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Cryptocurrency / Finance

Banks, Fortune 500 companies join Ethereum Enterprise Alliance

Smart contracts could eliminate billions of dollars of middlemen and bookkeeping, experts think. Wall Street is intrigued.

Some banks appear interested in adding gloss to the blockchain. (Photo by Attribution Engine user Alex Mihis, used under a Creative Commons license)

Major investment banks as well as several other Fortune 500 companies joined an effort to develop blockchain technology for use in reducing inefficiencies in financial interactions Tuesday.

Called the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance, companies including J.P. Morgan, Credit Suisse, Accenture and UBS joined Brooklyn’s ConsenSys, whose founder, Joseph Lubin is one of the creators of the Ethereum protocol.

Financial companies have long been interested in blockchain technology for its ability to create smart contracts, contracts which execute themselves automatically as soon as each party’s conditions are met. That setup would allow the companies to reduce middlemen and bookkeeping costs.

The launch of the alliance was covered by major news publications including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. WSJ writes:

In January, the consulting firm Accenture, which also is part of the alliance, estimated that eight of the world’s largest investment banks could realize an average of $10 billion in annual cost savings, by 2025, assuming blockchain technology reaches widespread use.

It sounds like the banks might like to separate the blockchain technology from the cryptocurrencies it is currently bound to. According to the Times:

The companies working on the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance want to create a private version of Ethereum that can be rolled out for specific purposes and be open only to certified participants. Banks could create one blockchain for themselves, and shipping companies could create another for their own purposes. … The private systems are not likely to require an Ether virtual currency, although the companies are hoping to create modules that will allow users to put in and take out individual elements of Ethereum as they choose.

In any event, it seems like the mercury continues to rise on the blockchain. For more info on what the blockchain and Ethereum are, check out our explainer here.

Companies: ConsenSys
Series: Brooklyn

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