IBM Makes Bold Moves in Blockchain Technology

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IBM UNLEASHES BLOCKCHAIN-AS-A-SERVICE FOR DEVELOPERS
IBM blockchain user experience designers, Dante Guintu and Andrea Lee, work on secure blockchain apps at IBM San Francisco on Tuesday, February 16, 2016. (George Nikitin/Feature Photo Service for IBM)

IBM is making bold moves to bring blockchain technology to the mainstream, announcing on Tuesday it has launched a new set of blockchain services on the IBM Cloud and donated nearly 44,000 lines of code to the Linux Foundation’s open source Hyperledger Project, a move that aimed at helping developers explore and easily build distributed ledgers.

Additionally, the tech giant said it will soon open IBM Garages in London, New York, Singapore and Tokyo, where businesses would be able to collaborate with IBM experts on the design and implementation of blockchain technology.

IBM Global Business Services, a division of IBM and the world’s largest business and services provider, will also expand its blockchain consulting practice for clients in banking and financial services, and logistics. IBM Interactive Experience, the largest global digital agency, will also engage clients to co-design new use cases for blockchain in more than 25 IBM Studios around the globe.

IBM, which said it is committed in “making blockchain a powerful new business solution across multiple industries,” is currently working with a number of partners including London Stock Exchange and Kouvola Innovation.

With London Stock Exchange, IBM is developing open blockchain technologies to help manage risk and bring additional transparency to global financial markets, while the collaboration with Kouvola Innovation, a Finnish business development organization, is focused on using blockchain technology to transform logistics value chains into a more seamless process.

IBM, a founding member of the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project, joined hands with a number of other technology firms and financial institutions, including Digital Asset Holdings, Intel and R3, to launch the cross-industry collaboration. The Hyperledger Project intends to develop an enterprise grade, open source blockchain dedicated to support business transactions.

IBM’s new blockchain services is aimed at helping developers create and manage blockchain networks, and “move from understanding the potential of blockchain, to actually using it to change their business processes in powerful ways,” Arvind Krishna, Senior Vice President, IBM Research, said in a statement.

IBM’s capabilities include:

  • Pluggable architecture to allow developers to use software modules (consensus module for example) that best suits their needs;
  • A new consensus algorithm developed by IBM Research tailored to specific blockchain use cases;
  • Advanced identity management built with the latest cryptography;
  • Smart contracts that can be written in popular programming languages such as Java or Golang and executed in containers;
  • Fine-grained privacy and confidentiality control allows authors of smart contracts to precisely specify both who can view them and who can execute them.

The news comes simultaneously with the announcement that Japan Exchange Group, Asia’s largest bourse, has teamed up with IBM to start experimenting with blockchain technology for trading in low transaction markets.