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. 

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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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About Richard Kastelein

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015), a partner at ICO services collective Token.Agency ($750m+ and 90+ ICOs and STOs), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of some two dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat. Irish Tech News put him in the top 10 Token Architects in Europe.

Kastelein has an Ad Honorem - Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first Blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute of Software and Technology. In 2018 he was invited to and attended University of Oxford's Saïd Business School for Business Automation 4.0 programme.  Over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division.

Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London (5x), Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, Prague, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara (2x), Shanghai, Singapore (3x), Tel Aviv, Utrecht, Venice, Visakhapatnam, Zwolle and Zurich.

He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He's written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and Virgin.com, and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French. A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein's professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he's travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world. In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. […] In an exclusive report from journalist Jemima Kelly from Reuters on the surprise move Corda’s code will be contributed on Nov. 30 to the Hyperledger project and the news comes soon after reports were leaked through the Swedish media that R3 was going through internal strife as some of the American members of the group were taking out patents on Blockchain technology and different camps were being formed. […]

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