In this article I’ll be diving deep into Quant Network’s CEO, Gilbert Verdian and his connections across multiple organisations and institutions.
(**Please ignore any errors as it’s quite a lengthy article)
*This is not an investment advice. This work is my own research and observation, so please do your own due diligence before investing. This is crypto space and even the best looking projects could go for a toss, so understand the risks involved before investing.
First let me describe what Quant Network is and the product Overledger.
“Quant Network is a Blockchain operating system that connects networks and facilitates the development of multi-chain applications. Quant is addressing the major limitations of blockchain technology. They also simplify how organizations can take advantage of blockchain through a single gateway instead of duplicating infrastructure, cost and integration of multiple individual blockchain gateways, so they can focus on operating their businesses and unlocking the benefits that this technology presents. In doing so they are laying the foundations for the next internet: The Internet of Trust.”
“Overledger is the world’s first blockchain operating system (OS) developed by Quant Network that not only inter-connects blockchains but also existing networks to blockchain and facilitates the creation of internet scale multi-chain applications otherwise known as mApps (They term themselves as Any to Any interoperable). Start building game changing applications with no additional infrastructure, using existing resources, and have the choice of interoperability in as little as 8 minutes.”
Before I begin let me show you an ultra rare Gilbert Verdian picture from his UNIX days as a member of CSC’s Sydney Security Team. (CSC stands for Computer Sciences Corporation.)
This shows that Gilbert was involved in Cyber Security space since the start of his career and it dates back to June, 2003.
Interestingly, he is also an author of a book titled “Enterprise Security — Real Solutions to Today’s Security Challenges” back in 2011
After this comes another book titled “Aggressive Network Self Defence” in the year 2005 in which he gets a mention from Johnny Long, who was a part of Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) and formed the vulnerability assessment team known as “STRIKE FORCE”.
Gilbert in his early days was also part of this StrikeForce team, as can be seen from his linkedin profile. (Check the series of images below)
His name also comes up in ITU — International Telecommunication Union website. ITU by the way is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies — ICTs. (Looks like Gilbert attended an ITU Workshop on “Security Aspects of Blockchain”)
Coming back to his previous experience as The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of Vocalink — He won the ‘CISO of the Year’ in 2017 and was applauded for his works by Vocalink.
And Talking about Vocalink — Its a payment systems company headquartered in the United Kingdom, created in 2007 from the merger between VOCA and LINK.
Vocalink processes over 90% of UK salaries, more than 70% of household bills and 98% of state benefits. In 2013 the company processed over 10.5 billion UK payments with a value of over £5 trillion. In July 2016 MasterCard purchased a 92% stake in the company, with the remainder to be held by UK banks for a period of three years.
VocaLink designed, built and operates the infrastructure for the Faster Payments Service on behalf of the Faster Payments Scheme. Running in parallel with BACS and CHAPS (These BAC’s and CHAPS will be later connected with ISO 20022 in the article), launched in 2008 it enables interbank transfers in real time. Since 2008, over three billion Faster Payments transactions have been securely processed by VocaLink.
More info in snapshots below:
Later in his career he was seen in “Global Cybersecurity Innovation Summit” — which was supported by Her Majesty’s Government and The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Science & Technology Directorate. He was a panellist representing Vocalink along with some big names out there at that time!
Later on he left Vocalink to work on his own startup called Quant Network (OverLedger). What surprises me is that few major media agencies published article regarding his exit from Vocalink, which usually wouldn’t have happened for a regular employee. Right?
When Quant Network partnered with AUCloud (AUCloud is a classified IaaS (cloud Infrastructure as a Service) provider to Australian Government, Defence and Healthcare creating greater productivity and security for Australian citizens.), back in December 2018 we saw a tweet from someone named Scott Wilkie. Lets dive into who this Scott Wilkie is, shall we?
After partnership with Quant Network, this is what Scott tweeted,
“Excited to announce a partnership for Australia’s first secure Blockchain as a Service with Quant Network — overcomes the lack of secure interoperability between technologies and legacy experienced by Government and Critical Infrastructure”
Further looking at his linkedin about profile, it says — “International Profile as successful company director, expert on cyber security and critical national digital infrastructure, Venture Capital Investor. High-demand security policy advisor for government and industry.”
As you can see from few screenshots above, Scott also got a joint billing with Australia’s ex Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. This clearly shows the reach of this guy!!
(Malcolm Bligh Turnbull is an Australian former politician who was the 29th Prime Minister of Australia from 2015 to 2018)
ISO 20022, ISO/TC 307 and ISO/TC 68
ISO 20022 website is a multi part international standard. prepared by ISO Technical committee TC68 Financial Services. First published in 2004, its widely recognised as the standard of the future.
We see clearly, that ISO 20022 was prepared by ISO/TC 68.
Details about TC 68 can be found in this link: https://isotc.iso.org/livelink/livelink/fetch/2000/2122/687806/ISO_TC_068__Financial_services_.pdf?nodeid=982909&vernum=-2
In the screenshot below— Under subcommittees of ISO/TC 68 we can find TC 307 being mentioned. More connections between TC 68 and 307 and the organisations involved will be revealed later in this article.
Further we find in https://www.iso.org/committee/49650.html that TC 307 is a liaison committee to TC 68.
What exactly is ISO/TC 307?
ISO/TC 307, blockchain and distributed ledger technologies, has been set up to meet the growing need for standardization in this area by providing internationally agreed ways of working with it to improve security, privacy and facilitate worldwide use of the technology through better interoperability.
The scope of ISO/TC 307 reads: “standardisation of blockchain technologies and distributed ledger technologies.”
As of 2018-03-13, the standardization work of ISO/TC 307 has been divided into six groups:
● WG 1 Foundations;
● WG 2 Security, privacy and identity;
● WG 3 Smart contracts and their applications;
● SG 2 Use cases;
● SG 6 Governance;
● SG 7 Interoperability.
Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies is a rapidly evolving and expanding area. The need for collaboration and cooperation has been identified and ISO/TC 307 is liaising with the relevant ISO and IEC committees, as well as external organizations, to minimize any overlap.
As seen above highlighted in green, “ITU-T has Recommendations that are relevant to ISO/TC 307, particularly on the structured and operation of networks, and on cybersecurity and cyber incident management.” (As revealed earlier, We already know ITU-T website had Gilbert Bio
In ISO/TC 307 4th meeting around 23rd October, 2018 Gilbert Verdian was appointed as the Covenor of this committee replacing Eric Cohen.
Eric Cohen, interestingly gave us a very nice hint on 2nd July, 2019 where he tweeted:
“Not sure what question is … SWIFT is Cat A liaison, ISO/TC 68 also has liaison to/from 307. Many participants bridge the groups.”
Eric Cohen clearly mentions a liaison between SWIFT, ISO/TC 68 and ISO/TC 307. Which means that the people and organisations involved in these two standards are in close working relationship.
ISO/TC 68 is working towards Standardization in the field of banking, securities and other financial services and ISO/TC 307 towards Standardisation of blockchain technologies and distributed ledger technologies.
Also, remember that Gilbert was appointed as the new Convener of TC 307, replacing Eric Cohen.
So what are the Organisations working in liaison to/from TC 307 and TC 68??
They are the likes of European Commission (EC), FIG, INATBA, ITU, SWIFT, MasterCard which are huge organisations and few already had previous connections to Gilbert like the EC, FIG, INATBA, ITU, MasterCard and more is due to come.
Another interesting stuff is that Quant’s Overledger Whitepaper was referenced for this ISO standard 23455.
Looking further into ISO/TR 23455, it blew my mind, as the standard provides an overview of smart contracts in Blockchain/DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) systems; describing what smart contracts are and how they work. It also discusses methods of interaction between multiple smart contracts.
Decoding this standard, this is what Quant Networks Treaty Contract is working on. Right? YES!!
This is exactly the reason why Quant Network partnered with SimbaChain!
(See what SimbaChain partnership was all about — https://www.quant.network/blog/new-partnership-marks-multi-chain-evolution-for-smart-contracts/ )
“The result of the combination of these technologies, through a partnership between Simba Chain and Quant, is to allow any individual or business interested in using any supported blockchain on the Quant Overledger to deploy their solutions in a matter of minutes. It will simplify the complexities of smart contract code through the SIMBA Chain SCaaS platform, while engaging the ease of Overledger’s interoperability to enable a hyper-connected world powered by multi-chain smart contracts.”
So, does this mean Chainlink and Quant Network is somehow involved?? Hmm, interesting indeed!
Recently Chainlink also published an article where they mentioned about Overledger. (picture below)
Article Link— https://blog.chain.link/interoperability-and-connectivity-unlocking-smart-contracts-3-0-2/
Looking further into ISO/TR 23455, I find Accord Project being mentioned. (as seen in picture below)
What actually is Accord Project? Here’s the about page in picture below:
(Accord project members include the likes of Quant Network, Chainlink, R3, IBM, HyperLedger, IEEE, Digital Assets and many more)
So from all the information and screenshots above, we can easily deduce that these 4 standards ISO 20022, TC 68, TC 307, TR 23455 and the likes of Accord and SimbaChain are working very closely with each other, and hints at SWIFT, Chainlink and Quant Network involvement with perhaps the biggest organisations and Governments!!
(Just my assumption)
The SWIFT connection
Shifting my focus to SWIFT and going through a paper from SWIFT Labs, I came across the term “DLT Sandbox” being mentioned alongside the first use case as SWIFTgpi. As you can see it clearly in the picture below it mentions that this DLT Sandbox will be a key tool to enable customers to experiment use cases with SWIFT.
Going down further in the same paper we find that SWIFT Labs is working with ISO 20022, ISO/TC 68 and TC 307.
You can check the GFIN members here — https://www.thegfin.com/members (Big names — Banks, Government organisations)
Speaking of SandBox, There was one article published by Quant Network speaking about its product Atlas, where they mentioned that the idea of Atlas stemmed from the joint submission that Quant did with DATA61 for the GFIN cross border SandBox. (In picture below)
Could SWIFT be possibly talking about this SandBox? Well we have to wait!!
On September 2017, SWIFT published its information paper titled “Business Standards and Emerging Technologies” which describes the need for business standards and going to page 12 & 13 we find this as shown in the picture below.
It clearly states — “SWIFT is exploring financial standards for new technologies on multiple fronts. In addition to the work described in this paper to extend ISO 20022, SWIFT’s Standards team also contributes to foundational work defining common terminology and reference architecture for DLT under the direction of ISO TC 307 (DLT & Blockchain). The SWIFT Labs research team also contributes, using standardised business definitions to underpin the design of DLT Proof of Concept solutions for bond issuance, Nostro/Vostro reconciliation and Standing Settlement Instruction distribution.”
In October 2017, SWIFT released a discussion paper titled “ISO 20022 for Unifying FinTech” where we again see standards TC68 and TC307 popping up.
Source — https://www.swift.com/resource/iso-20022-unifying-fintech
2 years later, on 4th June 2019, Swift was awarded the licence to offer connectivity services to all Eurosystem market infrastructures via the European single market infrastructure gateway (ESMIG) from November 2021.
The article https://www.fintechfutures.com/2019/06/swift-awarded-esmig-network-service-provider-status/ clearly mentions SWIFT involvement with ISO20022.
Soon after this on 17th June 2019, The Italian payments company, SIA, in partnership with Colt Technology Services, became an accredited provider for the European Single Market Infrastructure Gateway (ESMIG)
SIA’s CEO, said: “We’re particularly proud to have been chosen, in partnership with Colt, as one of the two Network Service Providers for Eurosystem market infrastructures… This award for ESMIG is very important because, for the first time in Europe, all financial institutions have the chance to select the best technological solution in a framework of free competition with considerable benefits in terms of costs and efficiency, and contributes to strengthening cybersecurity and the resilience of strategically important systems.”
SIA partnered with Quant Network on 5th June, 2019.
SWIFT, interestingly, was awarded the ESMIG contract on 4th June, 2019
Coincidence? I don’t think so!
On April 11, 2019 - Lisa O’Connor, Managing Director, Standards and Capital Markets Asia Pacific, SWIFT, did a presentation on “Standards as Enabler for Payments Innovation”
It clearly mentions (as in pic below) that — “SWIFT Standards participates in TC 68 Financial Businesses and TC 307 Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies. It also participates in TC307 Blockchain and distributed ledger technology since its creation in 2016 and a liaison has been established between TC307 and TC68”
Bank Of England
The UK standards community has been actively involved with ISO 20022 from its inception via the British Standards Institute (BSI), the body which led the ISO development work that delivered ISO 20022. The Pay.UK Standards Authority actively participates in the governance structures and bodies of the ISO 20022 standard, acting on behalf of the UK’s interests where appropriate.
In addition, the Bank of England is undergoing a programme for the renewal of its Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system. As a part of this infrastructure renewal process the Bank has taken the decision to adopt ISO 20022, which it considers vital to ensuring data interoperability across the UK’s main interbank payment systems and compatibility with the emerging international consensus.
Since 2017, Pay.UK and the Bank of England (‘the Bank’) have been working together on our plans to adopt the ISO 20022 global messaging standard. Working collaboratively helps us to better achieve our common objectives of supporting easier access to and wider interoperability between our payments systems, which will ultimately foster greater resilience, efficiency, innovation and competition in sterling payments.
And interestingly, Quant Network was appointed as a Guarantor of Pay.UK on 8th February, 2019. You can check the list of Guarantors here — https://www.wearepay.uk/who-we-are/guarantors/
On June 2018, Bank Of England released a paper titled “ISO 20022 consultation paper: a global standard to modernise UK payments” — This paper is all about ISO 20022 and interoperability.
Below is an excerpt from that paper:
“At present, CHAPS, Bacs and Faster Payments all have separate information requirements, methodologies, formats, standards and rulebooks for constructing a payment in each system. This creates numerous inefficiencies, including making it difficult and expensive to move customers’ payments between the different payment systems. It also makes it challenging for new providers seeking to become participants of these payment systems, owing to the costs associated with simultaneously using many different standards.”
Regarding European Commission, we see mention of TC307 as well. Check this link: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/blockchain-technologies
Federal Reserve System
On 26th January 2015, Federal Reserve System published their Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System. Going through its strategy #4 which says — “Achieve greater end to end efficiency for domestic and cross border payments (2015 and beyond). Develop an implementation strategy for the application of the ISO 20022 standard to U.S. payment transactions”
On 29th June 2018, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, published an article titled — “New Message Format for the Fedwire Funds Service”. This obviously has lots of mentions of the ISO20022 standard and the term ‘interoperability’.
Gilbert was also a member of Secure Payments Task Force — The task force was created in June of 2015 to support the Federal Reserve’s strategies for improving the U.S. payment system. Since then, it has engaged more than 200 financial institutions, consumer groups, payment service providers, financial technology firms, merchants, government agencies and others interested in payment security improvement efforts.
The Task Force efforts was completed on March 2018 and since then the members and participants have transitioned into the FedPayments Improvement Community in an effort to provide opportunities to engage in the Federal Reserve’s ongoing payment improvement initiatives. (see pictures below)
On March 2017, Standards Australia published a report — “ROADMAP FOR BLOCKCHAIN STANDARDS”. This is all about ISO/TC 307, more information in this link: https://www.standards.org.au/getmedia/ad5d74db-8da9-4685-b171-90142ee0a2e1/Roadmap_for_Blockchain_Standards_report.pdf.aspx
In April 2016, Standards Australia submitted a New Field of Technical Activity (NFTA) proposal on behalf of Australia for the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to consider developing standards to support blockchain technology.
The proposal included the establishment of a new ISO technical committee responsible for blockchain standards topics including interoperability, terminology, privacy, security and auditing. This decision resulted in the creation of ISO/TC 307, Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies.
In September 2016, the proposal was approved and Australia was selected to manage the Secretariat of ISO/TC 307. ISO/TC 307 meets twice a year. Work is progressing in many areas including reference architecture, terminology, smart contracts, governance, privacy, security and identity. Separate study groups were established to focus on use cases and interoperability, and additional research is underway on supply chain and trade facilitation, security evaluation of consensus models, and data flow.
Going through a document published by Australia’s major blockchain player ‘Red Belly Blockchain’ titled “Blockchain Standards: Can We Reach Consensus?” written by Vincent Gramoli and Mark Staples, both of them are CSIRO at DATA61. Interestingly ISO/TC 307 has been mentioned 6 times.
Data61 remember? Well if you don't —There was a Hackathon held at Adelaide Convention Centre cosponsored with IBM, CSIRO and DATA61.This hackathon was supported by none other than OverLedger.
Source — https://www.adcblockchain.org/hackathon