;

If you can create human readable account names,

And re-use existing standards like IBANs;

If you can issue digital assets and tokens,

And add them as stores of value within smart contracts;

If you can safely transfer ownership of your digital assets,

And know that your transactions are private;

Yours is Corda and everything that’s in it,

And — which is more — you’ll be on Corda.Network.

Digital Asset Shared Ledger provides institutions with the ability to re-imagine how value is moved and managed. Creating new markets for previously illiquid assets and reducing risk and cost using digital assets. DASL builds on top of Cordite, Settler and Tokens SDK to provide a deployable finance grade, enterprise-ready and regulatory friendly solution to safely handle digital assets. If you would like to find out more head over to lab577.io/dasl

LAB577 is a software company, co-creating solutions using emerging technology for clients in the financial services industry. Start your conversation today at start@lab577.io