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“Thinking has started to change” – Amber Baldet from JP Morgan told a mixed room of start-ups, corporations, banks and tech companies, at the launch of Enterprise Ethereum (EEA) – an alliance of global household brands.
“How do we take the thinking from this could be a threat to what is the opportunity here?” – she asks, “how are we going to position ourselves to not be completely disrupted?”
“We run a reconciliation system that does a bit of banking” – David Treat from Accenture quotes an unnamed person from JP Morgan.
We are at the TCP/IP layer, says Baldet, “we want to move up the application stack and start thinking of the business layer and be comfortable the protocol just works.” – she continued.
This tech requires cooperation – we need to network, collaborate, build this together – says Sandra Ro from CME, a clearing house and derivatives marketplace that covers “every asset class.”
We have been looking at the blockchain, starting with bitcoin some years ago, and conducted a few Proof of Concepts testing. We are looking to help with EEA with the aim of building the next generation enterprise level apps and products – Ro says.
For that, the core infrastructure needs to be strengthened, bringing together an unlikely alliance of start-ups, financial institutions, tech companies and even BP, the giant oil company, illustrating a diverse array of applications.
We made a decision early on to be inclusive, says Joe Lubin, founder of Consensys. There were some who early on were not too happy working with banks, but Vitalik has made it clear that we are inclusive, Lubin continued.
There’s a need for each other – says Matt Spoke, who previously led the blockchain efforts at Deloitte, but left to fund a new start-up. There is an overlap between start-ups and corporations, individuals leave corporations for start-ups and vice versa – a lot of appreciation for each other – Spoke continued.
This co-operation transcends further. Marley Gray from Microsoft announced that Quorum, an enterprise-focused version of ethereum by JP Morgan, is now available on Microsoft Azure.
More generally, Spoke says enterprises can solve business issues. “I can bring tech solutions” he says, but these large enterprises can help us figure out legitimate business challenges, “because we can’t solve them on our own,” – he concluded.
EEA is a legally incorporated non-profit with a rotating board which may use “blockchain based decisioning” – according to Lubin, who says it has already been demoed.
“It’s not a we make decision and dictate, that’s antithetical to what we want” – Ro says, emphasizing EEA is structured bottom up rather than top down.
“It’s not a top-down governance. The board is there to resolve dispute if they arise so that someone ultimately can help us move forward, but is not there to set the agenda,” – Baldet concurs.
Few would have imagined, even 2-3 years ago, that this sort of article would be written so soon. It’s a seismic shift for this space and for the household brands too. They appear to be converging on one core – ethereum – thus apparently ending one race, but Baldet has fired the opening shot of a new one.
Corporations may be co-operating right now to lay out the core infrastructure, but not out of altruism. They are positioning for what in five or ten years may be a very disrupted world. That means, being first to get the talent, the know-how, the what, the where, the why and the products out.
The group first got together in December – Spoke says, “getting this all together in two and a half months is almost miraculous,” – he concludes. It was probably necessary too.
Image from Shutterstock.