Innovation

Growth of Enterprise Ethereum Alliance signals blockchain's impact on future of business

Now the world's largest open source blockchain initiative, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance claims 150 partners, such as Cisco and Scotiabank, bringing more attention to ledger technology.

On Tuesday, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) became the world's largest open source blockchain initiative, with more than 150 companies including Cisco, MasterCard, and Scotiabank joining in the last seven months.

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance aims to connect Fortune 500 companies, startups, academics, and tech vendors with blockchain subject matter experts. EEA's members represent a wide range of business sectors, including technology, banking, government, healthcare, energy, pharmaceuticals, marketing, and insurance, according to a press release. They include Accenture, BP, Credit Suisse, Deloitte, Microsoft, J.P. Morgan, and Samsung.

For those unfamiliar, blockchain is the technology that allows Bitcoin and other digital currencies to be open, anonymous, and secure. It is a master ledger or database of all Bitcoin transactions. This ledger contains metadata about when and how each transaction occurred, which is open to all members of a given network, and is cryptographically secured to prevent tampering.

EEA was created in early 2017, with research and development focused on privacy, confidentiality, scalability, and security. According to the release, the group is also investigating hybrid architectures that span both permissioned and public Ethereum networks as well as industry-specific application layer working groups.

SEE: Blockchain: The smart person's guide

"EEA's rapid growth in membership mirrors the accelerating acceptance and deployment of Ethereum blockchain solutions in the global marketplace," said Julio Faura, chairman of the board of EEA, in the press release. "The technological breadth, depth and variety of organizations coming together under the auspices of EEA to create and drive enterprise Ethereum standards bodes well for the future development of the next-generation Ethereum ecosystem."

The backing of large tech companies signals that blockchain and ledger technologies are growing in the enterprise. And tech companies are exploring blockchain technology for a number of use cases.

IBM Watson Health and the FDA recently signed a research initiative looking at ways to leverage blockchain to safely share health data. IBM also partnered with SBI Securities, which will adopt the Hyperledger Fabric to test the application of blockchain technology for security around bond trading. EEA members Microsoft and Accenture partnered to create a blockchain solution that acts as digital identification for refugees. And last year, Microsoft also partnered with the R3 banking consortium to further build out its tools powered by blockchain.

Consortiums such as EEA are a great resource for companies that want to invest in learning about these technologies. EEA also plans to develop open industry standards. "This open source framework will enable the mass adoption at a depth and breadth otherwise unachievable in individual corporate silos and provide insight into the future of scalability, privacy, and confidentiality of the public Ethereum permissionless network," according to the press release.

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Image: iStockphoto/monsitj

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

1. The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), an open source blockchain consortium, now has more than 150 members including Cisco, MasterCard, and Scotiabank.

2. The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance aims to connect Fortune 500 companies, startups, academics, and tech vendors with blockchain subject matter experts.

3. The backing of large tech companies signals that blockchain and ledger technologies are growing in the enterprise.

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About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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