Blythe Masters' Next Move? Get FIs Hooked On Blockchain SDKs

Blockchain startup Digital Asset has revealed a new project aimed at streamlining the way systemically important financial infrastructures access its technology.

Led by former JP Morgan global commodities boss Blythe Masters, the startup is in the process of packaging its custom smart contract language DAML into easy-to-use software development kits (SDKs) for customers.

Already an active ingredient in its existing partnerships (such as its work with theAustralian Securities Exchange), the creation of the SDKs stands to accelerate the rate new financial infrastructure providers can build with the technology, Masters says.

An early version of the kits are now being explored by the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC), a Digital Assetinvestor, and Masters told CoinDesk that "tens" of other companies are building with the technology.

As the number of enterprise-grade blockchain platforms grows, the advent of tools to simplify development could not only prove to give competing platforms an edge but a new way to generate revenue.

Masters said:

"We've taken that same tooling, which our developers use, packaged it into something called a software developers kit, and are making that available to customers, progressively, more of them over time."

DTCC collaboration

To get things started, Digital Asset is working with the DTCC to both refine the SDKs and teach the financial infrastructure provider how to use the technology.

As revealed on stage for the first time last week, DTCC chief architect, Rob Palatnick, described the technology as a way to "construct smart contracts very cleanly," and with a wide range of potential use cases.

"Now we're figuring out all the different business opportunities within the DTCC in support of the industry, where it might be best applied," said Palatnick at the DTCC Fintech Symposium.

For her part, Masters described the latest DTCC collaboration as "a training process," one wherein they learned how to use the SDK and are now building example applications. Going forward, Digital Asset expects to learn from other early SDK tests so as to make it easier for other platform providers to interoperate with ASX and each other.

As the SDKs are "polished" through the DTCC work and the other unnamed projects, Master's expects to open up access even further.

"Once that beta version is enhanced to the first release stage, which will be very soon, we will be opening that up to more customers," she said.

Connecting the world

Stepping back, Digital Asset's work is also part of an industry-wide effort to make enterprise blockchain solutions interoperable.

While Digital Asset has still not contributed its own work to the Hyperledger blockchain consortium, Masters serves as chair of the organization that is seeing increaasing interoparability between its members.

In addition, one of Digital Asset's largest competitors, distributed ledger consortium, R3, has open-sourced its own Corda platform and is preparing to make a number of live releases this year.

While Masters wouldn't discuss details about ongoing projects to help move more of the financial infrastructure to this nascent network of interoperable blockchains, she hinted at the potential benefits of doing so.

"Today, CHESS and Austraclear are two totally distinct systems, different interfaces, and the opportunity would be for there to essentially be one," said Masters, adding:

"Whether it's two instances of the same technology or a single instance of the technology that handles both, remains to be seen."

Image via Michael del Castillo for CoinDesk

26.03.2018 / 19:20 89
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