Blockchain App Store Launched by IBM, Barclays, Citi

One can now find standardized, specific blockchain apps on a permissioned blockchain platform for the financial sector. Meet LedgerConnect, a dedicated financial blockchain-specific app store launched by the enterprise software leader International Business Corp. (IBM) in partnership with Barclays PLC (BCS) and Citigroup Inc. (C) and CLS, a foreign exchange market infrastructure firm.

Amid the growing infrastructure of both public and private blockchains, the increasing number of blockchain-based applications provides the necessary support in the development of the distributed ledger technology (DLT) ecosystem. (See also: Public, Private, Permissioned Blockchains Compared.)

While more and more banks and financial institutions are adapting to blockchain technology, there appears a need for utilizing it across a larger range of business activities. They may include basic data storage processes like know your customer (KYC) requirements to complex tasks like trade settlement. A large number of blockchain startups and technology companies are offering various DLT products, and a few major banks are working on developing their own. It is leading to a situation where multiple blockchains exist in their own silos with each having its own distinct offerings, but many fail to offer compatibility with other systems. 

The Need for Interoperability

To draw a parallel, compare it with mobile phones of the early 2000 era, where each manufacturer would offer its own set of features and applications on their phones. In came the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, platforms that allowed developers to build compatible apps that could be installed on the respective phone’s operating systems allowing for seamless utility and connectivity.

LedgerConnect is emerging as a similar platform—call it a blockchain app store, where various financial institutions will be allowed to access various DLT-based services for their needs and business process. It will act like the central hub to fill up the connectivity and compatibility void that exists in the present-day adoption of the blockchain technology by the financial industry. Hosted on a single, permissioned blockchain network and expected to act as a one-stop shop for the financial sector’s blockchain needs, LedgerConnect will facilitate the creation, hosting and usage of the various blockchain applications in a standard format targeting the financial industry. While all the currently hosted apps are Hyperledger-based, LedgerConnect founders are open to other enterprise blockchain solutions joining the app store.

"Having a secure network and proven infrastructure allows an app store kind of model, where banks can identify applications from certified fintech and software providers and deploy these apps over a seamless blockchain network," said Keith Bear, IBM's vice president for financial markets, to CoinDesk.

The DLT platform is not widely available yet, but IBM said it could be following completion of a successful proof of concept, regulatory approvals and sufficient market demand, reports CNBC.

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