IBM brings blockchain framework to IBM Cloud

Enterprises in financial services, education, and health care see the tremendous potential behind the blockchain technology — the one powering Bitcoin and other digital currencies — but have been held back because of regulatory and data security concerns. IBM took the first step toward making blockchain ready for business with a new framework and service offerings for IBM Cloud.

Blockchain isn’t just for Bitcoins and other digital currencies, as its public ledger system can be used to record any kind of transaction. The ledgers are stored concurrently in multiple locations and the entries are cryptographically signed to prevent anyone from modifying them. Blockchain provides an auditable trail of all the transactions and removes the need for a trusted middleman to oversee them. Consider the benefits for real estate, financial, contracts, and even health care.

But blockchain, as it stands, doesn’t meet regulatory and data security requirements. For example, enterprises have to know everyone involved in the transaction, something that can’t be done with the semi-anonymous nature of public blockchains. IBM’s new framework and blockchain-based cloud services address the specific requirements, such as offering a permissions-based blockchain network with defined user roles.

“Clients tell us that one of the inhibitors of the adoption of blockchain is the concern about security,” said Jerry Cuomo, vice president of blockchain at IBM. “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.”