Corporate support for the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) is growing after 86 firms including State Street, Toyota, Merck, ING, Broadridge and Rabobank joined the collective that is seeking to use blockchain technology to run smart contracts at Fortune 500 companies.
Ethereum is an open-source, public, blockchain that anyone can use as a decentralized ledger. It has its own cryptocurrency called ether on the front-end, which is similar to Bitcoin, but the underlying Ethereum network is what is attracting companies' interest.
While the original Bitcoin blockchain has tended to be used for consumer payment transactions, the adoption of Ethereum blockchain technology by the corporate world means it could eventually be bigger than its early stage rival.
Ethereum technology is specifically intended to support smart contract applications that can automate complex physical and financial supply chain procedures and compliance processes involving multiple parties. It has numerous potential internal end uses such as reconciliation.
A smart contract on the Ethereum network is merely a way for people to make agreements and automate enforcement, all on a distributed network of computers. The contract is essentially an operating procedure that aids efficient management.
John Hancock Financial, for example, is experimenting with a tailored version of Ethereum to keep track of compliance with know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) regulations in its wealth management unit.
Meanwhile, European aircraft maker Airbus is testing to see if its supply chain management can be shifted to a blockchain that relies on Ethereum.