JPMorgan, Microsoft, Intel and others form new blockchain alliance

Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:52pm EST
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By Anna Irrera

NEW YORK (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: Quote), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote), Intel Corp (INTC.O: Quote) and more than two dozen other companies have teamed up to develop standards and technology to make it easier for enterprises to use blockchain code Ethereum in the latest push by large firms to move toward distributed ledger systems.

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) will work to enhance the privacy, security and scalability of the Ethereum blockchain, making it better suited to business applications, according to the founding companies, which said they plan to announce the initiative on Tuesday.

Members of the 30-strong group also include Accenture Plc (ACN.N: Quote), Banco Santander (SAN.MC: Quote), BP Plc (BP.L: Quote), Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.S: Quote), UBS Group AG (UBSG.S: Quote), Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria BBVA.MC, ING Groep NV (INGA.AS: Quote), Bank of New York Mellon Corp BK.N , Thomson Reuters Corp (TRI.TO: Quote) and startups ConsenSys and BlockApps.

The EEA joins a growing list of joint initiatives by large companies aiming to take advantage of blockchain, a shared digital record of transactions that is maintained by a network of computers rather than a centralized authority.

Companies in a wide range of industries are hoping that it can help them streamline some of their processes, such as the clearing and settling of financial securities.

About 70 financial firms are involved with a R3 CEV, a New York-based startup focused on developing blockchain technology for the finance industry, while technology firms such as International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N: Quote) and Hitachi Ltd (6501.T: Quote) are part of the Hyperledger Project, a group led by the Linux Foundation.

The EEA underscores the enthusiasm around the nascent technology, but also highlights some of the hurdles that companies must still overcome before they can deploy blockchain on a large scale. This includes ensuring that the technology can support the vast number of transactions processed by large corporations, while being secure enough to meet their stringent security standards.

Unlike some other collaborative efforts, members do not need to pay a fee to participate in the EEA, for now.   Continued...

An advertisement is played on a set of large screens at the Microsoft office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S. January 25, 2017.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder