IBM and CLS test blockchain app store for financial institutions

IBM and foreign exchange settlement firm CLS have launched LedgerConnect, a proof of concept app store that will give banks easier access to blockchain-based applications

  • By Barclay Ballard | Monday, July 30th, 2018

With LedgerConnect, fintech companies and banks won't have to waste resources building their own distributed ledger networks and can instead focus on their core business goals

On July 30, IBM and foreign exchange service settlement provider CLS announced they had begun testing a digital platform that will enable finance firms to access blockchain-based applications. It is not clear when the proof of concept (PoC) for LedgerConnect will be formally launched, but nine financial institutions have already agreed to test the platform, including Barclays and Citigroup.

Although there has been much talk about the potential uses of distributed ledger technology (DLT) – the most famous example of which is blockchain – the number of commercial applications remains limited. It is hoped LedgerConnect will create a network similar to consumer-facing app stores, allowing financial organisations to find and implement DLT-based programs more easily. The software vendors committed to the PoC include OpenRisk, Mphasis, Baton Systems and IBM.

It is hoped LedgerConnect will create a network similar to consumer-facing app stores, allowing financial organisations to find and implement DLT-based programs more easily

“LedgerConnect is part of CLS’ 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,” explained Alan Marquard, Chief Strategy and Development Officer at CLS. “We expect LedgerConnect to deliver enhanced efficiencies and economies of scale over single-purpose distributed ledger networks.”

As well as making it easier for banks to find the applications they need, the platform will also help create shared security and technical standards that should make the development and deployment of applications more efficient. With LedgerConnect, fintech companies and banks won’t have to waste resources building their own ledger networks and can instead focus on their core business goals.

Among a host of potential applications, financial institutions could use blockchain to develop Know Your Customer processes and derivatives post-trade processing. If the LedgerConnect PoC is deemed a success, IBM and CLS have confirmed the platform will receive a wider industry launch.