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SWIFT joins Linux Foundation Distributed Ledger Initiative

First Published 21st December 2015

Linux Foundation unites industry leaders to advance blockchain technology.

Jim Zemlin, The Linux Foundation

Jim Zemlin, The Linux Foundation

"Distributed ledgers are poised to transform a wide range of industries from banking and shipping to the Internet of Things, among others."

San Francisco - The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, has announced a new collaborative effort to advance blockchain technology. The project will develop an enterprise grade, open source distributed ledger framework and free developers to focus on building robust, industry-specific applications, platforms and hardware systems to support business transactions.

Early commitments to this work come from Accenture, ANZ Bank, Cisco, CLS, Credits, Deutsche Börse, Digital Asset Holdings, DTCC, Fujitsu Limited, IC3, IBM, Intel, J.P. Morgan, London Stock Exchange Group, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), R3, State Street, SWIFT, VMware and Wells Fargo.

Many of the founding members are already investing considerable research and development efforts exploring blockchain applications for industry. IBM intends to contribute tens of thousands of lines of its existing codebase and its corresponding intellectual property to this open source community. Digital Asset is contributing the Hyperledger mark, which will be used as the project name, as well as enterprise grade code and developer resources. R3 is contributing a new financial transaction architectural framework designed to specifically meet the requirements of its global bank members and other financial institutions. These technical contributions, among others from a variety of companies, will be reviewed in detail in the weeks ahead by the formation and Technical Steering Committees.

Blockchain is a digital technology for recording and verifying transactions. The distributed ledger is a permanent, secure tool that makes it easier to create cost-efficient business networks without requiring a centralized point of control. With distributed ledgers, virtually anything of value can be tracked and traded. The application of this emerging technology is showing great promise in the enterprise. For example, it allows securities to be settled in minutes instead of days. It can be used to help companies manage the flow of goods and related payments or enable manufacturers to share production logs with OEMs and regulators to reduce product recalls.

"Distributed ledgers are poised to transform a wide range of industries from banking and shipping to the Internet of Things, among others," said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. "As with any early-stage, highly-complex technology that demonstrates the ability to change the way we live our lives and conduct business, blockchain demands a cross-industry, open source collaboration to advance the technology for all."

Distributed ledger systems today are being built in a variety of industries but to realize the promise of this emerging technology, an open source and collaborative development strategy that supports multiple players in multiple industries is required. This development can enable the adoption of blockchain technology at a pace and depth not achievable by any one company or industry. This type of shared or external Research & Development (R&D) has proven to deliver billions in economic value.

This collaboration is expected to help identify and address important features and currently missing requirements for a cross-industry open standard for distributed ledgers that can transform the way business transactions are conducted around the world.

"SWIFT is delighted to support this industry-wide effort to advance distributed ledger technology," said Craig Young, SWIFT's Chief Technology Officer. "Cooperation and collaboration - hallmarks of the SWIFT cooperative - will be key to ensuring the scalability and adoption of this technology."

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