The big news in the world of Ethereum yesterday? The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) added several major corporations – including Mastercard and Cisco.
While beginner Ethereum enthusiasts celebrated Ether’s rise back above $200 USD, the most loyal fans enjoyed these EEA additions that signal a greater likelihood that Ethereum and blockchain will inevitably become the mainstream.
What is the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance?
The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance is a group of global corporations committed to integrating the Ethereum blockchain and smart contract technology into its enterprise business applications.
The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance connects Fortune 500 enterprises, startups, academics, and technology vendors with Ethereum subject matter experts. Together, we will learn from and build upon the only smart contract supporting blockchain currently running in real-world production – Ethereum – to define enterprise-grade software capable of handling the most complex, highly demanding applications at the speed of business. – EEA, official website
The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance is fairly new – but then again, so is almost everything related to blockchain technology. The EEA was established in February 2017 with an initial group of 30 members. That initial group included a mixture of software and banking giants, including Microsoft, Goldman-Sachs, and Santander.
What is the purpose of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance?
The EEA is led by a rotating board of directors. This gives each member of the Alliance to have an opportunity to influence the organization’s vision, objectives, and initiatives.
The organization lists its vision and mission prominently on its website:
- Be an open source standard, not a product
- Address enterprise deployment requirements
- Evolve in tandem with advances in public Ethereum
- Leverage existing standards
- A clear roadmap for enterprise features and requirements
- Robust governance model and accountability, clarity around IP and licensing models for open source technology
- Resources for businesses to learn about Ethereum and leverage this groundbreaking technology to address specific industry use cases
Considering that blockchain has been referred to as “the next Internet,” it is impressive that an organized coalition is already on the ground attempting to carve out the future of Ethereum. After all, when the EEA was founded in February 2017, the price of Ethereum was hovering at just over $10 USD.
The Pros and Cons of the EEA
One of the most fundamental concepts behind blockchain is “decentralization.” For those who are new to the world of blockchain and Ethereum, decentralization means that no single organization or financial institution has control over the project.
The benefit of decentralization is that it makes fraudulent behavior very difficult. The world of blockchain seeks to be a transparent one, as it relies upon along a public ledger to record transactions.
Many blockchain supporters want to reject central authority figures that may corrupt or damage the integrity of the system. From a cultural level, many blockchain, Bitcoin, and cryptocurrency fans view both banking and government organizations with a suspicious eye.
Given that many of the corporations in the EEA either have close ties to the government or are financial institutions themselves, it makes sense that some members of the general public may not appreciate this formal involvement.
That being said, there are both pros and cons to the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance.
Benefits of the EEA
- An influx of resources – both financial and human capital – to promote the development and expansion of Ethereum and blockchain technology as a whole
- More mainstream adoption and application of blockchain technology in both the private and public sector (inarguably better for long-term advancement of the technology as a whole)
- Consensus on fundamental best practices, open source standards, and governance agreements that will provide consistency as Ethereum and blockchain moves forward
Risks of the EEA
- Possible conflict and dispute between incoming EEA leaders and the early blockchain pioneers who may not share the same vision for values
- Decisions may be made with shareholders and board members in mind rather than considering the overall good of the technology
- Blockchain applications by financial, medical, and legal institutions may lead to additional government scrutiny and unwanted political action
What will be the legacy of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance?
Only time will tell. As stated early, the alliance is only several months old at the time this article was written. Its membership numbers have already grown rapidly, and with time, we can expect its influence and impact will only continue to grow as well.
Ethereum lovers, both those inside and outside of the banking and finance industries, must actively work together to make sure this relationship is a harmonious and productive venture.