The New York-based private banking blockchain consortium led by R3 has now added a new “strategic’ partner, in global software giant Microsoft.
In a new announcement made today, Microsoft is now in a partnership with R3CEV, a consortium of the leading banking institutions of the world that is looking to develop real-world blockchain solutions for the current banking and financial services industry.
Microsoft, through its cloud service platform Azure, will also serve as the cloud services provider for R3’s Lab and Research Center that is currently developing blockchain-solutions to serve its 42-member banking consortium.
The terms of the partnership will see Microsoft directly provide “cloud-based tools, services and infrastructure” at R3 lab locations around the world. Moreover, the software giant will also provide a team of dedicated technical architects, project managers, lab assistants and support services, including technical support.
In the company blog, executive vice president of business development at Microsoft, Peggy Johnson stated:
Together, we will help R3’s over 40 member banks develop, test and deploy blockchain technologies to modernize decades-old processes and streamline operations, potentially saving billions of dollars from back-office operations.
Johnson also spoke about the ultimate intention to create blockchain solutions in practice.
Coupled with dedicated services and technical support for R3’s blockchain labs, this partnership creates a powerful, flexible ecosystem for member banks to develop and ultimately deploy real-world blockchain solutions.
The news, while significant, was to be expected after Microsoft’s Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform was revealed to be a part of a comprehensive banking-based blockchain test this January.
In mid-January this year, R3 revealed an experiment wherein a total of 11 banks including the likes of Barclays, HSBC, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Wells Fargo partook whilst being connected to a private, R3-managed distributed ledger.
The ledger was underpinned by Ethereum and hosted on a virtual private network (VPN) provided by Microsoft’s cloud platform, Azure.
Altogether, the successful experiment ran for a total of five days continuously, spanning banks across four continents.
A press release, revealed by both Microsoft and R3 further revealed that R3’s banking members will have access to Microsoft’s BaaS service and its partners. Significantly, this includes access to the smart-contract powered platform, Ethereum, as well as blockchain dev and end-user tools provider, ConsenSys.
In a press release, Johnson stated:
With intelligent, cloud-based technology, R3 and member banks will experiment and learn faster, accelerating distributed ledger technology deployment,
She further added:
What’s more, our collaboration brings to light tremendous opportunities to rethink business processes and transform entire industries.
R3 CEO David Rutter spoke up the merits of Microsoft’s Azure platform and the partnership as a whole, by stating:
The partnership between Microsoft and R3 will scale the use of distributed ledger technology in a way that will change the entire financial services industry,
“The Azure platform and intelligent cloud services bring advanced capabilities to this budding financial ecosystem, and the commitment by Microsoft will accelerate the adoption of distributed ledger technology around the globe,” Rutter added.
Featured image from Shutterstock.