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Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft among institutional players partnering on new blockchain network

Abstract illustration of blockchain
An abstract illustration of a blockchain.
Andriy Onufriyenko

A suite of legacy finance and tech firms, including Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, and Microsoft, have committed to join a new blockchain system, the Canton Network.

Digital Asset, a blockchain startup backed by some of the largest institutional finance firms and once led by former JPMorgan executive Blythe Masters, is behind the Canton Network’s implementation, which is built with the firm’s smart-contract language, Daml.

“For the first time, financial institutions can realize the full benefits of a global blockchain network while operating within the regulatory guardrails,” Yuval Rooz, cofounder and CEO of Digital Asset, said in a statement.

Other participants in the Canton Network include BNP Paribas, Deutsche Börse Group, Cboe, Moody’s, and even Paxos, a firm that makes stablecoins for crypto firms like Binance as well as PayPal. Firms will begin testing the new blockchain beginning in July, according to the statement.

Many of the firms cited in Digital Asset’s announcement have already been experimenting with blockchain technology for years, attracted to the possibility of the promised efficiencies of, for example, the tokenization of traditional financial assets, like stocks or bonds, which remove the middlemen who currently audit financial products acquired from other institutions.

So far, these experiments have usually happened within a firm, with banks and other financial giants creating their own proprietary blockchains. (JPMorgan, for example, has created the blockchain division Onyx.) The promise of Canton Network is that, according to the statement, it’s a “network of networks.” In other words, it can help connect separate blockchains together and allow firms to retain control of their own blockchain networks.

“By leveraging new blockchain technologies, we can potentially unlock new opportunities for market participants,” Cathy Clay, an executive vice president of Cboe Global Markets, said in a statement. “Efforts like the Canton Network will help our industry further explore this frontier.”

The emergence of the Canton Network is further evidence that, despite the ongoing Crypto Winter and the crypto’s crisis of reputation post the fall of FTX, large legacy players are still interested in the promise of—and actively investing in—blockchain technology.

Publicly traded firms like PayPal and Robinhood have recently announced upgrades to their crypto services, Fidelity has opened up crypto trading on its platform to general consumers, and firms like Franklin Templeton have continued to invest in blockchain products, even Web3 gaming studios.

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