Investment Bank Consortium Blockchain

A few meandering thoughts on a recent Business Insider article explaining why 42 investment banks want to use blockchain technology:

  • Is a blockchain really the intrinsic engine of a public network of self-interested miners? Or can it successfully work privately too? Signing up 42 banks seems like an attempt to simulate a distributed network, to make transaction consensus more definitive and trusted, as smaller networks with fewer nodes are more prone to tampering.
  • Can a private blockchain safely work? What are the pitfalls? At a recent Austin Data Meetup I attended here in Austin, this topic came up after the main event. Clearly, people think it will work. The other side wonders, is a private blockchain network large enough to safely secure consensus? Does a private blockchain offer enough privacy for banks?
  • To future confuse public vs. private viewpoints, there’s a “hybrid” option that’s both public and private. This might also be called a consortium blockchain.
  • Various Bitcoin enthusiasts (you can find them on YouTube) seem to think there’s a trend to milk the “blockchain ledger” buzzword right now because it’s hot.
Finally, here’s a quote from the BI article:

R3’s “sandbox” environment used Ethereum technology, an open source blockchain that’s an alternative to bitcoin’s blockchain, and was hosted on Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure.

The value of Ethereum coin (ETH) is recently rising. Is this partly due to these 42 banks exploring the use of Ethereum’s distributed technology? Is the increase due to speculation? Does the Ethereum network offer some important advantage over Bitcoin? How does the ETH platform work and is this a big deal or not?

Note: I’m not invested in any of the technology mentioned in this blog post.