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May 3, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 11:51am

IBM offers blockchain services on cloud

Will work with clients for development of blockchain applications.

By Vinod

Technology giant IBM has launched blockchain services on its cloud platform, joining its peers in offering solutions for emerging technology.

The new services, which are offered on its cloud platform, are also aimed at speeding up the adoption of blockchain technology by global businesses.

The software major said that it has created new cloud services for tamper-resistant, trusted blockchain networks by working with teams of security experts, cryptographers, hardware experts and researchers.

IBM Blockchain vice president Jerry Cuomo said: "Clients tell us that one of the inhibitors of the adoption of blockchain is the concern about security.

"While there is a sense of urgency to pioneer blockchain for business, most organizations need help to define the ideal cloud environment that enables blockchain networks to run securely in the cloud."

The company addresses the security vulnerabilities in blockchain networks in several ways, including cloud services with the highest USFederal Information Processing Standards (FIPS 140-2) and Evaluation Assurance Levels (EAL), IBM said.

The services are aimed at supporting the use of blockchain in government, financial services and healthcare.

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The company is also making the use of IBM’s code, based on the Linux Foundation Hyperledger Project, in any environment easier and providing services on Bluemix, IBM’s cloud platform, to enable developers to build blockchain application fast.

It has opened IBM Garage in New York City this month to work with clients for design and development of applications. It is already working with BNY Mellon to accelerate the development application for securities lending, using a blockchain network to trade and transfer assets.

BNY Mellon CIO Suresh Kumar said: "At BNY Mellon, we are actively exploring blockchain’s potential to better serve our clients and our company.

"With this new initiative, IBM is providing an environment that will allow companies like us to collaborate more easily and more securely and in a more standardized way, which is critical to advancing meaningful use cases for blockchain."

Last month, Microsoft formed a partnership with banks to speed up adoption of blockchain technology in the financial industry.

Blockchains, which are online ledgers to record transactions, have gained prominence following the growing popularity for the digital currency bitcoin. Distributed ledger technology is expected to help in completing financial transactions with greater speed, security, cost-efficiency and transparency compared to the existing system.

IBM Cloud allows businesses to deploy production blockchain networks in minutes and scale to thousands of users. The new cloud services offer an auditable operating environment with comprehensive log data that supports forensics and compliance.

The company said that its tamper-resistant storage of crypto keys and full protection around the cryptographic module detects and responds to unauthorized attempts at physical access.

Besides, the cloud services will allow blockchain peers to run in protected environments to avoid leaks through shared memory or hardware.

NTT DATA director and executive vice president Eiji Ueki said: "Blockchain is a highly innovative and promising technology. However there are a lot of issues to be solved for enterprise systems.

"IBM’s new blockchain cloud service is directly trying to address those issues. We believe this will help accelerate the maturation of blockchain technology."

The beta release of IBM Blockchain on Bluemix offers access to the latest Linux Hyperledger code for developers looking to run blockchain environment quickly to start building applications.

Factom chief architect Paul Snow said: "Bluemix Services make it easy for Factom developers to work with IBM Blockchain code.

"Exploring blockchain technology with IBM is exciting and our approaches are complementary. We are thrilled to see how they will help grow the industry."

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