IBM Offers Secure Blockchain Testing Service

IBM has announced a cloud service geared towards organisations wishing to test and run their blockchain projects in secure production environments.

It is called IBM’s secure blockchain cloud environment, and is underpinned by IBM LinuxONE, commonly used in environments where strict compliance rules apply. Big Blue of course joined forces with the Linux Foundation in December in a new Blockchain consortium to help develop an enterprise grade ledger framework.

Testing Service

IBM first touted the arrival of a new system that allows blockchain networks to operate securely back in April, in an effort to promote the use of blockchain technology.

IBM says that its blockchain testing service, which is now in limited beta, will be best suited to those organisations that have to deal with private data and who operate in strictly regulated industries (financial organisations, healthcare etc).

These organisations will now be able to test and run their blockchain projects in a safe and secure manner.

IBM pointed to a company called Everledger, which tracks and protects diamonds and other valuables via the blockchain. This firm is apparently building a digital business network using IBM Blockchain to power its global certification system to track valuable items through the supply chain. The blockchain is used to demonstrate the origin of high-value goods such as diamonds, fine art and luxury goods.

Blockchain is a digital technology for recording and verifying transactions. Until recently, it has mostly associated as a global online ledger that underpins the bitcoin digital currency.

But the fact that it utilises distributed ledgers, means that virtually anything of value can be tracked and traded. This has an obvious enterprise application here, as securities can be settled in minutes instead of days. It can also be used to help companies manage the flow of goods and related payments around the world, or simply enable manufacturers to share production logs with OEMs and regulators to reduce product recalls.

“When you are in the business of provenance, secured records, access and transparency are everything,” said Leanne Kemp, CEO and Founder of Everledger. “There is no compromise when it comes to security and one cannot underestimate the expertise required to enable this.”

“Having the opportunity to build, test, scale and refine Everledger on IBM Blockchain, underpinned by a security-rich infrastructure, is a game changer,” said Kemp. “It has accelerated our ability to move fast and deliver the most innovative solutions to our partners internationally and confidentially.”

IBM is hoping its service will appeal to organisations considering blockchain projects, but who want to test it in a secure way. It highlighted the fact that the average total cost of a data breach for enterprises reached $4m (£3m) last year, and that security incidents were up by 64 percent in 2015.

IBM touts the fact that a business network on the IBM Blockchain cloud environment will have secure entry points and has “advanced features that help protect data and ensure the integrity of the overall network.”

“Blockchain will change the way we transfer high value goods, digital assets and financial instruments,” said Donna Dillenberger, IBM Fellow, Enterprise Solutions. “To accelerate blockchain adoption, clients must trust the infrastructure and the system that blockchain is running on.”

Growing Adoption

“With IBM Blockchain, we are expanding access to the emerging technology – not only by making it easy to get up and running on the IBM Cloud, but also by using the most secure infrastructure,” said Dillenberger.

Blockchain received a major show of support from the UK Government earlier this year after Cabinet Office Minister Matthew Hancock confirmed it was looking in to how the technology could be used to manage and keep track of the distribution of public money, such as grants and student loans.

Last year, it was also reported that the NASDAQ stock exchange was evaluating blockchain, the underlying technology behind Bitcoin, in order to see if it could be used in trading of shares in private companies.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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