Corda “doesn’t perform well”, R3 engineers are reportedly saying
The product will eventually have to speak for itself. Until then, anonymous insiders can speak for it.
R3 is the company behind Corda, a controversial "blockchain for banks" project that's simultaneously a Ripple partner and competitor.
R3 has successfully looped a lot of banks into its network, but it's going to struggle to keep them in the long run, according to The Block, citing unnamed former R3 engineers from an anonymous chat group for disgruntled former R3 engineers.
The former R3 engineers that reportedly spoke to The Block cited a long list of issues with the Corda product itself and with R3's vision. One common refrain was that the product just isn't that good.
"Getting Corda running is very complex, and the support is not great…Every client is a cost centre," one source reportedly said. "The size of the customer support team is completely out of whack with the number of clients."
"R3 are just flogging software and it isn’t fully baked yet," another reportedly said.
Others took issue with the high cost of the product relative to other options, pointing out that high licensing fees may undermine the savings R3 clients hope to achieve.
There were also concerns about whether the actual product delivered is worth the high price tag. Beyond ongoing troubleshooting issues, some engineers reportedly expressed concerns about whether Corda could actually hit the scaling numbers it advertises and whether the design will ever be able to scale as effectively as needed. Some engineers simply stated it "doesn't perform well".
The group also took issue with the company culture, which is believed to have been a longstanding pain point for R3 engineers. On one level, disgruntled former employees say R3 is too focused on pinning down clients with expensive contracts and not sufficiently focused on building an industry-leading product.
They also describe a cultural schism very similar to what you'll find in Bitcoin, with some members of R3 management seeking interoperability for Corda and others being Corda "maximalists" bent on creating one chain to rule them all.
A grain of salt
But the rumblings of malcontent should be taken with a grain of salt.
A year ago, R3 engineers were painting a picture of a company on its last legs, which had blown its budget on expensive flights, offices around the world and a stable of former bank executives. Its earnings were "laughably off" and "10x short" they said.
This turned out not to be the case.
R3 was actually ranging from around 10% short to 10% over its targets throughout 2018, according to a subsequent Forbes report.
But in the end, the product will have to speak for itself. There may be teething issues, scaling problems and constant troubleshooting issues, as the engineers say, but it also has features like customer support and predictable(ish) central governance, which are highly desirable in enterprise blockchain.
Disclosure: The author holds BNB and BTC at the time of writing.