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Revamped Foundation Pushes Open-Source Collaboration in Finance

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What do the cloud, big data and blockchain have in common? They all were aided in development through open-source or open-innovation  that is, collaborative software development.

Open-source technology sharing isn’t new, but different industries have adopted its attributes faster than others. The technology industry, especially Silicon Valley, was the first to use the internet for open-source technology and share it with others to help and improve the software and other platforms, products and utilities through collaborative efforts.

For the financial services industry, the Symphony Software Foundation, newly renamed the Fintech Open Source Foundation, serves that purpose, and Tuesday, along with the name change, it announced several new members, including UBS, GitHub, Red Hat, Thomson Reuters and NodeSource, as well as an expanded charter, according to the nonprofit organization.

“In the era of fintech platforms and decentralization, it’s time for this industry to embrace the strategic principles of open collaboration that have driven the most exciting innovations of the last decade,” said Gabriele Columbro, executive director of FINOS, in a statement.

The purpose of the foundation is to bring together the executive level with the developer and end user level, Columbro said. In addition, the organization believes that open-source technology can aid in common standards across the industry, thus helping firms be better positioned to capture growth opportunities.

FINOS is made up of 30 corporate members, including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Citadel, Deutsche Bank and BNY Mellon. Members allocate resources to the foundation and provide contributions that aid in development of innovations that can help all the members. For example, Deutsche Bank contributed more than 150,000 lines from its Autobahn banking software platform, while BNY Mellon open sourced its very first project, CodeKatas.

JP Morgan, a platinum member of the foundation, launched a new interbank payments platform last October. Along with Royal Bank of Canada and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., the bank’s Interbank Information Network, built on the Quorum blockchain, hopes to minimize friction in the payments process by reducing the number of steps.

New member Red Hat is an important addition as it brings a tech firm into the fold, and one that was an original years ago in adopting open source collaboration with other tech companies, says Columbro.

It is donating its Red Hat OpenShift as an underlying technology of the FINOS Open Developer Platform. Chris Wright, Red Hat’s vice president and chief technology officer, said that “as open source use has increased in banking technology, it is encouraging to see leading finance and technology companies come together to create open communities to help shape the next generation of financial institutions.”

FINOS, which will continue to focus on collaboration around items such as standard data formats, interoperability and common platforms, also hosts a yearly Open Source Strategy Forum, which is held to continue the discussion on fintech innovation and open-source collaboration in the financial services community.

— Check out Former CFTC Chief Warns Major Cryptocurrencies May Be Securities on ThinkAdvisor.


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