Business on the Blockchain: IBM – EP. 002

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5 min read

One of the leading tech innovators is looking to do business on the blockchain!

IBM has been around since 1911, when it was incorporated as International Business Machines. Obviously they didn’t have computers back then, but IBM specialized in general business machines. As time progressed they were constantly able to adapt to the changing technological climate. They have been able to constantly adapt and survive in a cut throat space, creating subsidiaries to take advantage of new technology. Find out how IBM is dipping their toe into the blockchain space! Check out our video, or read about it below!

So you have a well established company that has had success for over a century? How did they stay relevant? They constantly adapted to the times. IBM has become a chameleon of sorts, able to keep up with the constantly changing technological climates. IBM showing interest in blockchain is a big deal, and they have made a clear, public commitment to the technology.

IBM is a prominent member of Hyperledger, a consortium of businesses and governments organized by the Linux Foundation. Hyperledger is an open source, collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies. Like the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, you have some industry leaders looking to investigate how blockchain technology can disrupt, not just one, but several industries.

It would be fair to say that IBM has positioned itself as a major player in Hyperledger. Their size, willingness to innovate, and transparency in what they are trying to achieve has positioned themselves to be one of the key innovators in the enterprise blockchain space.

IBM & Blockchain-as-a-Service

The IBM Blockchain Platform provides a managed, full stack blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) offering delivery through the IBM Cloud, a system which many businesses already rely upon. Hyperledger members are looking towards private blockchains to provide efficient, legal solutions for many issues facing business.

Instead of every transaction being visible and identities of the parties being protected, private blockchains have the parties defined, but the transacted data is obscured and only available to those with the appropriate private key.

Here are the key changes they are making to the traditional public blockchain to make it work better for business:

1) When transactions are committed to the ledger, they should not be removed or changed by the actions of a single party. Information appended to the blockchain will not change unless updated with another transaction. In other words you have permanent information on the blockchain, but it can be changed by permissioned parties by executing a new, edited transaction.

2) Trust isn’t based on anonymity.  Participants to business networks should be known to the network for obvious reasons. You may want to know who you are doing business with. Because of KYC regulations, some businesses are required by law to know who they are doing business with.

3) Even though the participants are public, they likely have communication or data that they don’t want seen by anyone outside of the company, for competitive and legal reasons. Businesses require full confidence that both their transaction data and the transactions themselves are confidential. A private blockchain provides the efficiency and security that businesses require, with the flexibility that allows private data to remain in the right hands. IBM will help companies build and govern their own their own networks, priming it to be a top Blockchain-as-a-Service competitor.

Some of the applications in the works

The practical applications that IBM is exploring are numerous, they see this technology impacting several industries.

IBM and Walmart are exploring how to make food sourcing and distribution safer by creating a permissioned, transparent supply chain, ensuring increased accountability and better food safety.

Northern Trust is looking to automate private equity marketplace with IBM’s help.

And SecureKey is revolutionizing how we can build trusted digital identities via the blockchain.

The strategy is already being implemented, and the use cases are there. Since IBM is providing the tech for these companies, they have the opportunity to disrupt several industries. The company has taken a proactive approach to the technology, priming them to be a leader in business on the blockchain.


Business on the Blockchain is a new series aimed at keeping you up to date on all of the big business moves towards blockchain technology. More and more businesses are exploring cryptocurrencies and blockchain, and we’re here to help you understand how some of these businesses are making this transition. It’s an exciting time for blockchain adoption, check out which businesses are jumping onto the wave!

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