As part of the agreement, Microsoft Azure will be the preferred cloud services provider for the R3 Lab and Research Center, which serves more than 40 banks that make up the consortium.
As stated in a joint press release, Microsoft will provide cloud-based tools, infrastructure and services for R3 lab locations worldwide, as well as dedicated project managers, lab assistants, technical architects and support services. R3’s international labs will foster faster experimentation, offer technical agility and accelerate learning as the financial services sector heads toward validated and certified distributed ledger technology implementations.
In an interview with Bloomberg, R3 CEO David Rutter said the first commercial deployments of the blockchain could go live in about a year, adding that it’s “three to five years until significant commercial adoption.”
Marley Gray, Microsoft’s director of technology strategy, told Bloomberg that “the R3 partnership will help us to see what technology actually works, what combination actually works. It actually increases our focus here at our highest levels. We see it as a tremendous investment for Microsoft.”
Gray said the company is dedicating a five-member team to the project, but “it could scale up to 50.” R3, which has 52 employees and continues to hire lab and research staff, will “have half our staff touch this project at one point or another,” said Rutter.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Johnson, Microsoft’s executive VP of business development, said the goal for the company is not just to experiment, but also to become a central figure in the industry. “We’d like to be the cloud infrastructure under all of them,” she said.
R3 logo – Via a previous company press release
Microsoft building photo – Public domain image by Derrick Coetzee