Icing on the Cake: R3 Launches Version 1.0 of Corda Distributed Ledger


Sounds of celebration twice interrupted R3 chief architect Richard Gendal Brown as he tried to relay the details behind the launch of the newest version of his company’s Corda distributed ledger platform.

A major milestone for the startup, Corda version 1.0 follows two years of work, code contributions from over half the consortium’s 100 members and more than $100 million in capital raised. Given the sheer effort involved, it’s no wonder Brown’s colleagues in London were left fighting for a piece of what could end up being a historic strawberry-cream cake meant to mark the occasion.

Originally unveiled in 2016 as a cheaper, simpler way for global financial institutions to conduct a wide variety of transactions, Corda has since evolved to reimagine the way businesses reach agreements. But of note in the new release is its ability to allow R3’s members, partners and open-source enthusiasts to build applications without having to worry about changes to the code undermining their progress.

Brown told CoinDesk:

“It will be much easier from one version to the next, and that gives developers the confidence to invest more heavily now, and the platform will still work for them as they go into production.”

R3 now guarantees three core APIs will be compatible with older versions of the software, a feature that extends to tools for building decentralized applications and client interfaces for those apps, Brown said.

Though the core platform will remain unchanged, R3’s developers will continue to experiment and improve the code. In addition to enhanced privacy, including full support for confidential identities, the souped-up release also includes a redesigned network map service for easier scaling.

“It’s absolutely a critical milestone toward enabling our large and rapidly growing community of developers to get their solution live,” said Brown.

But while Corda may sound like many other blockchain iterations, the platform was always intended to be a little bit different, allowing users to control what information they shared with what other users.

And these privacy mechanisms have proved appealing to banks, regulators and tech companies.

Even before today’s release, Corda is already being widely used in open-source projects and enterprise users. Most recently, a major U.K. financial regulator; a group of 11 banks including BNP Paribas, HSBC, ING and Mizuho; and tech giant Hewlett Packard have begun building applications on the Corda.

Along the way, all these various projects have provided feedback to the platform. But earlier this summer, the frequency of changes began to diminish, said Brown.

It was this sense of stability that served as the signal to the company that it was ready to commit to “freezing” the core APIs, he explained.

As his colleagues celebrated next door, Brown concluded:

“We got to the point where the abstraction, the core design kind of just crystallized into a thing that seems to be working well for a lot of other people.”

Strawberry cake image via Shutterstock

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