R3 Files Blockchain Patent for Financial Agreements

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R3 CEV, a consortium of several of the largest global banks focused on blockchain, filed its first patent on Tuesday: a distributed ledger platform designed to manage financial agreements between regulated financial institutions.

The bank consortium expects to launch a full-scale version of the platform by mid-2017 with firms testing it in early 2017, a spokesman for R3 confirmed Wednesday. Current members of the consortium haven't committed to using it and aren't bound to it.

R3 launched almost a year ago with nine bank backers to develop a settlement platform for the billions of dollars in transactions processed by the financial industry each year. It has since grown to more than 60 members, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citi. The group has acted as a sort of standards-setting body thus far as its fellow blockchain vendors have begun developing technology for financial services more publicly.

In September the firm hired IBM's former executive architect of banking innovation, Richard Gendal Brown, who has since been building Corda to record and manage important, financial agreements among institutions.

Corda is just one element of the wider Concord platform, the startup's development project that will allow companies to run high-scale financial applications on permissioned blockchain networks across organizations and internally, according to the Wall Street Journal, who first reported on Concord Wednesday morning. Such applications could include trade clearing and settling, recording cash balances and asset registry and reconciliation. Pushing middle- and back-office functions to a cloud-based ledger is a major focus of the project and there will be various other elements of Concord like Corda, though R3 declined to give further details.

Separately, R3 members BNY Mellon, Deutsche Bank, Santander and UBS are also working on a blockchain-based transaction settlement project called the Utility Settlement Coin, an asset-backed digital cash instrument for institutional financial markets implemented on blockchain technology. The initiative builds on earlier experiments by UBS and blockchain software company Clearmatics, Deutsche Bank said in a Wednesday news release.

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