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IBM and CLS to work on blockchain app store

IBM and foreign exchange settlement provider CLS are using their complimentary expertise to create an app store for finance firms using distributed ledger technology

IBM is working with foreign exchange settlement company CLS to create an ecosystem on a distributed ledger where finance firms can access shared apps and services.

LedgerConnect, as the platform under proof of concept is known, will be built using distributed ledger technology such as blockchain.

It will enable companies across the financial services industry – including banks, trading firms, fintechs and software suppliers – to offer and consume shared apps and services, and will be like an app store for large enterprises with similar needs.

Nine financial services firms are already involved, including Barclays and Citi. Meanwhile, software suppliers – including Baton Systems, Calypso, Copp Clark, IBM, MPhasis, and OpenRisk – are involved in the proof of concept.

The shared nature of the platform will encourage take up by firms that are often put off from creating a distributed leger infrastructure by the cost and time taken. LedgerConnect aims to provide a single shared network on which multiple services can be deployed and consumed.

Alan Marquard, chief strategy and development officer at CLS, said: “LedgerConnect is part of CLS’s strategy to explore how we can provide safe and robust solutions that create efficiencies and reduce risk for a diverse range of firms operating in the financial markets. We expect LedgerConnect to deliver enhanced efficiencies and economies of scale over single-purpose distributed ledger networks.”

The joint development between a technology giant and a firm embedded in the finance sector should encourage participation. IBM brings the technology expertise while CLS has the trusted relationships with large financial services organisations.

Financial services firm Robert Half said recently that most financial services business leaders are already convinced about blockchain’s position in the sector.

“Overall, 85% of financial services executives believe blockchain will have made a genuine impact on the financial services industry by 2022,” said a report from Robert Half. “Those that have implemented blockchain already report experiencing benefits, including empowered users (54%), increased transparency (54%) and faster transactions (42%).”

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