Enterprise Ethereum is about much more than data management and IT cost-cutting. The true opportunity with enterprise blockchain adoption is the formation of wholly new products and business models: tokens that unfreeze and fractionalize previously immoveable assets; payment networks that help different nations move in and out of one another’s currencies in real time; multi-sided marketplaces — around finance, trade, energy, real estate — that give a much more diverse range of players access to the market.
These business models are dramatically more collaborative than what enterprises are used to. As Joe Lubin recently noted at Sibos, SWIFT’s International Banking Operations Seminar, “our society reflects the tech that we built it on. Until recently, we only had siloed databases, which created an Us vs. Them approach to business. Blockchain is a database breakthrough, a trust layer that puts collaboration front and center.”
Enterprise Ethereum offers a single execution space for diverse business entities to transact with one another, but also the permissioning and privacy layers to ensure that only authorized entities can access the network and that confidential business or customer data remains confidential. Ethereum’s capacity for both collaboration and customizability (what many refer to as Ethereum’s “programmability”) explains why many Enterprise Ethereum solutions emphasize network and consortium building. The only way an industry can truly streamline its document management, for example, is if it has a critical mass of stakeholders on board, but it also needs assurance that individual transactions and the network at large are encrypted and secure. Enterprise Ethereum offers that simultaneous collaboration and control.
Enterprise Ethereum Alliance
While most DLTs remain proprietary and other blockchain ecosystems small and balkanized, hundreds of leading enterprises have come together to standardize the adoption of Ethereum. The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance is the world’s largest business blockchain consortium with 500+ members and the first global standards organization to deliver an open, standards-based architecture and specification of Enterprise Ethereum. The EEA’s Enterprise Ethereum Client Specification 2.0 and forthcoming testing and certification programs will ensure interoperability, multiple vendors of choice, and lower costs for its members.
Accounting Blockchain Coalition
The Accounting Blockchain Coalition is an initiative started by ConsenSys’ Balanc3 team that includes accounting associations, standards-setting bodies, regulators, law firms, investors, and blockchain innovators. The Coalition is driving innovation in the accounting industry and also educating businesses and organizations on accounting for blockchain-based digital assets.
Beyond alliances, coalitions, and regional initiatives such as Smart Dubai and the EU Blockchain Observatory & Forum, ConsenSys is working closely with world-class financial institutions and software companies to create an easy onramp for enterprises to adopt blockchain technology.
- ConsenSys + Microsoft. ConsenSys helped deploy the first permissioned implementation of Ethereum on Microsoft’s Azure cloud and embedded Ethereum’s Solidity codebase into the Microsoft Visual Studio.
- ConsenSys + J.P. Morgan. ConsenSys has contributed to J.P. Morgan’s Quorum, an enterprise-focused version of Ethereum, which is optimized for high speed and high throughput processing of private transactions within a permissioned group of participants.
- ConsenSys + Amazon. Kaleido, a ConsenSys venture, has radically simplified blockchain adoption for enterprises with their Blockchain Business Cloud, the first full-stack platform for the entire Enterprise Ethereum journey. This past spring, Kaleido partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) so enterprises can run the Kaleido platform on AWS and seamlessly connect to Amazon’s other analytics, rich query, monitoring, and storage services.
Going to Market
A recent McKinsey article on the strategic business value of blockchain argued that the benefits of enterprise blockchain will take another three to five years to realize — not because of the state of the tech, but because of the challenge of developing common architectural standards and onboarding enterprises to more cooperative business models. The Enterprise Ethereum ecosystem, however, is proving McKinsey’s estimate wrong. Not only have hundreds of organizations participated in the development of a V2 architectural specification, but the array of industry applications above is proof that Enterprise Ethereum is on the ground, and working.
Some organizations will miss out on Web3, for a variety of reasons. They might be too entrenched in legacy technologies and therefore fail to respond in time to evolving consumer expectations as open marketplaces take hold. Or, because of lack of managerial vision, agility, and alignment, they will miss out on strategic partnerships that could facilitate adoption. But for those organizations who are ready to propel and participate in economies of scale, a battle-tested platform and world-class community await them.