Blockchain Technology

There’s a lot of buzz about IBM releasing a most secure enterprise level Blockchain service which is built on The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric platform , hosted on IBM’s cloud platform Bluemix and underpinned by IBM LinuxONE, a Linux server which is heavily influenced by security. But for all those who are not familiar with the Blockchain technology & Hyperledger, these articles goes all over the head. So to properly understand this latest release by IBM you need to understand all these things one by one, so:

What is Blockchain?

IBM blockchain is nothing new but IBM’s step into Blockchain territory. Blockchain is a long-haul concept which was first conceptualized by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 and implemented the following year as a core component of the digital currency bitcoin, where it serves as the public ledger for all transactions.

Blockchain is a shared ledger (a distributed database) to record history of transactions of assets/records across business networks. An asset is called a block, which can be a physical asset (like car, boat, artwork), intangible asset (like license, bond, security, will) or digital asset (like music, images).

IBM stepped into Blockchain with Hyperledger technology to evolve and improve upon earlier forms of blockchain. Earlier forms were 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.

Though the IBM Blockchain is said to be an enterprise ready service but the transparency of the system allows it to be visible to manufacturers to suppliers to distribution network to final end user consumer, and not just to enterprise which gives end to end transparency. This shared ledger capability along with ability to imbue in business rules and business logic presents a great way to increases visibility, accountability and auditability of business transactions in the future and to gain consumer trust.

What is Hyperledger and hyperledger fabric?

Hyperledger is an openly governed community hosted by The Linux Foundation to create an open, standardized, and enterprise-grade distributed ledger framework and code base. It has become a way of organizing open source blockchain projects.

Hyperledger-fabric model

Hyperledger Fabric is an open-source, modular, multi-channel transaction network built and maintained by the Hyperledger community. While leveraging open source best practices, Hyperledger Fabric enables confidentiality and scalability in business environments.

The blockchain is suitable for the recording of events, medical records, and other records management activities, identity management, transaction processing, and proving data provenance.

IBM’s version of Blockchain

IBM declares that its blockchain is highly scalable to incorporate new network members as they join. The system is so advanced that it is able to perform 1,000 transactions per second.

“IBM has applied decades of experience running the world’s largest transaction systems for banks, airlines, governments and retailers, to build the most secure blockchain services for the enterprise,” said Marie Wieck, general manager of IBM Blockchain. “IBM’s blockchain services are built on IBM’s High-Security Business Network and designed for organizations that require blockchain networks that are trusted, open and ready for business.”

IBM Blockchain clientele includes the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Everledger, Maersk, Northern Trust and Walmart.

Jerry Cuomo, VP of blockchain technology at IBM, says his company is offering a set of cloud services to help customers create, deploy and manage blockchain networks. This fits in with IBM’s broader strategy to offer a wide range of cloud services to its customers.

While Cuomo acknowledges that he can’t guarantee that IBM’s blockchain service is unbreachable, he says the company has taken some serious safeguards to protect it. This includes isolating the ledger from the general cloud computing environment, building a security container for the ledger to prevent unauthorized access, and offering tamper-responsive hardware, which can actually shut itself down if it detects someone trying to hack a ledger.

IBM Blockchain for Hyperledger Fabric v1.0 is now available through a beta program on IBM Bluemix. Hyperledger Fabric is also available on Docker Hub as IBM-certified image available for download at no cost.

In related news, IBM and SecureKey Technologies used the conference to announce a new partnership designed to create a new digital identity and attribute sharing network based on IBM Blockchain.

Please post your opinions on the IBM’s move into Blockchain territory in the comments section below.