Microsoft wasn’t the only financial firm to voice its interest in ethereum today.
At the software project’s annual developer conference, Devcon2, Thomson Reuters research scientist Dr Tim Nugent revealed a number of early-stage projects that the media giant is building on the decentralized application development platform.
At the day’s final morning session, Nugent spoke broadly about the company’s projects (including its work with the R3CEV banking consortium and the Hyperledger blockchain project), while offering new details about how it sees the technology fitting into its existing product lines.
However, Nugent explained that while Thomson Reuters is working on private consortium efforts, most of its internal demos have been built so far with ethereum.
Nugent told the audience:
“We spend most of our time working with ethereum demos and building proofs-of-concept with ethereum.”
The presentation was the latest indication that the New York company is interested in applications of blockchain technology, following public statements earlier this year.
Nugent also highlighted Thomson Reuters work to promote its blockchain efforts through hackathons held in partnership with the Ethereum Foundation, indicating these events help it better test its solutions with the open-source community.
Thomson Reuters, he said, remains committed to continuing its work on such programs, and that it will hold its next ethereum developer conference in January.
Nugent said that while Thomson Reuters is primarily known as a news service, it has four other verticals it believes blockchain would better apply to, including its financial and risk; legal; tax and accounting; and intellectual property and science offerings.
“Many of our products and services are proprietary databases and solutions, and there is a question of entitlement, [of] who should have access to these databases,” Nugent said.
One use case Nugent said is particularly suited to blockchain is licensing agreements, and he gave an overview for what he called “BlockOne ID” an ethereum-based distributed application that could provide identity services.
“This is already an area where we have compliance products and we want to make these available on-chain,” he continued.
Eventually, Nugent said such a service could be integrated into its KYC offerings, including its compliance records checking software.
Given its role in providing trusted data delivery, Nugent said he sees Reuters also playing a role in the creation of oracles, or blockchain-based tools that could be queried by smart contracts.
The idea that has also caught the attention of Microsoft, forming a key part of its early morning keynote.
“You might deploy a smart financial instrument, and you would make a request that would talk to our oracle,” he said, indicating that it could, as an example, call the price of a financial asset tracked by its data tools.
For such applications, Nugent said that Reuters is examining other innovations in the blockchain industry, including those related to privacy, which he said would be integral for his company to deploy applications on a public blockchain.
Though interested in such developments, Nugent stressed that all the demonstrations remain in early stages.
“That’s all very much under test.”
Image via Pete Rizzo for CoinDesk