First US state-level regulator joins R3 blockchain group

The R3 initiative has acquired its first US state-level regulator since its formation in 2014.
By Paul Walsh
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) has become the first US state-level regulator to join the blockchain working group R3.

The Illinois regulator will collaborate with around 80 other financial institutions that currently make up R3.

As part of R3, IDFPR will now contribute to the group’s development of Corda, an open source distributed ledger platform targeting the recording, managing and synchronising of financial agreements.

The move is the latest blockchain development for the state of Illinois following the launching of the Illinois Blockchain Initiative in November 2016, designed to explore the opportunities blockchain can present.

“As Illinois’ financial regulator, we are committed to embracing the potential that distributed ledger technologies bring to our financial institutions,” said Bryan Schneider, secretary at the IDFPR.

R3 was founded in 2014 by nine banks including Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and others with the goal of applying blockchain technology to commercial markets.

“Regulators that foster and encourage adoption of innovative financial technology in its early stages play a crucial role in creating a safer, more efficient financial system for all participants,” said David Rutter, CEO of R3.

“We have actively engaged with regulators, trade associations and government entities across the world since R3’s inception, and look forward to working with the state of Illinois to explore how distributed ledger technology can benefit banks and other businesses in the state.”

The group underwent a turbulent period towards the end of 2016 with Santander and founding member Goldman Sachs confirming their departures from the venture.

Morgan Stanley also left the group according to reports from the Wall Street Journal.