Racing pit

Distributed ledger consortium R3 will soon launch the first production version of its Corda platform.

After two years of development, the group of over 100 banks, regulators and technology firms now says it has crossed the final milestone, and that it plans to upgrade the software to enable live transactions by the end of this year. Launched in beta in 2016, the distributed ledger solution has already underpinned several notable tests, including an effort by financial giant Mizuho Group to digitize letters of credit.

But while the details around the launch are being kept private for now, Corda product lead Mike Ward said the decision to introduce Corda 1.0 was reached at a monthly engineering call on Thursday.

Ward told CoinDesk:

"A lot of what I think the engineers are excited to talk about is what happens post 1.0. What are the things that are on the horizon long term?"

Yet, until the launch of Corda 1.0, developers face a daunting task: every time R3 releases an upgrade, users have to rebuild and retest some of their own work, thus limiting the scale of projects capable of being created. After the launch however, the developer API is expected to be stable enough that enterprise-grade products can finally be constructed without the worry of rebuilds after future upgrades.

As a result, Ward expects the launch will trigger a new phase of development in which consortium members discover unexpected ways of using a shared, distributed ledger to save money and generate new sources of revenue.

Ward explained the importance of the new platform: “It allows people to have a firm foundation to go build on."

Corda's next phase

That firm foundation and R3's future trajectory were distilled for attendees at the consortium's annual CordaCon conference in London yesterday.

But for those unable to attend, Ward touched on the progress being made by several key R3 partners. For example, Intel is continuing its work to provide hardware-based protection for member transactions, while Microsoft is using its Azure cloud computing platform to accelerate development through Project Coco.

Of particular note, however, were Ward's comments on R3's "body of work" with Tibco, a software analytics firm based in Palo Alto, California, to connect these two ideas – local hardware and cloud storage.

According to Ward, R3 and Tibco are working together to create a "hybrid bridge" between Microsoft Azure and a user's local hardware. Going forward, he said the partnership will include ways to use Tibco's software to cull analytics from Corda distributed ledger transactions.

Ward also elaborated on early stage work, which was discussed at the event by R3 software engineer Andrius Dagys, to help Corda users sort through settlement algorithms that have been academically vetted, but not tested in rigorous live use cases.

Ward concluded:

"We’ll provide you with a variety of choices, but which one you choose should be based just on the discussions that we all love to have in user groups, around the notions of the algorithms – have they actually been used, have they been field tested?"

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