A number of use cases involving distributed transactions that employ blockchain technologies to create a distributed ledger are now starting to emerge. IBM today announced it is launching an IBM Blockchain Founder Accelerator program to help organizations develop pilot projects using blockchain technologies.
New additions to the IBM blockchain portfolio announced at the WIRED Money 2017 conference include a Document Store to store and control documents in a way that can be validated; a Provenance Engine that provides a history of digital and physical assets; a Process Engine for workflow orchestration across the blockchain network; and a Member Management and Onboarding tool to enable identity management. Those tools complement Hyperledger Composer, an open source collaboration tool for building blockchain business networks that is overseen by The Linux Foundation.
Jerry Cuomo, vice president of blockchain for IBM, says IBM is looking to partner with companies that want to build a business model around a platform.
“They need to understand the value of having a platform,” says Cuomo.
For example, IBM today announced it is working with the Santiago Stock Exchange in Chile to employ a distributed ledger within a short selling system based on a Securities Lending Blockchain developed by IBM. Previously, IBM revealed it is working with Everledger to bring more transparency to the world’s diamond supply chain.
IBM also revealed it is applying blockchain technologies along with IBM Watson artificial intelligence capabilities to its Supply Chain Business Network. That business network has over 6,000 member companies. Other vertical industries high on the IBM list of potential use cases for blockchain include health care providers implementing wearable devices to monitor patients in a way that doesn’t compromise their privacy.
IBM claims interest in distributed ledgers enabled by blockchain databases is starting to accelerate. IBM today previewed the results of a survey of 3,000 C-level executives that found that 33 percent are already actively engaged or are considering using blockchain. A full 71 percent of those actively using blockchain said they believe industry consortia are playing an important role in advancing blockchain adoption.
Blockchain databases are a challenge to manage at scale. But within a well-defined set of use cases involving applications that don’t need to massively scale, distributed ledgers based on blockchain technology originally developed to support Bitcoin transactions can be employed to either transform an existing business process or enable a new one. The challenge now is finding the least expensive way to foster the development of proof of concepts around which new business models can be wrapped.