IBM, CLS and banks team up to test blockchain ‘app store’ for finance


IBM, foreign exchange settlement provider CLS and nine financial institutions, including Barclays and Citigroup, are developing an agnostic platform to test blockchain-based applications.

As reported by Reuters, LedgerConnect will provide access to applications and services by a range of companies, offering blockchain solutions for areas such as compliance checks, sanctions screening and collateral management.

The finance sector has led in terms of blockchain technology investment, predicted to spend  $552m (£420m) in 2018 according to the International Data Corporation, with the industry realising the technology’s benefits for cross-border payments and settlements, among other use cases.

But while many applications are being piloted, few have gone into production. By making it more readily available with LedgerConnect, IBM and CLS are hoping to speed up real, working adoption of blockchain-based software according to the groups, which would otherwise be too resource-intensive to develop and test in-house.

At the same time, a shared platform run by an existing structure provider means the project could help to ensure applications run by different vendors meet financial groups’ technical and security standards, CLS’ chief strategy and development officer, Alan Marquard, told Reuters.

Based on distributed ledger technology (DLT), the platform is aimed at use by banks, fintechs, software companies and buy and sell-side firms to test proof of concept. Vendors already active in LedgerConnect’s test phase, include Calypso, MPhasis, Openrisk and Synswap.

Lee Braine, chief technology officer at Barclays’ investment bank, commented: “Barclays is participating in the LedgerConnect proof-of-concept so we can gain an understanding and experience of a new network for blockchain applications – and also test some candidate use cases on that network.”








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