U.K. bank Barclays and London-based startup Clearmatics are inviting coders to come up with ways to connect ethereum with made-for-enterprise blockchains such as Hyperledger Fabric.
The interoperability challenge is being hosted by Clearmatics and will use a template involving its open-source interoperability protocol, Ion. The hackathon will take place at the Barclays Rise fintech hub in London on February 5 and 6.
The importance of addressing interoperability between major enterprise blockchain platforms is reflected by the big names involved: a panel of judges will feature representatives from megabanks Barclays, UBS, HSBC and Santander. (The prizes for the teams that come up with the most impressive solutions have not yet been announced.)
The consulting giant EY will be observing the event and will produce a report based on the findings (a role played by Deloitte in the last Barclays DerivHack.)
In an exclusive interview with CoinDesk, Dr. Lee Braine of Barclays’ chief technology office said:
“We would like to gain a greater understanding of the challenges and potential solutions for interoperability between different distributed ledgers. Such interoperability can be complex and this hackathon will permit the industry to experiment with the Ion protocol and also provide feedback to the open source project.”
Stepping back, the enterprise blockchain world has been reduced to about four prominent industry platforms. There are ethereum variants like Quorum, developed by JPMorgan; the Hyperledger family of protocols; R3’s Corda; and the Digital Asset platform.
Unless they can be made to talk to each other, these new systems risk recreating the insular silos they were supposed to replace, undermining the business case for blockchain as an efficiency booster and lubricator of trade.