Blockchain tech’s march toward the mainstream seemingly continues as dozens of banks and other enterprises have completed trials of Voltron, a financial app created by R3 on the group’s Corda distributed ledger platform.
R3, a software firm that heads up a consortium of some 300 member companies collaborating on distributed ledger solutions, created the app with a mind toward streamlining paper-intensive enterprise Letter of Credit transactions.
The Voltron pilot saw approximately 50 institutions from across 27 different countries simulating such transactions among one another. Notable participants in the trial included some of the largest banks in the world, including Alfa Bank, ING, MUFG, and Societe Generale.
In their announcement post, the R3 team noted that the vast majority of the involved institutions found the project to have optimized their work flows:
“Voltron uses blockchain technology to reduce the time it takes to execute the entire process of paper-based Letter of Credit from 5-10 days to under 24 hours. 96% of participants in the trial said Voltron will accelerate their Letters of Credit process, improve efficiencies and reduce cost.”
From here, the project’s member banks will look to boost Voltron toward further adoption, as ING blockchain team’s trade finance head Chris Sunderman commented on the news:
“The trial has been a great collaboration between banks and corporates […] it ensures a better understanding of the possibilities and benefits of Voltron: the end-to-end digitization of letters of credit. This will help in broadening the support base of Voltron and it will grow a larger and geographically well spread network of banks to adopt it, enabling an increased number of transactions in the production phase.”
For many of the participating institutions, being involved with the Corda platform comes as part of a multi-pronged approach to blockchain and distributed ledger innovation.
Indeed, ING has recently advanced the privacy tech of Bulletproofs, whereas Societe Generale released tokenized bonds on Ethereum last month. MUFG has worked directly with XRP creators Ripple in the past, too.
A Big Year for Settlement Projects in the Blockchain Space
2019 may be the year of the pig according to the Chinese Zodiac, but it’s looking like the year of the settlement project in the cryptoverse.
Undoubtedly the biggest recent example of the settlements trend came courtesy of American banking powerhouse JP Morgan. In April, the firm’s head of global clearing, John Hunter, revealed to the press that the bank was striving to launch payment settlement services on its interbank blockchain rail, the Interbank Information Network (IIN), later this year.
The IIN — built on Quorum, JP Morgan’s permissioned fork of Ethereum — has over 200 participating banks to date and will see its settlements pivot focused on optimizing bank processing flows by streamlining compliance checks.
The development came on the heels of the bank’s announcement of its stablecoin-like token, JPM Coin. It’s currently unclear if the token and the IIN will be used together, though the possibility would be hardly surprising.
Another major settlements thread that’s been unfurling in 2019 has been the collaboration between tech titan IBM and the blockchain startup Stellar, creators of the Stellar network.
The duo have been working together to develop the Blockchain World Wire, a cross-border payments rail that will use Stellar’s native asset, lumens (XLM), for making fast payments. Back in March, the two partners announced that the system had been activated in “limited production” in over 70 countries.
As part of that announcement, IBM also confirmed that six international banks were going to leverage the Blockchain World Wire to launch stablecoins. Some of the currencies being eyed were the euro, as well as the “Indonesian Rupiah, Philippine Peso, Korean Won and Brazilian Real,” IBM said.