10 Things to Know About IBM’s Blockchain Ecosystem

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-12-08
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    10 Things to Know About IBM’s Blockchain Ecosystem
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    10 Things to Know About IBM’s Blockchain Ecosystem

    IBM has introduced a new online ecosystem to encourage enterprises to develop innovative business applications for blockchain database technology.
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    IBM Is Targeting ‘Innovators’
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    IBM Is Targeting ‘Innovators’

    IBM’s blockchain ecosystem is designed for “innovators,” the company said Dec. 7 in a statement. Those innovators include venture capitalists, startups, system integrators, independent software vendors and enterprise developers that want to build networks, according to IBM. The networks they create can be used by other companies to link their operations and improve efficiencies.
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    It’s All About Blockchain App Creation
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    It’s All About Blockchain App Creation

    The goal for IBM’s blockchain ecosystem is to help corporate innovators create apps that use blockchain. Those apps would be used by companies across several different industries to help them track medical records, business transactions, industrial production data and more. All the apps would rely on the blockchain to deliver their features.
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    What Is Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric v1.0?
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    What Is Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric v1.0?

    All of IBM’s programs are designed to support the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric v1.0, a platform for enterprises to get access to blockchain technology. While Hyperledger Fabric has been in the works for quite some time, version 1.0 focuses on security and scalability. Companies that use the platform will find it can handle sophisticated transactions and keep track of an ever-growing set of records. Plus, it has several security features to prevent hackers from accessing and modifying data. Since it’s a Linux Foundation platform, the community is encouraged to contribute code to improve Hyperledger Fabric.
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    IBM Is Providing Training, Tools for Blockchain
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    IBM Is Providing Training, Tools for Blockchain

    To get the innovators thinking about and developing ways to use IBM’s blockchain ecosystem, the company says it will have a “Hyperledger Fabric” channel on the Slack cloud collaboration platform that provides technical support. In addition, IBM says it will provide education and tools for the innovators to get started and offer online courses and learning modules through its site.
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    Understanding the IBM Blockchain Ecosystem
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    Understanding the IBM Blockchain Ecosystem

    The IBM blockchain ecosystem is designed to be an open platform on which companies can network and collaborate on their blockchain and the Hyperledger Fabric integration. This means IBM isn’t providing the platform on which companies will create blockchain networks; rather, it has created a place on the internet where companies work together to accelerate their use of blockchain.
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    The Industries Most in Need
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    The Industries Most in Need

    In a statement, IBM noted several industries that might benefit from blockchain networks. Chief among those industries are financial services, supply chains and health care. IBM also believes companies working in the internet of things market and risk management businesses also could benefit from blockchain networks.
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    IBM Has Several Partners, but Wants More
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    IBM Has Several Partners, but Wants More

    To kick off its ecosystem, IBM announced that several partners have signed on to its service. Those companies include platform-as-a-service company Cloudsoft and Mobile commerce technology company Gliding Eagle. IBM has also been able to sign on regulatory compliance company Netki and a venture capital studio named The Hive. IBM says it plans to add many more companies as time goes on.
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    IBM Wants to Play a Central Role in Business Networking
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    IBM Wants to Play a Central Role in Business Networking

    IBM says any blockchain-based operation is a “network business” and needs an ecosystem where companies can “share tools, information and relationships.” The ecosystem, in other words, is a way for companies to work together to improve their businesses through blockchain networks. IBM believes the center of business networking is where it can make the biggest impact.
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    IBM Blockchain Connect-A-Thon Slated
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    IBM Blockchain Connect-A-Thon Slated

    In a bid to attract more companies to blockchain and Hyperledger Fabric, IBM announced a “connect-a-thon” for Dec. 17. That day, IBM will be working with companies to set them up on Hyperledger Fabric v1.0 and get them using blockchain. The companies then will be part of the IBM blockchain ecosystem and can start accepting secure and confidential transactions that will be tallied by the blockchain.
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    A Look at an IBM Ecosystem Participant
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    A Look at an IBM Ecosystem Participant

    According to IBM, Ernst & Young is using blockchain to help its clients use the technology in their businesses. Ernst & Young could be a particularly valuable blockchain ecosystem partner in the field of financial and professional services.
 

IBM is working to get enterprises to adopt blockchain database technology that the company says will bring innovative, new ways to manage data. Blockchain is, at its simplest, a digital ledger. More specifically, blockchain is a distributed database with a series of records called blocks. As more records are added, they’re timestamped and linked to each other. While Bitcoin is the best example of a technology that uses a blockchain, many companies believe it also could be employed in medical, financial and manufacturing industries. IBM is perhaps the biggest promoter of blockchain technology and on Dec. 7 it announced a new ecosystem aimed at getting enterprises to use blockchain in ways that could change how they process their business transactions. Several companies already have signed on to the ecosystem, and IBM plans to add more in the coming months. Still, there are many questions about IBM’s blockchain ecosystem and how it might impact the enterprise. This slide show will discuss blockchain in more detail and why IBM sees so much potential in it.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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