The tectonic plates of enterprise blockchain shifted Tuesday, as SIX Digital Exchange (SDX) announced its support for the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), and the Swiss digital asset trading venue’s head of business, Tim Grant, joined the EEA board of directors.
“You cannot ignore the Ethereum ecosystem as a driver of digital asset flow,” Grant said. “The evolution of the DeFi (decentralized finance) space has now captured the attention of all our institutional clients, and being involved in driving where that goes is where we want to be positioned.”
The project to make blockchain technology palatable to large, regulated companies (often referred to as enterprise blockchain) is broadly split into three factions: permissioned Ethereum variants, the Hyperledger blockchain family and R3’s Corda community.
It’s worth noting that SDX is being built using R3’s blockchain tech, as per a long-standing agreement between the firms. However, Grant, a former R3 executive, seemed to play down the relationship.
“We use R3’s blockchain for our CSD (central securities depository), and there are reasons why we made that decision a couple of years ago,” Grant said in an interview. “We’ve got to look beyond just CSD. Asset flow matters to us, and the R3 Corda ecosystem doesn’t have anything like the kind of traction from an asset perspective that the Ethereum ecosystem has.”
Once a consortia-happy, proof-of-concept playground for banks and blue chips, enterprise blockchain has turned out to be something of a slow grind. But there’s probably still a lot to play for, especially with big companies such as International Business Machines appearing to rein in their efforts.
Meanwhile, Quorum, the enterprise version of Ethereum built by JPMorgan Chase, seems to be thriving inside Brooklyn, N.Y.-based ConsenSys, which recently closed a $65 million funding round led by the Wall Street bank, as well as by Mastercard and UBS.
The EEA, which includes decentralized lending major Aave among its members, is focusing on how best to bring institutional players to DeFi, said EEA Executive Director Dan Burnett.
“We are forming a DeFi interest group at the EEA,” Burnett said in an interview. “And next month, we’re having a formulation workshop, gathering together a number of DeFi players to decide what that group should do within the EEA. Basically, I think Ethereum is going to be the chain of record.”
Aave joined the EEA in Q1 and is working with the EEA and other members to create the DeFi interest group.