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Enterprise Ethereum Alliance: Big Business Meets the Blockchain

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Several business heavyweights have joined forces to create new computing systems based on the Ethereum platform. Around 30 companies are participating in the creation of what they are calling the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, focused on utilizing the new potential blockchain technology allows, announced February 28.

The official announcement has seen a spike in the price of ether, with details first emerging of an ‘Enterprise Ethereum’ in early January.

The official launch occurred at a summit in New York, where JP Morgan and Banco Santander demonstrated a pilot of a ‘spot trade’ on the foreign exchange market using an adapted Ethereum blockchain as a settlement method. Microsoft will also utilize the Alliance to knuckle down on its Blockchain-as-a-Service, Azure. Also, Ethereum was the first blockchain to be supported by Azure.

The Alliance aims to develop a permissioned version of Ethereum, which can be deployed for specific purposes, and only accessible by certain participants. The companies behind the alliance want to achieve this by creating a standard, open-source version of Ethereum that would allow effortless specialization into any industry.

For example, Quorum is a version of Ethereum which J.P. Morgan developed. The bank has been testing Quorum by moving money between different branches around the world and will be taken under EEA’s wing, to become a part of the newly-developed Ethereum.

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At the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance launch event, Quorum, in conjunction with Chronicled’s IoT solution, was demonstrated to link any physical asset, in this case, a gold bar, and the blockchain.

Other participants hope that these private blockchains will be able to link back to public Ethereum blockchains, “creating a standard for information storage and movement around the world.”

“Even if you create private networks, if you can anchor them to public networks, you get an extremely strong set of links together,” Mr. Batlin, of BNY Mellon, said. “"Each chain strengthens the other at an exponential level."

With IBM having sponsored many blockchain projects, as well as initiatives such as R3 and Chain looking to break into the blockchain space as well, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance is just another alternative for businesses looking to integrate blockchain technology in everyday situations.

While Bitcoin still maintains higher brand recognition and a first-mover advantage, Ethereum is quickly becoming the de facto standard when it comes to using a cryptocurrency outside of transferring money quickly, and as a store of value. Ethereum has a very developer-friendly ecosystem, making it the favorite of many young startups.

“In every industry that we come across, Ethereum is usually the first platform that people go to,” said Marley Gray, the principal blockchain architect at Microsoft.

In response to such a strong affirmation of the technology by a multitude of companies, ether’s price has skyrocketed over the last couple days. The market is trading at $17.10 at the time of writing on the Kraken exchange, the highest since July 2016.