IBM Launches Cloud-Based Enterprise-Ready Blockchain Service

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Big Blue wants major companies to get stuck into blockchain networks

IBM has launched an enterprise-ready blockchain service that enables businesses to build applications on top of the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric code set within the IBM Cloud.

The service will give business developers the ability to tap into the fabric that enables the creation of blockchain networks capable of handling more than 1,000 transactions per second within a secure ecosystem.

“IBM has applied decades of experience running the world’s largest transaction systems for banks, airlines, governments and retailers, to build the most secure blockchain services for the enterprise,” boasted Marie Wieck, general manager at IBM Blockchain.

“IBM’s blockchain services are built on IBM’s High Security Business Network and designed for organisations that require blockchain networks that are trusted, open and ready for business.”

Blockchain secure

blockchainWhile blockchain technologies have a reputation for being secure, IBM noted the underlying infrastructure needs to be robust from cyber attacks coming from both outside and inside organisations. To this end Big Blue boosted how it has integrated security though out the hardware and software stack supporting its blockchain service.

The IBM High Security Business Network offer features such as tamper-responsive hardware security modules designed to protect encrypted data for the storage cryptographic keys, and secure service containers for protecting code in blockchain applications by essentially encapsulating them I a virtual appliance.

IBM has also established a set of blockchain governance tools in order for developers to determine how their blockchain network operate, who can join them and enable the enforcement of compliance on running networks.

Further boosting blockchain security, Big Blue has also entered into a partnership with SecureKey Technologies to create a digital identity and attribute sharing network within IBM’s blockchain service.

In practical terms, this means consumers can carefully select what information they wish to share with the company running the blockchain based service to validate attributes such as credit ratings provided by banks and other organisations.

This has the advantage of speeding up transactions and would avoid the need for an organisation to validate a customer’s viability for finanacial services by performing their own credit checks

“Our goal for this partnership is to accelerate the pace at which we can develop a service to help consumers better manage, protect and control their digital assets and identity, and ultimately provide our customers with greater convenience and a better overall experience,” said Andrew Irvine, head of commercial banking and partnerships at BMO Bank of Montreal, a company currently trialling the secure network in Canada.

Building out the blockchain

IBM’s commitment to blockchain technology is nothing new, given it already has a testing service and has been a big supporter of the Hyperledger Project in order to encourage the creation and growth of a blockchain ecosystem on its Bluemix developer cloud.

Yet, the release of an enterprise-standard blockchain service is an indication that IBM is keen to push the technology beyond a research and development stage and into the hands for companies working in the financial service sector and beyond.

And Big Blue’s timing is apt given there is a growing interest and appetite behind adopting blockchain technologies to secure data and enable batter transactions between organisation in a host of industries.

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