6 Questions CSPs should consider when selecting blockchain platforms
Communications service providers have been putting a lot of energy into researching the use and application of blockchain/DLT to understand the benefit of the technology and where the value in adoption lies. The sector is now moving on from testing MVP solutions and doing PoCs to considering the demanding requirements of enterprise-grade deployments. This means that teams across communications service providers are having to critically decide which blockchain platforms to go into production with.
In this blog post, I’ll try and outline some of the questions CTOs, CIOs, and industry strategists might want to go through when considering which blockchain technology to use for communication services projects.
R3 has heard many of the same requirements from clients before, across some of the most demanding globally regulated markets such as financial services, which is why we built Corda from scratch as an enterprise-grade blockchain platform to answer many of the questions below.
1. To Blockchain or not to Blockchain?
“Traditional databases aren’t broke, so don’t fix ‘em”.
While this is true if you’re trying to manage a business process within a single firm or are content to trust a third party to manage a multi-party process on your behalf. But where you have a network requiring multiple parties to achieve consensus regarding the identity of counterparties, the parameters of agreements or the exact process of transactions and do not or can not rely on a centralised third party to manage this process, then a blockchain should be the most optimal platform for you.
Some problems, of course, are best delivered through traditional architectures, and there is never a need to choose blockchain for the sake of blockchain. But what traditional architectures can’t offer you is what we at R3 describe as the ability to know for sure that “what I see is what you see.”
2. Where is the ecosystem?
Owning the first telephone wasn’t that exciting, apparently, and similarly, being the only organisation to use a particular blockchain platform offers limited value.
Therefore, when considering which blockchain platform to deploy think about who is already using it, what they are using it for, and how easily it will be for your counterparties to adopt. Organisations will also need to consider which adjacent networks you may want to transact with and access in the future. The future products & services of communications will be made possible by combining the capabilities of different networks. So look at where banks and insurers etc. are operating, and how your organisation could interoperate with their networks to leverage cross-sector capabilities to deliver new products & services.
3. How is your network going to interoperate with others?
For telecoms clients, one of the key motivations for adopting blockchain technology is to drive efficiencies and reduce operational costs. This means blockchain technology needs to remove complexities from doing business and using a platform that allows networks to interact with one another is essential. Corda was founded on a mission to make “duplicates, reconciliations, failed matches and breaks… things of the past. Isolated pools of trapped assets will be no more,” and this vision is being delivered by Corda Network. An independent ‘internet of Corda nodes’ empowering Corda nodes and networks to interoperate, thus delivering on the promise of massive efficiencies from distributed networks.
New tools like the Corda Settler are also supporting the interoperability of Corda with other rails such as the SWIFT payment network.
4. Does the platform support privacy?
Blockchain platforms traditionally use global gossiping consensus protocols to bring non-trusting network participants into agreement. However, this lack of privacy is wholly inappropriate for enterprise clients handling sensitive data in regulated markets. Corda was designed from day one with a point-to-point transaction architecture to guarantee privacy. Businesses from across industries have adopted Corda because of its ability to bring multiple parties into consensus, whilst at the same time ensuring control and privacy of data which is only shared on a need to know basis.
5. Is this going to scale to meet my performance requirements?
Many questions have been raised about blockchains ability to scale to meet enterprise-grade client requirements. Corda, on the other hand, was designed specifically to tackle these concerns and for example, has been proven under independent test scenarios to be able to scale to support the average daily trading volumes of the US equities market, large scale trade finance networks and the world’s largest reinsurance blockchain network. Corda’s unique point-to-point transaction architecture means there isn’t a need for every node to process every transaction, which is significantly more efficient and scalable. Therefore, Corda is automatically optimally sharded.
6. Which platforms have been proven to meet enterprise user requirements?
At the end of the day, telecoms firms deal with critical national infrastructure. They will never adopt technology unless they are 100% certain it will meet their requirements. Here again, Corda has been proven to meet the security, resiliency, scalability and integration requirements of the most demanding regulated market participants and is being used in those environments today.
Corda has been built using tried and tested technology, such as the Java Virtual Machine. This means Corda is supported by a community of over 12M java developers globally and a fast-growing community contributing to Corda opensource. It is being used by a partner network of over 300 firms building solutions on Corda today, and is deployed
R3 is constantly striving to improve the platform and work with our growing community of partners providing feedback and contributions to help deliver the future of blockchain to communications.
R3 is actively engaged with the communications sector to identify new efficiencies as well as products and services that can be delivered on blockchain. If you are interested to learn more about how Corda can deliver this for your organisation, then please get in touch.