As financial institutions look to move beyond proofs-of-concept, the speed at which available blockchain solutions can process transactions is expected to play a deciding factor in adoption.
In preparation for that shift, New York startup Symbiont today publicly launched its Assembly blockchain. Previously only hinted at in a demos, the blockchain solution is already being implemented by Symbiont partners including the state of Delaware and Credit Suisse.
Coming in at 87,000 transactions per second during a live test on four nodes, the Assembly blockchain (or dedicated distributed ledger, as Symbiont describes it) appears to be capable of transacting at more than 10k times the speed of the bitcoin blockchain, even if it isn't quite up to speed with Nasdaq's reported capacity.
Symbiont co-founder and CTO Adam Krellenstein, however, said the system has reached transaction speeds that even surpass those claimed by VisaNet in a recent report.
Krellenstein told CoinDesk:
"We fully expect our competitors and other developers in the industry to be able to reach comparable numbers in the future. But it's a question of time and what sacrifices they have to make."
Symbiont's own building process has required design modifications, as well.
Originally, Symbiont's smart contract system ran on the bitcoin blockchain, but as the use-cases became increasingly complicated, the company said a tailored solution was needed to give customers both a private solution and faster transactions times.
Today, Symbiont's smart contract system is capable of supporting a wide-range of blockchains including Hyperledger and ethereum.
The private, immutable Assembly network of distributed nodes is managed by Symbiont's clients, which pay a fee to license the software. Powered by the BFT Smart consensus algorithm, Assembly also generates revenue by charging additional fees to originate new investment vehicles (more details are now available on Symbiont's Github site).
The fee-based business model is designed to relegate Symbiont to the role of a gate-keeper that protects the on-ramp to the system and ensures only regulated users participate.
To simplify implementation of the smart contracts across numerous blockchains, Symbiont employs a process called containerization.
Instead of having to build a different smart contract implementation for each blockchain, Sybmiont breaks down its code into modules and uses containerization provider Docker's software to rapidly deploy a single set of code for multiple ledgers.
To manage the containers, Symbiont uses Google's open-source Kubernetes service. The result is that a single node on Assembly can run multiple ledgers, increasing the system's overall reliability.
Whereas Krellenstein argues that many of his competitors are building proofs-of-concept on a case-by-case basis, he says Assembly's method of combining a streamlined consensus mechanism and containerized code lets his company model "arbitrarily complex financial instruments" and deploy them "in various industries to great effect."
"As we've built proofs of concept, we've been able to do so incredibly quickly," said Krellenstein. "And that's because we built our system with a powerful generic platform."
Symbiont isn't currently sharing its revenue numbers, but to give an idea of its growth, the company currently employs 17 people and Krellenstein says they just signed a lease for space to accommodate eight additional employees.
Though Krellenstein's take on his product is understandably bullish given his vested interest, multiple ostensible competitors have also been making strides in the move away from blockchain proofs-of-concept to functioning services.
For example, earlier today, New York-based Axoni announced a deal with JP Morgan, Thompson Reuters and others that resulted in over 100 successful tests of complex blockchain based equity swaps.
Further, the US Patent & Trademark Office recently published an application from New York-based Digital Asset Holdings for a means to execute similar trades.
While today is the coming-out party for Symbiont's Assembly blockchain the startups that has raised $7m venture capital has been discreetly shopping its offering to potential customers for a while.
In March of this year, Symbiont partnered with Goldman Sachs and Blackstone subsidiary Ipreo to launch a jointly held venture call Synaps Loans to create Assembly-based syndicated loans offerings.
Two months later, the State of Delaware announced it would partner with Symbiont to move the process of registering companies, tracking shares and managing shareholder communications into a digital environment we now know is the Assembly blockchain.
In fact, for several months now, Symbiont has been running the Assembly blockchain with multiple entities, and after a recent demo, the firm's new president says a "deluge" of interest has followed.
Symbiont president Caitlin Long said she took 22 meetings with fellow attendees at Oliver Wyman's InsurTech conference in Las Vegas earlier this month, a figure she asserted is a sign of the company's success.
"We are engaging with nearly every major insurance company in the US and many in Europe, but it's still early."
Nails image via Shutterstock; Assembly logo via Symbiont