Introduction to Corda

A Brief History

Corda is another enterprise-ready blockchain platform other than Hyperledger.  It was developed and launched by R3 in 2016. R3 is an enterprise software firm which focuses on distributed ledger technology.  It collaborates with more than 200 members and partners across multiple industries from both the private and public sectors to work on the Corda project.

Besides that, R3 has assembled a global team of over 180 professionals in 13 countries and over 2,000 technology, financial, and legal experts drawn from its global member base. (

Key Concepts of Corda

Corda is an open source blockchain project, designed for business from the start.  It allows businesses to build interoperable blockchain networks that transact in strict privacy. Similar to Ethereum, Corda also features smart contracts that facilitate direct transactions among the businesses. However, its smart contracts are written in Java and other JVM languages instead of Solidity.  Also, it enables the development and deployment of distributed apps called CorDapps.

In addition, the Corda platform implements the flow framework to manage communication and negotiation between participants in the network. The Corda network is made up of a peer-to-peer network of nodes. One of the key concepts of Corda’s is its network service known as the notary.   The notary service provides uniqueness consensus for verification of transactions. I shall discuss uniqueness consensus in future articles.

The Corda Architecture

Although we often refer to Corda as a blockchain platform, strictly speaking, it is not a blockchain-based ecosystem. It is a kind of decentralized ledger technology network system that is not built by blocks. Instead, it looks a bit similar to the Tangle system in IOTA.

The Corda Network

The Corda network is an authenticated peer-to-peer network of nodes. Each node is a JVM run-time environment hosting Corda services and executing applications known as CorDapps. We can visualize the Corda network as a fully-connected graph. The nodes on the graph  can communicate with other nodes, as shown in the diagram below:

Corda Network

How does Corda differ from other DLT Platforms?

The Corda platform is different from other DLT platforms because 
 the structure is block-less. Also, the way it propagates data is also different.  Other DLT  platforms use global broadcast and gossip networks to propagate data. However, Corda does not employ the global broadcast method. Instead, It uses point to point messaging to transmit data.

According to the Corda white paper, all communication between nodes is direct, with TLS-encrypted messages sent over the AMQP. This means that data is shared only on a need-to-know basis. (*TLS stands for Transport Layer Security.  AMQP stands for Advanced Message Queuing Protocol,  an open standard application layer protocol for message-oriented middleware)

Corda nodes discover each other via the Network Map Service. The network map service publishes the IP addresses through which every node on the network can be reached. Also, it broadcasts the identity certificates of those nodes and the services they provide. You can imagine the service as a phone book, which publishes a list of peer nodes containing some information.

The Doorman

Corda networks are semi-private,  which means it needs to impose a kind of gateway control before a node can join a network. This control is called doorman. Each network has a doorman service that enforces rules regarding the information that nodes must provide. These nodes need to go through the know-your-customer (KYC)process before being admitted to the network.

To join the network, a node must contact the doorman and provide the required information. If the doorman is satisfied, the node will receive a root-authority-signed TLS certificate from the network’s permissioning service. This certificate certifies the node’s identity when communicating with other participants on the network.

That’s all for now. I shall discuss more about Corda in future articles.

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