IBM announced Wednesday a blockchain ecosystem to help accelerate the creation of blockchain networks. Blockchain has the potential to transform the way industries conduct business transactions and require a complete ecosystem of industry players working together, allowing businesses to benefit from the network effect of blockchain.
The IBM blockchain ecosystem brings together a range of people and companies interested in building and leveraging blockchain solutions and provides them with special benefits and resources to tap into this exciting new space. They receive access to blockchain technical expertise, discussions, meetups and benefits such as migration support and merchandising their solution.
The blockchain ecosystem program is designed for innovators looking to build real networks — venture capitalists (VCs), start-ups, systems integrators (SI), independent software vendors (ISV) and enterprise developers. To support these diverse organizations, IBM will provide education and tools aimed to reduce the time required to go from idea to execution.
Blockchain is a shared, immutable ledger for recording the history of transactions. It fosters a new generation of transactional applications that establish trust, accountability and transparency.
IBM Blockchain has joined The Hyperledger Project to evolve and improve upon earlier forms of blockchain. Instead of having a blockchain that is reliant on the exchange of cryptocurrencies with anonymous users on a public network (e.g. Bitcoin), a blockchain for business provides a permissioned network, with known identities, without the need for cryptocurrencies.
The Hyperledger Project enables communities of software developers to collaborate on building blockchain frameworks and platforms in a manner that encourages transparency, longevity, interoperability and the support required to bring blockchain technologies forward to mainstream commercial adoption.
Hyperledger Fabric provides a foundation for developing blockchain solutions with a modular architecture, pluggable implementations, and container technology. While leveraging open source best practices, Hyperledger Fabric enables confidentiality, scalability, and security in business environments. Many companies are working together to build an open blockchain fabric that can support production business networks—testing interactions between applications and secure blockchain networks for use cases including supply chain, capital markets, manufacturing, and healthcare.
The IBM blockchain ecosystem is an open environment where organizations can collaborate on shared or complementary technical and business visions using the Hyperledger Fabric, and access education and development support. As blockchain is a network business, an environment where all interested parties can share tools, information and relationships is critical. Start-ups, ISVs and SIs are investing in blockchain and have adopted the Hyperledger Fabric.
IBM blockchain professionals will hold “office hours” via the Hyperledger Fabric Slack channel providing support to developers and help with troubleshooting. This is in addition to the courses and learning modules for business users and developers already available on developerWorks. These will be augmented with code libraries, smart contract templates and tools currently in development to speed the creation of blockchain apps.
These programs are designed to support the Linux Foundation Hyperledger Fabric v1.0 and the IBM Blockchain platform which is expected to transform the way blockchain networks transact, opening up new possibilities for development. The Hyperledger Fabric v1.0 will provide a modular approach, much like the network-of-networks model of the internet.
“The future growth and adoption of blockchain is reliant upon building a strong ecosystem. Business networks will only reach critical mass when innovators, industry experts and infrastructure providers come together in new ways to reinvent how business transactions happen,” said Bridget Van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Industry Platforms. “The growing maturity of the Hyperledger Project code is a major milestone. That’s why IBM is investing to help developers accelerate the creation of blockchain networks by providing an environment where these players can work together.”