Accenture develops ‘game-changing’ solution to blockchain interoperability

Management consulting and professional services firm Accenture has developed a ‘game-changing’ solution that allows communication between multiple blockchain platforms.

According to the group, a prototype has shown it possible for various platforms, such as Bitcoin, Hyperledger Fabric, R3 Corda and Quorum, to be securely integrated with one another.

That could solve long-held interoperability problems between a growing number of platforms, regarded as a “critical challenge” to the broad adoption and investment in blockchain technology, with companies concerned about picking the ‘wrong’ system.  

Accenture has been quick to file two patents in relation to the technology preceding the announcement.

“This is a game-changer that can help accelerate adoption of blockchain technology,” said David Treat, managing director and global blockchain lead at Accenture.

For distributed ledger technologies (DLT) to properly integrate, they must preserve the ability to audit, trace and verify data elements with complete security and integrity. According to Accenture, it has solved this with an interoperability node that sits between platforms and provides the lines of communication.

This node included embedded business logic that contains pre-agreed business standards, policies and guidelines by which various DLT platforms have agreed to work.

Integration is achieved by the transfer of a tokenised assets on two platforms, or “by allowing mapping of data to different blocks that exist between two different platforms at the same time, with reference data kept in constant sync”.

A key challenge, said Treat, was in developing the ability to integrate without introducing “operational messaging” DLT platforms, which would have undermined the principals and benefits of blockchain technology.

According to the group, trials with clients are already yielding “new opportunities” to bring ecosystems together, mitigating concerns over picking the right platform or even having to re-build if a partner uses something different.

“Business is conducted across multiple ecosystems and, in many instances, we’re seeing these ecosystems align to ‘fit-for-purpose’ platforms,” said Emmanuel Viale, managing director, Accenture Labs.

“But for blockchain to achieve its full potential these different platforms must interact seamlessly with each other, and our technology solutions show that this is possible — while still delivering the security and transparency benefits that blockchain offers.

“This is a crucial step to ensure that growth and innovation continue with this dynamic technology.”   

On the development, the CTO of blockchain technology company R3, Richard Gendal Brown, said, “We have said right from the beginning that interoperability is key to avoiding the trapped assets and silos of the past.

The successful testing of these technology solutions is a significant step forward for blockchain development and validates our approach,” he added.


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