R3 is an enterprise blockchain software firm being developed by a broad ecosystem of more than 200 members and partners across multiple industries from both the private and public sectors. Corda is an open source blockchain platform, and Corda Enterprise is a commercial version of Corda blockchain platform for enterprise usage with Corda support.

The Corda platform was developed in close collaboration with a vast network of financial institutions, trade regulators, trade associations, professional services firms, and technology companies to leverage the power of blockchain to address specific business challenges. Corda was designed to meet the highest standards of one of the most complex and highly regulated industries in the world, which is the financial sector.

However, its blockchain services can be applied to other areas of business with some proper. Corda allows you to build interoperable blockchain networks that transact in strict privacy from other members.

Corda’s smart contract technology (CorDapps) allows businesses to transact directly with industry-leading security features. I believe that Corda improves on the traditional custodial model that legacy financial services organizations have of acting as intermediary.

 For example, it defines a standard approach and format for expressing financial assets and liabilities. The following are the main benefits that the enterprise market utilizes R3 Corda for:

  • Corda smart contracts can be written in Java and other JVM languages and can accelerate the development process for enterprises with in-house expertise.
  • Corda has a flow framework to manage communication and negotiation between network participants. This network of participants is communicating via a direct peer-to-peer protocol where each node runs the Corda software as well as Corda applications known as CorDapps.
  • Corda has a unique “notary” infrastructure to validate uniqueness and sequencing of transactions without global broadcast to all network participants.
  • Corda enables the rapid development and deployment of distributed apps called CorDapps. CorDapps take the structure of a set of JAR files containing class definitions written in Java and /or Kotlin.
  • Corda was specifically designed to maintain a balance of trade-offs for business problems and domain concerns around the financial sector such as scalability and security.
  • Corda has a pluggable consensus which allows blockchain developers to address trade-offs such as performance, scalability, security, and privacy.

The financial sector is one of the most regulated industries not only in the United States but also around the world. Handling customer data while dealing with privacy and compliance concerns is a burdensome task for these organizations.

 R3 Corda handles these challenges with trade-offs that regulated financial institutions may find favorable. These trade-offs include the following:

  • Scalability
  • Security
  • Privacy
  • Confidentiality
  • Complexity
  • Performance
  • Compliance

Handling these trade-offs is exactly what R3 Corda was developed to address and does well through its structure of CorDapps.

Corda is a strictly engineered shared ledger fabric network for financial services use cases that can be deployed within existing legal frameworks and that relies on proven technologies that the financial sector depends on. R3 Corda has a strict and well-defined philosophy that can be broken down into three categories according to the Corda white paper (https://docs.corda.net/_static/corda-introductory-whitepaper.pdf).

The three categories are.

  • Engineering for the requirements of institutions
  • A focus on nonfunctional requirements
  • Extensibility

There are essentially two direct approaches to deploying a blockchain network with R3 Corda.

  • Corda is the open source blockchain platform, enabling businesses to transact directly and in strict privacy, reducing transaction and record-keeping costs and streamlining business operations.
  • Corda Enterprise is an enterprise ready commercial distribution of Corda specifically optimized to meet the demands of enterprises.

As shown in Figure 1, the stack of Corda is actually quite simple. Corda has two versions: an enterprise or open source version with blockchain network services and on top of the stack is the CorDapp.

Figure 1 Corda Stack Structure 

From the Figure above we can see Corda has two versions an enterprise or open source version with blockchain network services and on top of the stack is the CorDapp.

R3 Corda certainly has a niche in the financial and insurance sectors but is expanding its use cases, for example, to other sectors. Currently, Corda would not be a good fit for a logistics company or a government services organization because of the overhead it would have compared to other blockchains such as Hyperledger.