Tensions Rising at R3 Banking Blockchain Consortium – Internal Patent Wars

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Sixty of the world’s top financial institutions who are members of the Blockchain Consortium  R3, who, with their considerable financial and resource commitments (members allegedly pay 20,000 euro per month according to a Blockchain News source) have hired some of the world’s top Blockchain developers and have been pumping money into a cross-industry solution called Corda – which some feel is still a couple years away before getting to market. 

The problem is – some of the American member companies are themselves taking out patents on Blockchain and this is creating fissures in R3. 

According to an article by Jonas Leijonhufvud at Sweden-based DI Digital  a series of individual patent applications filed by US banks now threaten to derail the project, according to a source he has interviewed from the Swedish bank SEB, a member of R3.

Kristian Gårder, who represents SEB in the R3 consortium, says he hopes that R3’s platform Corda, will be ready for launch in two to three years. However, a series of individual patent applications, filed by members such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, may severely limit the usefulness of the platform, according to Gårder. 

“The R3 consortium has applied for a patent for Corda. But both Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have applied for their own blockchain patents, and they are not alone in doing so. Members will obviously worry if some R3 members seek patents that we’ve discussed together. Now we are beginning to see alliances form,”  Gårder told  Leijonhufvud. 

SEB’s position is that that Corda should be open source and hence available to the entire financial community. If the cooperation ultimately fails, the bank says it will still be invested in the underlying technology.

“We have never seen R3 as a risk-free project and we have already learned a lot from this,” says Kristian Gårder.

SEB was one of R3:s founding partners. Today, the consortium has 43 partners and 65 members. Most of the world’s major international banks are involved in the project.

 

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Founder of Blockchain News and The Hackitarians Foundation, Richard Kastelein is an award winning publisher and editor, hackathon organiser and entrepreneur. He has written over 700 articles at Blockchain News, has a massive network in the Blockchain arena and is available as a speaker and consultant. (richard@the-blockchain.com) Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on technology at events in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Gdansk, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Oxford, Rio de Janeiro, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, and Zurich. A Creative Technologist & Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) his career began in the Native Press (Canadian Arctic) and he later spent a decade in the Caribbean media. Currently, he writes occasionally for Wired Insights, Guardian & Virgin and his articles have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German & French.