Blockchain Rivals Seek Out Banking Customers via Foreign Opportunities

C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • ConsenSys is partnering with the Chinese government’s blockchain network to integrate its technology across a nationwide system to spur blockchain use, focused on the financial sector.
  • Oracle has gained an edge in the competitive blockchain platforms space by integrating a new blockchain data format into its flagship relational database offering.

This quarter’s issue of GlobalData’s “Blockchain Watch highlights a set of aggressive moves between blockchain competitors, including the establishment of global partnerships (which involve foreign government entities) as well as the development of deeper integration between blockchain and traditional operational systems, further adoption of Ethereum, and the formation of partnerships that highlight unique use cases.

The slow-moving blockchain market sector has prompted technology providers to take bold steps to increase their brand awareness and prominence in the highly competitive space, which is currently dominated by IBM, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and SAP, among others.

Following a strategic blockchain acquisition last year, blockchain solutions provider ConsenSys’ established a partnership to integrate its technology with the Chinese government’s national blockchain network to help China’s race in the blockchain economy. ConsenSys announced plans to make the ConsenSys Quorum open-source software technology available on China’s Blockchain Services Network (BSN).  BSN is the country’s nationwide blockchain project, and the partnership aims to accelerate blockchain adoption among China’s government bodies and enterprises.  

ConsenSys is making good on its 2020 acquisition of Ethereum-based Quorum from JPMorgan Chase & Co., in which the software company was tasked with creating solutions to support enterprise-grade blockchain networks, applications, and developer tools. The financial sector represents a prominent industry most likely to benefit from blockchain by replacing traditional commerce methods with a new digital ledger-based way of conducting business.  Specifically, ConsenSys GoQuorum will eventually be interoperable with technologies on the BSN, which will also include ConsenSys’ blockchain apps on the BSN marketplace.

The fact that Quorum is already used by over 300 banks to operate the Interbank Information Network payments system adds legitimacy to ConsenSys and its growing presence among major blockchain projects globally. Nevertheless, the company faces stiff competition in its quest to attract global banking and government customers, including IBM, which recently partnered with R3 to extend its blockchain services in the banking and financial services sector where R3 is squarely focused (via Corda Enterprise).  A company with IBM’s comprehensive technology might shores up its ability to cater to large financial and other sectors’ mission-critical needs through enterprise-grade security, management, and automation solutions.  Additional competitive threats include Microsoft and AWS, among others, which are all vying for the lucrative banking industry.

Also highlighted in the Blockchain Watch newsletter, Oracle announced a new blockchain data format, now supported on Oracle databases in an effort to facilitate blockchain app development/deployment. The new specialized blockchain table type ensures a highly tamper-resistant persistence option directly in the Oracle database.  Oracle Blockchain Platform includes privacy features when deploying and running smart contracts, making it a natural fit for providing Oracle’s Autonomous Data Warehouse customers with better insight into blockchain transactions, current state data for analytics, and integration with Oracle’s databases.  Oracle’s blockchain portfolio is differentiated through its ability to leverage Oracle Cloud Integration (OCI), as well as integration and implementation with Blockchain App Builder and APEX, and now, integration with Oracle databases.  This new blockchain data format democratizes machine learning via the Oracle Database 21c release, helping to advance the adoption of blockchain app development among its enterprise customers.

Because of Oracle’s dominance in the enterprise database market segment, attaching new blockchain data tables to this core service represents a highly competitive threat among rival blockchain platform providers. Oracle’s ability to leverage its mature relational database strengths takes the concept of blockchain databases a step further through enterprise-grade technology.  The move is certain to give pause to those within its broad customer base who may have been considering alternative blockchain services.

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