Accenture has developed and tested two technology solutions that enable two or more blockchain enabled ecosystems to integrate, solving a critical challenge for broad adoption of blockchain technology.
The two Accenture solutions show that blockchain platforms from Digital Asset (DA Platform) and R3 (R3 Corda) as well as Hyperledger Fabric and Quorum are capable of integrating to securely orchestrate business processes. The technology solutions also demonstrated they could actively share data and information across distributed ledgers, proving that integration is possible across the growing number of blockchain and distributed ledger platforms in the market.
“This is a game-changer that can help accelerate adoption of blockchain technology. The key challenge was to develop the ability to integrate without introducing ‘operational messaging’ between distributed ledger technology platforms in order to stay true to the principles and benefits of blockchain technology,” said David Treat, managing director and Global Blockchain Lead, Accenture. “Applying this capability with our clients is already unlocking new opportunities to bring ecosystems together, mitigating key concerns about picking the ‘wrong’ platform or having to re-build if one partner uses something different.”
Interoperability has emerged as a hot topic among industry analysts and enterprise technology professionals, who acknowledge the high probability of multiple DLT platforms gaining traction in the market. Additionally, different industry verticals and business ecosystems may prefer one platform or another, such that over time, market players will see value in connecting with each other. Concern about picking the ‘wrong system’ or looking ahead to perceived challenges to connecting blockchain-based ecosystems that may be on different platforms has been a hindrance in moving the technology forward.
Blockchain is a new type of distributed database system that maintains and records data in a way that allows multiple stakeholders to confidently and securely share access to the same information. The technology is poised to revolutionize operations across a multitude of sectors, such as financial services, government, healthcare, entertainment and freight and logistics.
Industry analyst Gartner has estimated that the number of blockchain platforms could continue to grow to more than 70 before competition and consolidation narrow the field to a much smaller number of dominant providers.
For different distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) to integrate, they must preserve the ability to audit, trace and verify data elements with complete security and integrity. Accenture’s technology solutions solve this challenge with an interoperability node that resides, and provides the lines of communication, between two or more DLT platforms. The interoperability node includes embedded business logic that contains the business standards, policies and guidelines by which the different blockchain platforms have agreed to work together.
The solution enables integration between the different blockchain platforms by either allowing for the transfer of a tokenized asset on two blockchain platforms or allowing mapping of data to the different blocks that exist in two different blockchain platforms at the same time, with the reference data kept in constant sync. With the solution, there is no need for ongoing messaging between the different platforms. Rather, it becomes possible to transfer and maintain an “active state” between the nodes of the separate blockchain platforms, keeping them synchronized.
“Business is conducted across multiple ecosystems and, in many instances, we’re seeing these ecosystems align to “fit-for-purpose” platforms. But for blockchain to achieve its full potential these different platforms must interact seamlessly with each other, and our technology solutions show that this is possible — while still delivering the security and transparency benefits that blockchain offers,” said Emmanuel Viale, managing director, Accenture Labs. “This is a crucial step to ensure that growth and innovation continue with this dynamic technology.”
“It’s important for our customers to know that not only does the Digital Asset Platform seamlessly integrate with their existing systems, but also has the possibility to integrate with other DLT platforms,” said Shaul Kfir, chief technology officer, head of Technology Architecture & Innovation at Digital Asset. “Accenture has demonstrated a useful approach which addresses many practical enterprise business needs.”
Richard Gendal Brown, chief technology officer at R3 said, “We have said right from the beginning that interoperability is key to avoiding the trapped assets and silos of the past. We made specific design choices when building Corda to ensure that applications built on our platform can interoperate without friction. The successful testing of these technology solutions is a significant step forward for blockchain development and validates our approach.”
“Accenture and IBM have long recognized the need for scale, while enabling technologies to work collaboratively without altering respective platforms,” said Jerry Cuomo, IBM Fellow and vice president for Blockchain Technologies. “As we continue to work with our consortia across platforms we look forward to applying this technology jointly to a broad range of enterprise ecosystems.”