02.28.2017
By Rob Daly

Ethereum Initiative Launched

Wall Street along with several technology vendors have announced the formation of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, which is tasked with bringing the benefit of the Ethereum blockchain to the enterprise environment.

“Ethereum is already one of, if not the, most widely used technologies for developing and deploying enterprise blockchains,” said Jeremy Millar, chief of staff at ConsenSys and founding EEA board member. “Enterprises love the availability of open-source implementations, a single standard, the rapidly growing developer ecosystem, and availability of talent. But enterprises expect resilient secure systems and a robust controls environment.”

The consortium look to address issues of privacy, scalability, identity, security, reversibility, tokenization, cash-on-ledger, and governance via its EntEth reference architecture.

“We hear some comment from people that say we are developing a hack,” said Julio Faura, head of R&D and innovation at Banco Santander, at the consortium’s launch event at J.P. Morgan’s MetroTech facility in Brooklyn. “We will need to build these things that will make this thing actually useful to replace the enterprise architecture that we have.”

That is what the EEA plans to do, according to Andrew Keys, head of global business development at ConsenSys.

“The consortium is creating a venue where enterprise can work on standard protocols while the public Ethereum Foundation continues to develop Ethereum’s public architecture,” he said.

Early consortium participants include Banco Santander, BBVA, BNY Mellon, the CME Group, Credit Suisse, ING, J.P. Morgan, and UBS. Technology vendors ConsenSys, Intel, Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, Wipro and others also are participating in the project.

Although financial institutions make up a disproportionate portion of the EEA’s initial membership, the consortium looks to expand its membership to additional industry verticals over time, said Millar.

The EEA already has received the blessing of Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum chief scientist and inventor.

“The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance project can play an important role in standardizing approaches for privacy, permissioning and providing alternative consensus algorithms to improve its usability in enterprise settings, and the resources the project and its members are contributing should accelerate the advancement of the Ethereum ecosystem generally,” he said in a prepared statement ahead of the EEA’s launch event. “I look forward to continuing to work with everyone involved.”

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