Components of a Successful Blockchain Project: Daml, Corda, and Catalyst

To bring greater efficiency and technological innovation to financial services organizations,  IntellectEU is leveraging three key technologies: Corda, Daml, and Catalyst. In this guest blog, Robert van Donge, Sales Lead, Catalyst Blockchain Platform at IntellectEU, explains how IntellectEU is driving successful blockchain adoption and digital transformation initiatives for the world’s largest exchanges, investment banks, and intermediaries through these powerful solutions. 

When companies combine the power of Corda, Daml, and Catalyst in a blockchain deployment, businesses are able to transact directly and privately between trustless parties with clearly defined rights and obligations that enforce data ownership, visibility, and more between multiple parties. Since announcing commercial support for the Daml Driver for Corda, IntellectEU has nearly doubled the number of companies requesting enterprise blockchain POCs that leverage Daml smart contracts across the privacy-first Corda Enterprise network.

To help organizations understand the process from vision to production, IntellectEU has outlined the necessary steps to successfully engineer and deploy blockchain projects: 

Define customer requirements 

The first step in any blockchain initiative is to define the requirements. We conduct in-depth discovery sessions with our customers and partners to outline the key features and functions that will address the customer’s unique business problem. We also leverage existing libraries and models created for capital market use cases. For example, IntellectEU developed a proprietary corporate actions solution to streamline communication across the holding chain in the case of shareholder voting. While unique to proxy voting use cases, the application leverages a common component: enabling an immutable audit trail of workflow processing steps with the smart contract layer automatically executing events and communication across transactions. Once the team has a clear understanding of the project requirements, customers receive a dedicated engineering resource that either partners with or owns the application development phase. 

Code application business logic with the open-source Daml SDK

The application development phase is quickly executed through the use of Daml smart contracts. IntellectEU is one of the first system integrators to provide commercial support for Daml and requires every IntellectEU engineer to be a Daml-certified developer due to the added benefit that customers receive from running Daml-driven applications in production. Daml is unique for customers seeking to transform multiparty workflows through blockchain technology due to the following characteristics:

  1. Daml is open-source and platform-agnostic. This means rapid development times with dev/test environments easily spun up across a Corda network. It also provides insurance in the case that persistence layers change in the future. Daml can move applications to any supported blockchain or database using the Daml Driver entitlement. The applications do not break and do not require a code rewrite when migrated to new infrastructure. 
  2. Daml is simple and developer-focused. Daml was engineered to completely decouple the Daml code from the underlying blockchain or database, so developers only have to focus on the business logic. Daml manages everything else with the infrastructure.
  3. Daml provides a more granular privacy model over traditional programming languages. Daml ensures data is only visible to those who have a right to see the data through sub-transaction level privacy at the API level. With Corda, transactions can also be blinded from the network (see section on Daml for Corda integration). This means that Daml-driven applications will specify who is allowed to authorize a given contract step and who can view the contract data.
  4. Daml abstracts away cryptographic signatures, transactions, and addresses with data ownership, visibility, and permissions in the code itself. It also offers true cross-platform interoperability, so any Daml-driven application can speak to each other regardless of underlying infrastructure.  

A complete end-to-end solution for Daml-driven securities services can be found here.

Deploy production-ready Daml-driven CorDapps with the Catalyst platform 

Once the application is fully developed and tested, the IntellectEU team will migrate the application to an Enterprise Corda environment using the Catalyst platform. IntellectEU specializes in Fabric and Corda deployments as both networks offer industry-best, private blockchain networks and support integrations with Daml applications.

With the Daml Driver for Corda license, Daml-driven applications can be deployed on existing Corda networks. Corda networks provide a non-validating notary and blind transactions from the network operator. The additional sub-transaction level privacy offered by Daml at the API level adds another layer of security for highly sensitive transactions. 

Learn more about R3’s open source and enterprise distribution of Corda and how to use Digital Asset’s Daml Driver for Corda here

The Catalyst platform provides the tooling and automation necessary to deploy Daml-driven CorDapps in production. With Catalyst, developers and IT specialists are able to:

  1. Flexibly set up and configure your nodes.
  2. Connect to any preconfigured Corda network.
  3. Choose from available firewall setups to deploy on your environment.
  4. Node-level CA management.
  5. Monitor and manage your nodes (archive, back-up, …).
  6. Install, manage and monitor your CorDapps.
  7. Deploy Daml workflows and smart contracts across both Corda and/or Fabric.

The entire network set up and maintenance are automated via Catalyst’s intuitive management console. Once this step is complete, the application will run and support more efficient multiparty workflows. 

Learn more about IntellectEU’s Catalyst platform here and start deploying/managing production environments today. 

IntellectEU is partnering with Digital Asset to revamp historically outdated business processes across the financial services industry. IntellectEU is a SWIFT service partner with a focus on digital finance and emerging technologies. IntellectEU is a founding member of the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger and works with all leading blockchain providers in banking, insurance, capital markets, and the telco space.  

Read more about Daml Driver for Corda here.