The EEA panel gathered at Consensus 2017 to discuss using blockchain in enterprise settings.
Post Launch Update
Julio Faura Enriquez, a founding Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) member from Santander Bank, took to the stage to introduce the EEA and to summarize its recently achieved milestones since launching in February 2017:
"There is a huge community of Ethereum developers and they're doing a great job putting together this technology, we're not going to do a better job than them, so let's foster this. Let's come together and collaborate. We deliberately wanted to create in a consortium in a non profit vehicle."
The goal of the EEA is to create the standards, not the products. The impetus for creating the alliance was to build implementation that could be used to suffice all the needs of its members—a space for enterprise members to collaborate and collectively contribute to, and benefit from, the Ethereum effort.
Panelists reiterated that the governance model of the alliance is not a "top down model”; the many promising organizations in the EEA will have varying levels of influence correlating with the degree to which they contribute to the alliance.
The founding members were, for the most part, geared towards the finance sector and needed more scalability, privacy, and resiliency. Since its inception, the EEA has established structure and initial operations. Particular clients and code base standards will emerge based upon features that EEA members want, and specifications will be crafted and driven by alliance members.
Since its initial launch, the EEA has on boarded over 100 members, 86 of which were just announced earlier this morning, and there currently exists a backlog of enterprise organizations waiting to join the alliance.
Updates From The Working Groups
Maksym Petkus of Chronicled took to the stage to describe the intersection of internet-of-things (IoT) and blockchain. Petkus is helping bridge the gap between the physical and digital world by combining custom hardware and blockchain smart contracts. Chronicled will be programming physical things in executable distributed code contract—focusing initially on the supply chain space where IoT and blockchain is very applicable.
Yorke Rhodes of Microsoft described how a new version of Quorum allowed multi-node, one-click deployment.
One member of the alliance leading the way is J.P. Morgan, who is the force behind Quorum, a fork of Ethereum running an open source private blockchain.
A Quorum engineer described experimenting with Raft, a well known consensus protocol that currently allows for up to 25 transactions per millisecond. Raft consensus protocol means any messages sent will arrive at all nodes at the same time.
Zcash's Zooko Wilcox joined Amber Baldet from J.P. Morgan to demo implementing zK-snarks into Quorum. ZContracts are executable distributed code contracts (EDCCs) on the Quorum blockchain that enable the transfer of digital assets on a distributed ledger without revealing any information about the sender, recipient, or quantity of assets. Adding a privacy layer in the form of EDCCs is an important step for creating enterprise ready solutions.
The Business of Blockchain
Eric Piscini from Deloitte mentioned the increasing utilization of the EEA by startups, as well as the big players. While the EEA is focused on the enterprise side, it’s finding a wide range of interesting use cases used by startups who are pushing the boundaries. The panel agreed that startups in the FinTech and RegTech space have similar requirements to enterprise clients.
In “The Business of Blockchain” panel, Kieren James-Lubin described how his company BlockApps has been creating consumable APIs for the blockchain while Casey Kuhlman of Monax described how his company was creating a library of intellectual property (IP) that could be used to maintain and build upon IP in an EDCC world.
EEA Technical discussion
Bob Summerwill of ConsenSys summarized the goal of the alliance being to build decentralized operating system for the world and to facilitate better interactions between individuals. Summerwill described the work of EEA as rebuilding business infrastructure from the bottom up.
The panel stressed the importance of making sure EDCCs function as intended, as well as, taking precautionary measures like adding escape hatches with access control.
The EEA is collaboratively solving the universal needs of its members; first and foremost, these needs include scalability and confidentiality. The alliance is working with countless groups to add additional features, and this added functionality will be built into the standards that are evolving to suit the needs of EEA members.
The EEA membership is growing at a rapid pace. By the end of the year, the EEA will likely have on boarded their next wave of clients and the collaborative efforts by alliance members will help solidify its standards while simultaneously working to help public Ethereum continue to evolve into a blockchain fit for enterprise use.