Business 1 June 2018

Erik Gibbs

Forex settlement provider CLS injects $5M investment to R3

The R3 consortium, the group behind the Corda blockchain project, already has the backing of some heavy hitters. In a previous funding round that saw companies such as Bank of America, HSBC, Merrill Lynch and SBI Group contribute part of the $107 million raised, R3 was already well on its way to deliver blockchain solutions to enterprises. Now, R3 has added an extra $5 million to its funding, coming by way of CLS, a U.S. forex (foreign exchange) settlement provider.

Through the investment, CLS has gained a seat at the consortium’s board of directors. CLS views its entrance into R3 as a way to work with the other members to build “transformative blockchain-based solutions” for the forex industry. In a statement, CLS said it has a particular interest in Corda, the consortium’s enterprise-directed blockchain platform.

David Rutter, R3 CEO, is looking forward to the new partnership, explaining, “CLS is critically important to the functioning of one of the most important markets in the world. It is absolutely right that major infrastructure players like this look to technologies such as blockchain to continue making their products and services faster, easier, safer and more cost-effective for the end user.”

Corda is an open-source blockchain project with a singular enterprise focus. It allows for the construction of interoperable blockchain networks that can transact in complete privacy. According to its website, “Corda creates more efficient markets and reduces transaction, processing and reporting costs. The outcome is a frictionless business environment with simplified processes and systems. Corda’s assurance of record immutability and provenance creates an operating environment with less risk.”

CLS, which was formerly called Continuous Linked Settlement, provides settlement services for its members in the forex market. It operates a payment versus payment settlement service that mitigates the risks of the transactions of its settlement members and the members’ clients. It launched in 2002 and, by 2017, was handling a little more than 50% of the global forex settlement transactions. It is able to settle 18 currencies, has 66 settlement members and over 24,000 third-party clients.

CLS isn’t limiting itself just to the partnership with R3. It has also created alliances with IBM and Hyperledger Fabric for its CLSNet. That arrangement will help it add new currencies to its portfolio, while the agreement with R3 allows it to concentrate on work on the main CLS platform.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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