It can hardly be described as ‘secret sauce’ anymore, given that Cisco ships 2 million devices per year running Erlang. That means a whopping 90% of internet traffic is going through routers and switches controlled by Erlang. But what is perhaps less well known within the tech community is that, away from telecoms, Erlang and other languages running on the BEAM virtual machine are powering some of the world’s biggest and most productive financial services systems. Here are just five to start with.
For ultra-reliable transaction delivery
Erlang is used for immediate payment switches by many companies facilitating instant bank transfers and bill payment services. Erlang, Mnesia and RabbitMQ are used for Vocalink’s global instant payment systems (IPS) which enables real-time payments in Singapore, Thailand, the US and other countries. The Vocalink IPS is now in use by The Clearing House – the banking association and payments companies owned by the largest commercial banks in the US. It has also been selected as the payment technology for the innovative P27 Scandinavian cross/border payment initiative.
Vocalink has been a driving force around the world in the evolution of real-time payments for over a decade. These real-time solutions sit at the centre of the global payments infrastructure and are designed to ‘run on their own rails’ at a massive scale. Their systems are relied on by financial institutions, corporates and governments to provide high availability and resilient payment solutions.
The ability to be able to securely and reliably handle payments requests at scale is thanks to Erlang, which, being originally designed for telecoms switching, is ideal for systems that need to be always on and always processing.
Why Erlang and Elixir?
For groundbreaking innovation with smart contracts and blockchain
æternity is one of the world’s most innovative open-source blockchains with an ambitious mission to bridge the gap between technology and society. They are using Erlang to scale a distributed peer-to-peer network and make their blockchain more reliable and available.
Founded in 2016 by Yanislav Malahov, known in some circles as “the Godfather of Ethereum”, æternity is designed to deliver productivity, transparent governance, and global scalability. Erlang Solutions were engaged to help them tackle the issues of scalability, which are inherent in modern blockchains.
The platform needed to handle large volumes of information in parallel. They wanted to increase transaction speed and scalability while also ensuring privacy by designing a unique state channel to enable the off-chain verification of data and smart contracts, allowing for all transactions to be independent of each other. The Erlang-based smart contract platform features oracles, a unique governance system, and a functional smart contract language called Sophia.
3. Solaris Bank
Why Erlang and Elixir?
To be disruptive via fast and agile development
Solarisbank is a Berlin-based 400-person FinTech company making waves at a pace rarely seen before in the financial industry. Their Banking-as-a-Service platform enables businesses to offer their own financial products via Elixir powered APIs. It took Solarisbank less than three years to build the platform, scale up a team, and raise almost €100m in funding with investments.
Their full banking license enables companies to offer their own financial products. Partners can access Solarisbank modules in the fields of e-money, instant credit, lending, and digital banking as well as services from third-party providers integrated with the platform via an API.
4. Goldman Sachs
Why Erlang and RabbitMQ?
To create system reliability for application innovation
The Erlang programming language is being used by Goldman Sachs in part of its hedge fund trading platform. Erlang is used as part of the real-time monitoring solution for this distributed trading system enabling changes to be made rapidly in response to market conditions.
Goldman Sachs leverages hundreds of applications communicating with each other. The Data Management and Distribution group provide messaging middleware services to the firm’s ecosystem. RabbitMQ, which is built in Erlang, is a key part of the messaging portfolio at Goldman Sachs.
RabbitMQ is a free, Open Source message broker that is highly available, fault-tolerant and scalable. As a system middleware layer, it enables different services in your application to communicate with each other optimally. The key value of using RabbitMQ at Goldman Sachs has been the freedom it has afforded its developers to innovate with minimal friction. This freedom helps Goldman Sachs to be one of the traditional financial services firms recognised as keeping pace with the most exciting FinTechs. You can learn more about how Goldman Sachs uses RabbitMQ in their talk at RabbitMQ Summit 2018.
5. Sum Up
Why Erlang and Elixir?
Because of their 24/7 system availability and fault-tolerance
SumUP is the leading mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) company in Europe, enabling hundreds of thousands of small businesses in countries worldwide to get paid. They used Erlang to build their payment service from scratch.
They picked Erlang as the ‘right tool for the job’ because card processing is an industry requiring backend systems of a certain type, where availability and fault-tolerance is a must, and Erlang boasts a battle-proven track record in delivering this in telecoms and FinTech.
Nowadays, beyond the original hardware, mobile, and web apps, SumUp has also developed a suite of APIs and SDKs for integrating SumUp payment into other apps and services.
As you can see Erlang, Elixir and other BEAM VM based technologies are being used in production across the FinTech landscape – this includes private and public blockchain, payment and credit card gateways, banking APIs and more traditional infrastructure management. In fact, it is likely you will find an Erlang team in all of the major banks and financial institutions.
It is easy to build prototypes with Erlang which is why it’s a great choice for fast-moving FinTech startups. While the Elixir programming language mixes the best of Erlang in terms of runtime, the concurrency model, and fault-tolerance, with powerful and battle-tested frameworks.
There are many more use cases for Erlang and other BEAM VM technologies from the biggest investment banks in the world to nimble FinTech challengers. Stay tuned to find out more soon.