On July 4, 2017, AMIS Technologies released the Istanbul BFT (Byzantine Fault Tolerance) Consensus Algorithm, which will be incorporated into J.P. Morgan's private Ethereum-based platform Quorum. Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin expressed praise to the development team, “Great work on the Istanbul BFT :).”
The Istanbul BFT algorithm will launch on Quorum, and will allow the platform, and any other platform that uses the algorithm, to handle more transactions per second. Alex Liu, CEO of AMIS, contrasted the classic Proof-of-Work method with the new protocol:
"Compared to Proof-of-Work (‘mining‘) that is currently in use in many blockchains worldwide, PBFT [Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance] represents an important step forward in many ways. It ensures settlement finality, it speeds up settlement time to under 1 second from the current tens of seconds to tens of minutes, and it reduces energy consumption dramatically. For the consortium blockchains that most financial institutions are looking to deploy, PBFT represents the only way forward in consensus algorithms."
According to AMIS, the algorithm will make Quorum more accessible to institutional users, by introducing PBFT, which can scale to their needs by handling a greater transaction load, as yet another choice for users alongside tools like QuorumChain and Raft. Go-ethereum (geth) client's pluggable consensus engine, a model that is adaptable to different consensus protocols, made it possible to bring together the PBFT protocols alongside Proof-of-Authority consensus, allowing for wide adoption among various application scenarios with differing practical needs.
Liu also spoke of the partnership between J.P. Morgan and AMIS:
“We’re honored to be able to contribute our PBFT implementation to J.P. Morgan’s industry-leading Quorum platform. Having financial institutions as our primary customers meant we had to design from day one with their requirements in mind. J.P. Morgan shares many of these requirements and recognized the value of adding an enterprise-grade PBFT implementation to their Ethereum-based platform.”
Features such as the Istanbul BFT Consensus Algorithm allow Quorum to make Ethereum a more accessible tool to industries seeking blockchain-based solutions, a goal to which AMIS is committed as a founding member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA).
Julio Faura, chairman of the board at EEA and head of blockchain R&D at Banco Santander, called the algorithm a "significant advancement in providing enterprises a range of 'pluggable' consensus algorithms, which is a core objective of the EEA."
He went on to say:
"We are proud to see EEA members such as AMIS not only contributing in such a meaningful way, but also in collaboration with other members such as J.P. Morgan. Enterprise adoption of Ethereum has never been stronger, and is getting stronger everyday through efforts like these."
Thomas Hu, CEO of Kyber Capital, one of AMIS's early investors, spoke of the joint-effort between AMIS, J.P. Morgan, and the Ethereum community:
"This collaboration is a great testament of the capability of AMIS and the Ethereum community to meet the mission-critical demands of global financial institutions. It also establishes a new benchmark for strategic collaboration and co-creation between financial institutions and FinTech startups in global blockchain innovation."
Given that there are many consensus models, the Istanbul BFT Consensus Algorithm, which enables private Ethereum blockchains to handle more transactions, would be more desirable to institutions that do not want to use a Proof of Work-based consensus algorithm to confirm blocks. AMIS continues to work with fellow EEA members including J.P. Morgan, Fubon FHC, and Taishin FHC to develop blockchain applications.
For now, AMIS said it will set its sights on launching "more innovative blockchain applications globally” and to “upgrade the FinTech industry in Taiwan."