R3, a blockchain consortium which consists of more than a hundred of member companies, is preparing to release the first production version of its Corda product later this month. The group has also unveiled plans to launch live transactions on the platform by the end of the year.
Introduced in beta in 2016, Corda is a distributed ledger system created to record, manage and automate legal agreements between business partners. The platform is expected to improve the process of reconciling financial agreements, which generally takes large amount of time and money.
The Corda protocol has already undergone a number of trials. In June, it was successfully tested by a group of Japanese financial organizations, which used the platform to streamline the exchange of derivatives.
Speaking at the first CordaCon event in London, R3 lead engineer Richard Gendal Brown said that the new Corda 1.0 release is a significant event for the group as it will provide a stable API for developers. He added that the enterprise version of the platform will be launched at the end of the year and will feature improved DLT performance, Intel SGX, and enhanced disaster recovery capabilities.
Meantime, lead platform engineer at R3, Mike Hearn, described plans for the future development of Corda and focused on the topic of privacy, talking about the difference between SGX and zero knowledge proofs, IBTimes reported.
As Intel’s SGX program architect, Simon Johnson, explained, the technology changes the memory architecture of computers using an Enclave Page Cache Map (EPCM), an internal structure used by the processor to track the contents of the EPC. Hearn noted that R3’s engineers implemented the JVM inside the enclave. “So you don’t have to do anything. This is what we are shielding you from,” Hearn said.
There is a question whether multiparty netting can be efficiently realized on distributed ledgers. Some experts consider it’s necessary to centralize a part of the algorithm by temporarily giving control to a trusted entity – a broadly-trusted node on the blockchain or a trusted oracle.
Dave Hudson, director, Solutions Architecture at R3, said that reaching atomicity with payments of cash and netted obligations started by establishing certain requirements. For example, taking part in the netting cycle would be optional and everybody is able to choose how much cash they want to put in the netting solution.
“We use flows; lots of flows. From a high level, it can be broken down into a detect phase and an execute phase,” Hudson explained. “Any node can start a scan; talk to neighbours it has obligations with, payments they would like to go in the netting cycle (we use pseudonyms).”
Hudson also presented a demo of a netting transaction. “It’s complex and compact and avoids using a single trusted node which would be a single point of failure.”
R3 describes Corda as a distributed ledger platform, not a blockchain one, adding that blockchain can’t be applied to financial markets without careful consideration. According to the consortium, if they managed to find a perfect platform that fits regulated financial institutions, such as a traditional blockchain, at the very beginning, they wouldn’t have needed to develop their own one.