IBM offers cloud-based service, goes all in on blockchain


Tech giant IBM is betting big on blockchain secure-records technology taking off beyond its traditional use in bitcoin and other financial transactions. The company is now offering a cloud-based service to allow developers to set up blockchain networks and test and deploy related apps.

IBM announced a flurry of blockchain-related initiatives, including developer services hosted on its Bluemix cloud. Developers can access DevOps tools to create, deploy and monitor blockchain applications on the IBM cloud. Blockchains, such as the public ledger of bitcoin transactions, are distributed records of events, each block in the record containing a computational “hash” of itself and of the previous block, like links in a chain. Blockchains make it difficult to modify or fake past transactions because such a change would require the modifications to be made on all subsequent blocks.

Jerry Cuomo, vice president of blockchain technologies said “Using a cloud services like IBM’s, “in 12 seconds, a developer could have their own mini blockchain sandbox running. A minute or so after that, they can have their first blockchain sample application up and running.”

IBM’s Bluemix cloud service also offers integration with other technologies that developers “can start mashing up” into their blockchain apps, added Jerry. “You can build mobile front ends; you can build APIs to the blockchain.”

IBM predicts companies will begin using blockchain technology in several new ways, driving up the demand for easy ways to test and deploy related apps. IBM’s Watson Internet of Things platform will allow RFID sensors, barcode scanners and other devices to be used with its blockchain technology, the company revealed.

The blockchain would be “a shared single source of truth” that the insurance vendor could use to establish fault, added Jerry.

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