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IBM Goes Big on Blockchain

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:46 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:46 PM

With a range of announcements, IBM has pushed for the quick adoption of blockchain technology among enterprise and multiple industries with several newly revealed initiatives and commitments.

In a press release  today, International Business Machines (IBM) has thrown its weight in fully backing and pushing distributed ledger or blockchain technology for real world applications.

Chief among a series of announcements are:

  • IBM’s release of 44,000 lines of code, now deemed open-source, available to the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project, an open-source project that IBM is a member of. The code was developed by more than 35 global IBM researchers and software developers solely working toward the Linux Foundation project.
  • The company is also opening blockchain-centric spaces in the major financial hubs around the world called IBM Garages. These spaces will enable IBM experts and developers to discuss the design and implementation of blockchain for businesses.
  • IBM has also announced several new blockchain services on the IBM Cloud.
  • The tech giant is also looking into enabling Internet of Things (IoT) data on blockchain through smart contracts that enable RFID tags and barcode scanners that can be plugged into a blockchain.
IBM Blockchain
The way IBM sees a shared ledger or a blockchain.

In a statement, Senior Vice President of IBM Research, Arvind Krishna stated:

In just a few short months, IBM’s vision for making blockchain a powerful new business solution across multiple industries is becoming a reality as our clients begin piloting innovative new code, services…optimized for distributed ledgers.

These advancements are making it easier for developers to move from understanding the potential of blockchain, to actually using it to change their business processes in powerful new ways.

Going All in with Blockchain

IBM has also announced the offering of ‘blockchain as a service’ for developers, similar to Microsoft’s own BaaS offering. IBM stands as one of the founding members of the open-source blockchain Hyperledger Project and it’s clear as to why the technology giant is placing its bet on blockchain technology. There are large numbers of enterprises that run IBM mainframe solutions and the company is making a fervent push with its offering of blockchain technology to developers and users of its cloud computing platform.

IBM Blockchain use cases
IBM Blockchain Use Cases

IBM also cited several unique capabilities and solutions developed by the company. A new consensus algorithm tailored by IBM research to specific blockchain use cases is one among them. The company also contends toward advanced identity management built with the most up-to-date cryptography. IBM also claimed to have the means to develop smart contracts that can be written in everyday programming languages such as Java or Golang. Some samples  are already surfacing on GitHub.

IBM Cloud

IBM’s blockchain services are available through a platform called Bluemix. The service will enable developers to monitor blockchain applications and even create them on the IBM Cloud. It comes as little surprise that blockchain applications can also be used on IBM z Systems, the family name used by IBM for all of its mainframe computers.

Furthermore, APIs infrastructure will also be provided by IBM for transactions including new payments, settlements, supply chains and businesses processes.

Internet of Things

IBM will also allow developers and users to funnel in IoT information to its blockchain service using the Watson platform.

Data from devices such as barcode scanners, RFID chips and more can directly communicate to a distributed ledger and even validate smart contracts, IBM claimed. In providing an example, data like temperature readings and package locations could be automatically updated across multiple distribution points, all of which can be updated onto a blockchain. This would allow all invested parties to check whether the terms of a contract agreed on the distributed ledger are met.

IBM Garages

The hardware- and software-maker has also announced blockchain-centric collaborative spaces in London, New York, Singapore and Tokyo – the financial hubs of the world – to bring together IBM experts and developers. The IBM garages are seen as a means to accelerate the design, development and implementation of blockchain for business.

In a nod toward distributed ledger technology for business, IBM Global Business Services will also expand its blockchain consulting practice to make it available for clients in industries such as banking, logistics and financial services. IBM Interactive Experience (IBM iX), revealed as the largest global digital agency will also help co-design new use cases for blockchain with its clients in over 25 IBM Studios around the world.

Altogether IBM claimed that over 100 technical architects are working toward fast-tracking blockchain applications and technology for businesses. The stat goes along with more than 35 global IBM researchers and software developers that IBM has dedicated toward the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger blockchain project.

Article updated with additional images.

Featured image from Shutterstock. Screenshots from IBM/Blockchain.