R3 Expands Blockchain Operations to KLM, Citi, and Riksbank
R3 seems to be the blockchain provider of choice for most enterprise-level businesses, government organizations and banking institutions, including several central banks.
While the broader financial sector seems more unstable than ever and damaged further by the ongoing Covid-19 plaguing one country after another in a matter of days, some relentless movers are planning ahead towards a decentralized, yet digital realm, one that seems to be evolving despite the catastrophic global socio-economic and political conditions.
The US company behind the Corda private blockchain has recently sprouted out its operations to Europe with two offices, one in London, and one in Dublin, and it managed to already establish some top-shelf deals with key industry players such as the Royal Dutch aviation company KLM, Citi, and Riksbank, Sweden’s central bank all within the first quarter of 2020.
Citi joins the Contour financial network backed by R3
The Singapore-based financial services provider Contour, which is powered by R3’s native blockchain has recently announced the addition of Citi to its settlement network, increasing the number of banks involved with the company on an investment level.
Contour is currently backed by Bangkok Bank, BNP Paribas, CTB, HSBC, ING, Standard Chartered, SEB, Bain & Company, CryptoBLK, and obviously R3 who is the main dev behind Contour’s network.
“The Contour team has a trusted background and is partnering with a strong consortium to help digitize Letters of Credit. Citi Ventures is thrilled to support Contour as it pursues its exciting vision.” – Luis Valdich, Managing Director at Citi Ventures
Basically, Contour offers what someone would expect from a blockchain operator in the banking sector. Member banks can monitor, trade and distribute financial information across members in fast, internally transparent, and low-fee fashion.
KLM to use R3 ‘s Corda for Internal Document Administration
The Royal Dutch national airline KLM has also announced a partnership with R3, this time to use the Corda architecture, not for financial transactions, but rather for internal document administration, and accounting purposes, clearly for optimization reasons.
Furthermore, KLM plans to use the network through its subsidiaries as well, while the company that will be building on top of Corda is a domestic startup called Unchain.io who plans on harvesting blockchain technology’s most valuable advantages in order to provide tailored solutions to local and international businesses.
“After initial learnings in smaller projects with the Digital Studio, KLM Finance is happy to announce this project, which we see as strategic to simplify our financial processes and to set an example for future blockchain projects that are no longer ‘test’, but have real business impact.” – Dominique Vijverberg – Fintech Specialist, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Although not all details of KLM’s ambition to ride the blockchain wave have been revealed, the aviation giant says that its Digital Studio has been actively exploring emerging technologies including blockchain, AI, and AR among others for quite some time.
Central Bank of Sweden to pilot its e-Krona using R3 blockchain
Probably one of the first European CBDCs (central bank digital currencies), Sweden’s e-Krona (or electronic Krona), which was previously tested on IOTA’s Tangle Network, is now joining the private blockchain scene, partying with R3.
However, Riksbank made clear that this is only a beta experience and developing and issuing a national CBDC should not be considered as a de facto. Nevertheless, the central bank added that the idea of moving towards a cashless society is considered on a governmental-level.
“The main reason that an e-krona has become so relevant is the sharp decrease in cash usage seen over the last decade,” Riksbank stated. “There is no digital state money available to the general public, however, and the digital money and payment methods that are available are provided by private market players. The digital money is, therefore, a claim on a private player in contrast to cash which is a claim on the state.”
In addition, the bank explained that e-Krona is tailored to be merely a digital representation of the country’s fiat currency Krona in order to avoid competition raised by private digital currencies and CBDC alternatives.
Besides R3, who is the blockchain provider, in this case, Accenture is expected to help the Swedish bank to deal with the management of the entire system, although the bank cited that Accenture will be only participating in this pilot.
In the end, and regardless of the critical political situation, blockchain technology has proven its benefits even in uncertain economic times, and during world-scale epidemics that basically require less physical interactions.
If you forget about Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and monetary value, the distributed ledger technology itself is a miracle constantly influencing how things operate in modern societies, and it seems that R3 is not keen on being left not a step behind from this journey towards autonomous cross-border intel and monetary exchange in a decentralized fashion.