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Technology / Cloud

Google Cloud Platform Climbs Aboard the Blockchain Train

Google has entered into a partnership with Digital Asset and BlockApps to bring Blockchain offerings onto its Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

New York based Digital Asset already has tie-ups with Accenture, IBM and PwC.

Its inclusion in GCP will allow Google users to build decentralised applications (Dapps) for their enterprise without having to worry about configuring the underlying platform.

It essentially adds a new Dapp building asset to Google’s tool box.

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Dapper Use Cases

The oil and gas (O&G) industry has started to look at Dapps and blockchain to reduce the discrepancies found in payments and logistics.

Currently thousands of freight invoices are sent to O&G companies; these invoices contain pricing, fuel surcharges, detention and ancillary charges. They also travel across the world changing hands a few times.

This changing of hands causes discrepancies appear in the records. O&G are looking at Blockchain technology as it provides a decentralised record of all transactions.

Using a smart contract embedded in the chain, companies can add invoice calculation into the app that takes into account rates, distance travelled and track and trace capabilities.

Blythe Masters, CEO of Digital Asset commented in a released statement that: “We’re partnering with Google Cloud to provide developers with a full stack solution so they can unleash the potential for web-paced innovation in Blockchain.”

“This will reduce the technical barriers to DLT application development by delivering our advanced distributed ledger platform and modelling language to Google Cloud,” he added.

Google Late  To The Chain

Martha Bennett a principal analyst at Forrester told Computer Business Review that: “Google is late to a game in which its competitors have had various offerings for quite a while; also, what’s been announced doesn’t go that far in making it easier for enterprises to get started with blockchain/DLT-based systems.”

She does note though that Google have made some statements that: “indicates that there’s more to come later this year. We’ll have to see that entails – more catch-up, or something the competition doesn’t offer?”

The blockchain is a journal that adds a new block of transactions or information in intervals. Every user holds a copy of the complete chain, thus information can be compared and contrasted to make sure that the new block of information is correct.

A computer is chosen to upload the next block by being the first to solve a computational heavy task, like solving a math equation, this is done by the miners who are often rewarded with a cryptocurrency token for their effort.

BlockApps

BlockApps have also been included into the Google Cloud Platform as a blockchain-as-a-service offering.

Senior Lecturer in Governance of Advanced Information Technologies at the University of Derby, Richard Self told Computer Business Review: “This partnership between BlockApps and Google Cloud Platform is a useful development.

“It will enable enterprises to easily and cheaply experiment with blockchain projects in a range of Enterprise use cases.”

“This experimentation will help to cut through the hype by allowing enterprises to quickly identify the business value that is realistically achievable and situations where the use of Blockchain does not or cannot solve critical business problems or creates new problems.”

Based on the Ethereum protocol, a open source blockchain code, BlockApps will allow GCP developers to build Blockchain Apps and Smart contracts.

Smart Contracts are digital contracts that are stored and actioned within a blockchain.

They can be anything from insurance premiums, property contracts, financial services to crowdfunding agreements.

Due to its decentralised nature the Blockchain takes out the traditional middle person that is required in legal or financial contracts, such as a lawyer or banker.

“Being based on Ethereum, there are likely to be limitations on the complexity of the smart contracts that can be implemented, unless the normal compute costs limit on the size of smart contracts can be changed by the developers,” Richard Self notes.

Martha Bennett analyst at Forrester agrees that: “Ethereum in its current form isn’t that suitable for enterprise use cases, it can’t scale, and it doesn’t support confidentiality; that’s aside from the general lack of maturity.”

“That said, it’s seen as a promising platform, which is why there’s a lot of interest in JP Morgan’s version of Ethereum called Quorum which offers various ways of addressing both the scale (at least to a degree) and confidentiality issues.”

One of the attractions of Ethereum-based networks is the expectation that eventually public and permissioned networks will converge, up to a point,” she states.
This article is from the CBROnline archive: some formatting and images may not be present.

CBR Staff Writer

CBR Online legacy content.