R3 is expanding work with computer giant Intel to bring a new layer of hardware security to its distributed ledger platform.
Announced today at an unveiling event for Intel's Xeon Scalable Processors in New York, the partnership will seek to incorporate the hardware protections into R3's open-source Corda distributed ledger platform.
While Intel's newly revealed Xeon Scalable processors are designed to give any highly regulated company the security to run their products using cloud computing, R3's lead platform engineer said the hardware is especially suited for the banking consortium's 80 members.
By integrating Xeon into Corda, members will be able to capitalize on a shared, distributed ledger on which they can all agree, without worrying about regulators cracking down on them for failing to protect user privacy.
Lead platform engineer at R3, Mike Hearn, told CoinDesk:
"What it allows you to do is send a counterparty a chain of custody, proof that an asset or a current state of the ledger has a valid history. Yet, the counterparty can't actually read that history itself. They can only process it to verify that it is valid and that the rules were followed."
Intel's new Xeon scalable processors can be configured to store up to 28 of the company's high-performance cores, and can support up to 5x more transactions per second than previous solutions, according to the statement.
Overall, the move marks a continuation of earlier work first laid out in a white paper last year written by Hearn, who is perhaps best known as a former core developer for the open-source bitcoin project.
Since at least last year R3 has been exploring Intel's software guard extensions (SGX), designed to provide a higher degree of security than software alone. But with the release of Xeon, the first server-side chip with SGX on it, Hearn said the cloud security R3's heavily regulated members demand will be even more easily met.
The vice president of Intel's software and services group, Rick Echevarria, said the processors have the potential to improve the security of a number of distributed ledger solutions.
"R3's collaborative approach and Corda platform places R3 in a unique position to drive the evolution of market infrastructure for the next generation of financial services," he said in a statement.
Hearn went on to acknowledge skeptics of the idea that centralized hardware should be integrated into a decentralized infrastructure like a blockchain, but joined a number of supporters who argue there's some things that software still just can't provide.
Hearn even expanded the possible uses of secure hardware to the cryptocurrency space he recently left, concluding:
"There's a lot of applications around the whole cryptocurrency space. It's a very interesting and powerful tool that allows you to solve many problems that people have struggled with for years when all they had was math."
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