R3 Helps 11 Banks Experiment with Blockchain Technology

Firms were able to try out distributed ledger technology in a cloud-based environment.

R3's latest experiment with some of the biggest financial institutions in the world shows progress on the blockchain front.

Barclays, BMO Financial Group, Credit Suisse, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, HSBC, Natixis, Royal Bank of Scotland, TD Bank, UBS, UniCredit and Wells Fargo all connected to R3's private, peer-to-peer distributed ledger, which is backed by Ethereum technology and hosted in a private network in Microsoft Azure.

The experiment allowed the banks to execute financial transactions and simulate exchanging value through tokenized assets on the distributed ledger. R3 created the experiment in its R3 Global Collaborative Labs (GCL) environment.

R3 plans on running a series of projects around distributed ledger technology throughout the year to show the benefits of blockchain technology in the financial markets.

"The transition from vision and hypothesis to application and execution signifies the next major step towards using this technology to transform how institutions interact, report and trade with each other in financial markets," said David Rutter, CEO of R3, in a statement.

Excited for the Future

“The transition from vision and hypothesis to application and execution signifies the next major step towards using this technology to transform how institutions interact, report and trade with each other in financial markets,” David Rutter, CEO of R3.

All but two of the banks made statements on the experiment:

Brad Novak, chief technology officer for the investment bank at Barclays

"As we progress our evaluations of shared ledgers and smart contracts, we look forward to leveraging R3's lab environment for collaborative technology experiments. Ethereum is a well-known open-source technology in this space, and we also look forward to collaborative experiments using other technologies."

Cameron Fowler, group head of Canadian personal and commercial banking at BMO Financial Group

"We innovate with the objective of providing effective, secure and convenient solutions to meet our customers' needs. The successful completion of this experiment validates the potential of blockchain technology and we will continue to play a meaningful role in its development, along with our partners in R3."

Stephan Hug, group chief architect at Credit Suisse

"Blockchain is an emerging focus for our industry and Credit Suisse. As one of the early participants with R3 we are very happy to be part of the consortium which leads the industry's research into the value and applicability of this technology. We feel it is critical to be engaged to identify the opportunities that innovative technologies like this provide and ensure we maintain our position as a globally-leading financial institution."

Richard Herbet, CIO of global banking and markets at HSBC

"The new R3 globally accessible lab environment is enabling both R3 and member banks to collaborate technically on experiments related to shared ledger and smart contracts technology. As demonstrated by the first project that is already up and running, this lab platform will aid faster experimentation, provide technical agility and aid learning greatly."

Olivier Perquel, head of financing and global markets for the corporate and investment bank of Natixis.

"Blockchain technology represents a fundamental shift for financial services, and we think it is important to be close to the technology being developed. Natixis is glad to cooperate with R3 and consortium member banks to enable and accelerate this transformation with a collaborative approach. This experiment is a significant milestone to bring this technology to market and it underscores our long-standing commitment to explore technology that has the potential to greatly enhance our customers' experience."

Kevin Hanley, director of design and services at Royal Bank of Scotland

"We continue to be excited about the possibilities that blockchain offers and encouraged with the progress that we are making with others through our involvement with R3 and GCL."

Jeff Henderson, CIO for TD Bank

"At TD, we have an ongoing commitment to technical innovation. To be successful, we need to collaborate in the spaces that allow us to provide continued excellence for our customers. Blockchain and R3's initial project is a sign of our industry's willingness and ability to transform; TD is playing a leadership role in shaping our industry's future."

Alex Batlin, UBS senior innovation manager

"Proving the scale and peer-to-peer operation of blockchain experiments is an important next-step in this transformational initiative. Through connecting 11 bank labs into a simulated, real-world network, we're able to establish the platform we need to test our theories effectively in a safe environment."

Paolo Fiorentino, deputy general manager of UniCredit

"The kickoff of this project, within the R3 Global Collaborative Labs initiative, is another step forward for UniCredit in the evolutionary path undertaken in order to exploit the benefits of blockchain technology, which represents a powerful enabler to keep playing a leading role in the financial services arena."


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