If you’ve been following Ethereum closely, you might’ve heard of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA). If you’re like me, you probably encountered the name in a few articles and YouTube videos, but never researched what the organization does. Over the past few days, I finally found some time to look into the EEA. Here’s what I found.
This is how the EEA describes itself, as seen on its website:
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.
So the EEA wants to help real world organizations build software based on and around the Ethereum blockchain. That’s a noble goal, one that anyone holding Ethereum will support. But this is a high level description, something that a salesperson starts their sales pitches with. We’re interested in the details.
The EEA is a nonprofit organization formed in March 2017. At its inception, the EEA had 116 members consisting of blockchain start-ups, research groups, Fortune 500 companies, and large financial institutions. Today, the EEA’s members include such big names as Microsoft, J.P. Morgan, Deloitte, the Toyoto Research Institute, and the National Bank of Canada.
Why are all these corporations coming together behind Ethereum?
What makes Ethereum so special? The answer lies in the Ethereum blockchain’s ability to support both ledger and smart contract operations (the Bitcoin blockchain only supports ledger operations). Smart contracts make the Ethereum blockchain platform much more useful and corporations see the potential.
What is “Public Ethereum”?
The Ethereum currency we all know, love, and trade, exists in a public blockchain created and built by the public Ethereum software, the software being run on mining computers everywhere. Let’s call this public blockchain and software combination, public Ethereum. Anyone can go to ethereum.org to download the software and interact with the public blockchain. Currently, the main purpose of public Ethereum is to keep the Ethereum currency alive and trading.
“Private Ethereum” and the EEA
Corporations want to use Ethereum technology as well. However, they aren’t interested in public Ethereum and would prefer to have their own private blockchain, maintained by a private network of computers. Since they’re using Ethereum in private, they figured they could use the public Ethereum software and add more features onto it. This is where the EEA comes in.
The EEA wants to create open-source standards so that corporations, in the process of creating their own Ethereum implementations, do not end up creating a fragmented ecosystem. Ideally, these official standards can ensure that applications built on Ethereum-derived platforms will run on all Ethereum platforms.
In other words, if you wrote a program that’ll run on public Ethereum through smart contracts, you can take the same program and run it on, say Quorum, the Ethereum-derived blockchain platform in development by JP Morgan.
Who is behind the EEA?
The EEA has a governing board. The board consists of employees of different EEA member companies such as the Bank of New York, Microsoft, JP Morgan, and the University of Illinois. The board members hold positions such as “Principle Engineer”, “CEO”, and “Executive Director” within their own companies.
Why is the EEA important to you as a trader?
The EEA legitimizes Ethereum technology. If you had any qualms with Ethereum’s smart contract technology and the hype surrounding it, remember that the EEA exists and companies like Microsoft and JP Morgan support it.
It’s a solid signal that Ethereum is not a glass building and it’s fundamentals are sound. Happy investing.