NTT Data Announces Launch of New Blockchain Consortium

Japanese IT services giant NTT Data has announced the launch of a new blockchain consortium, set up to develop use cases for distributed ledger technology.

According to a statement by the company, the new consortium comprises 13 founding members, drawn from across the logistics, financial and trade sectors.

The launch, scheduled for August 30, will see the diverse collective of members begin joint efforts on exploring new applications of the technology, which could lead to significant efficiency savings throughout commercial industries.

The consortium is initially scheduled to work until the spring, although there is little indication at the moment as to the specific applications under consideration.

The move follows on from the success of earlier consortia in the blockchain space, including Hyperledger and R3, which have released Fabric and Corda protocols for blockchain development, respectively.

The consortium approach to blockchain development enables entire industries to pool expertise, in the spirit of “coopetition,” a hallmark of early research and development efforts in this sector so far.

Among the members of the new consortium are some of Japan’s most notable companies, including Mizuho Financial Group, Toyota Tsusho, Nippon Express, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, Kawasaki Kisen Corporation, Sojitz Corporation and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi.

The consortium will be led by the team from NTT Data, which has already been responsible for developing several pilot blockchain systems.

The group has already devised blockchain trials for letters of credit, working with several leading banks in the process, while striking up arrangements with insurance companies to explore potential use cases.

It comes at a time of growing enthusiasm for blockchain development in Japan, with companies across a range of sectors looking for opportunities to devise proofs-of-concept models.

International transactions have been recently spotlighted by some of Japan’s leading financial institutions, following successful tests on initial protocols, while other projects remain in the advanced stages of development.

With the NTT Data consortium set to examine a range of potential use cases, it may not be too long before other industries can realize the practical benefits of applying distributed ledger technology in their businesses.