IBM Contributes Thousands of Lines of Code to Blockchain Efforts

by Ostatic Staff - Feb. 17, 2016

As we've reported, if you ask some people, they'll tell you that the concept of the Blockchain is as dramatic as the creation of the Internet. Recently, I covered the news that a group of top technology and finance companies including IBM, Wells Fargo and the London Stock Exchange Group, are partnering and working with The Linux Foundation to advance blockchain technology, which is central to how many businesses process transactions.

The Linux Foundation announced that the project will develop an enterprise grade, open source distributed ledger framework and developers wil be invited to focus on building industry-specific applications, platforms and hardware systems to support business transactions. This has major implications for financial institutions and even the PayPals and Apple Pays of the world. Now, IBM has announced announced that it’s open-sourcing a whole load of Blockchain code on GitHub. It's yet another promising sign that Blockchain efforts will leverage the open source community.

IBM is a member of the Linux-based Hyperledger project, where the code will reside, and, notably, the company is offering Blockchain-as-a-Service. Through the service, Big Blue says you can spin up a test blockchain network in one click and try out the IBM Blockchain Devops service. "Spend less time worrying about creating and managing a blockchain network and more time focusing on applications," the company claims.

What IBM is doing is essentially Blockchain in the cloud, which is a smart move. On a similar front, Wired notes the following regarding Microsoft:

"In the fall, Microsoft unveiled a service that revolves around a blockchain alternative called Ethereum, and it plans on building a similar service using yet another alternative called Ripple. Microsoft claims that developers can start using the software in less than 20 minutes."

"But these cloud services represent just a small part of the blockchain movement."

 The Open Ledger Initiative (OLI), overseen by The Linux Foundation, is a blockchain effort that we all should watch. Here is what IBM has to say:

"Blockchain is a technology for a new generation of transactional applications that establishes trust, accountability and transparency while streamlining business processes. Think of it as an operating system for interactions. It has the potential to vastly reduce the cost and complexity of getting things done. It’s essential for blockchain technology to be developed following the open source model so a critical mass of organizations will coalesce around it—and reap its full benefits."

"Blockchain got its start several years ago as a key ingredient of Bitcoin, the crypto currency, but, it turns out, the technology can make a difference whenever valuable assets are transferred from one party to another. At its essence, blockchain is a distributed ledger shared via a peer-to-peer network. Each participant has a copy of the ledger’s data, and additions or changes to the chain are propagated throughout the network—but only after the parties in the transaction agree on it. This approach enables participants to dispense with a great deal of reviewing and verifying that adds to the cost and time it takes to complete transactions."

 The Linux Foundation's effort has a surprising amount of backers, given its youth. Early commitments have come from Accenture, ANZ Bank, Cisco, CLS, Credits, Deutsche Börse, Digital Asset Holdings, DTCC, Fujitsu Limited, IC3, IBM, Intel, J.P. Morgan, London Stock Exchange Group, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), R3, State Street, SWIFT, VMware and Wells Fargo.

 "One of the more intriguing blockchain applications is supply chain management. That’s relevant to nearly every business and government agency," adds an IBM post. "Imagine supply chains where blockchain is put to work. An aircraft manufacturer, for example, might create a blockchain-based system for holistically managing all of its relationships with suppliers of parts and components. All of the suppliers will share the exact same information about a new aircraft model–every step in the process of planning, designing, assembling, delivering and maintaining it. At the same time, the manufacturer will use other blockchain-based systems for managing the financial relationships and transactions connected to each step. Thanks to blockchain, trust and accountability are built into supply chains."