IBM Announces Blockchain Starter Plan For Enterprises
IBM has announced the release of the Blockchain Platform Starter Plan, an addition to their product suite offering special features for users who are early in their development cycle. The move demonstrates the growing commitment to blockchain by the giant technology firm in an increasingly competitive space.
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Starter Plan Looks to Ease Path to Blockchain Adoption
IBM’s Starter Plan, which was released in beta mode last March, provides the same experience as the Blockchain Platform Enterprise Plan, IBM’s main blockchain service offering. IBM hopes that by making the set-up of blockchain applications easy and low-cost, they will attract enterprises that are curious about the technology yet not ready to make a large commitment up front. It was released around the same time that IBM also created several new blockchain service lines.
The Starter Plan uses the open-source Hyperledger Fabric framework and adds new features to the Enterprise Plan, such as one-click network configuration and GitHub-accessible code samples. All of IBM’s blockchain projects use Hyperledger Fabric, which originated as an open-source project developed in 2015 by the Linux Foundation.
In 2017, a production version of the project, called Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, was released by IBM. It was created from a codebase developed by IBM, Digital Asset Holdings, and others. The Fabric project was later joined by Oracle.
Fierce Competition in the Enterprise Blockchain Space
IBM, nicknamed “Big Blue,” has been a leader in the blockchain-as-a-service space for several years. This week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Walmart and nine other companies were creating a blockchain-based system to track the food supply chain using IBM technology.
The firm has previously announced it was working on food supply chains and digital identity with a group of Canadian banks. In March, it was also reported that 63 of its customers were using blockchains across 400 separate projects.
The firm faces plenty of competition, however. German software giant SAP recently made several blockchain-related announcements, including a new enterprise cloud service and a consortium with six other firms. Oracle also made a similar move back in May, including offering decentralized apps, or dApps.
Microsoft is also selling a blockchain service on its Azure Cloud platform and reportedly has financial firms testing its technology. E-commerce behemoth Amazon launched a similar service in April. Financial startup Corda is also targeting the financial sector.
Startups Also in the Game
Beyond corporate blockchain efforts, there is a galaxy of start-ups working in every sector imaginable. While most of them are running on hope and moonbeams, it’s too early to write them completely out of the game. The Ethereum Enterprise Alliance, for example, has hundreds of members working on multiple implementations.
Additionally, there are plenty of new decentralized networks that have recently been launched or are in the works, like EOS, Tezos, TRON, QTUM, and bitcoin sidechains like RSK. Whether or not one of these startups will be able to gain enterprise or mass user adoption is the million-dollar question in the blockchain space.
What’s your take? Will IBM get the jump on the competition with its new offering?
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