Intensive works are underway on the development and applicability of DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology). Each industry has ideas for implementing this technology and does not want to fall behind in the race to maximise benefits. Different organisations create different concepts of implementation. This kind of approach increases fragmentation and can weaken technology versatility. Is standardisation coming to the rescue? What about effects of these efforts in this matter?
How can standardisation help?
Lack of standardisation makes it difficult to build interoperability between systems. Only 25% of DLT platform operators confirm that their systems are interoperable with other networks chain, and more than half of solutions implemented by companies based on distributed ledger technology based on individual approach. Such dispersion and a multitude of approaches favour fragmentation.
- standards are promoting and supporting the interoperability of applications based on DLT
- standards can help stop the fragmentation of the ecosystem
- unification of terms and definitions of concepts help increase understanding of technology and trust and thus extend the market
- standards are promoting competition
Efforts = effects? Standardisation examples
EEA Tech Standard
The EEA (Enterprise Ethereum Alliance) is a non-profit organisation for gathering companies (about 500 enterprises), developers, organisations and technology vendors from various industries. Their efforts are focused on global development of DLT implementation standard based on the Ethereum Platform.
In May 2018, the EEA announced the first public technology implementation standard. Earlier efforts of the companies focused on creating own ways to implement DLT. The effect of such an approach is the fact that the compatibility of the designed solutions will be impossible to achieve. The standard developed by the EEA is the result of 18 months of cooperation. The project aims to make everyone using the Ethereum platform relies on the same business logic, ensuring the compatibility of the application. The development of the standard should encourage a larger number of companies to develop Ethereum based-solution. The new standard is publicly available for use.
The EEA architectural stack is a breakthrough in achieving standards for companies wanted to implement solutions based on Ethereum. The stack itself consists of a comprehensive set of elements that enables companies and programmers to experiment within a framework compatible with the Ethereum ecosystem, but flexible enough to adapt to the specific needs of individual companies. Ethereum Technology Architecture Stack it is an open source solution publicly available for use.
Ethereum Technology Architecture Stack
R3 – Corda
Corda – R3
R3 was established as a consortium of banks, working on exploiting of the potential of blockchain technology. The goal was improving the connection of DLT technology with the world of finance and trade. The result of works is Corda – an open source blockchain platform. The advantage of Corda is ensuring the highest levels of privacy and security. It strikes a balance between the public consensus and the privacy of data. Around R3 work a global team of over 180 professionals in 13 countries is and it is supported by over 2,000 technology, financial, and legal experts.
Looking from the perspective of enterprises, the use of public registers does not fully meet business data protection requirements. Corda meets expectation and minimises the amount of data available to network users. It still based on public consensus, but to confirm the transaction the platform sends only evidence of the information allowing the confirm of the transaction. There is no need to share sensitive details.
Not only companies are taking care of good starting point at effective exploiting of the potential of blockchain technology. Governments also emphasise the controlled development of technology in their area.
China has established a committee to develop standards and a legal framework that will be the base for faster implementation of DLT in the country. Up to 2019, it is planned to issue national technology standard. Japan and Singapore undertake similar efforts. ISO also in April 2016 established a committee to work on technology standards.
What can we do? At the moment, the lack of standardisation is one of the factors slowing down implementation of blockchain. However, looking at the number of initiatives undertaken by companies, organisations and governments, we must assume that the problem is addressed and in the nearest future, we can expect more specific solutions in this area.