March 24, 2021 By Porter Stowell
Don Thibeau
4 min read

Calls for interoperability began almost as soon as the second blockchain framework was built. Today there are permissioned blockchains (like The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric) which are preferred for many enterprises solutions, public blockchains for cryptocurrencies, and emerging blockchain identity frameworks that hold great promise for streamlining transactions in nearly every industry.

In the world of enterprise blockchain, why should we make blockchain users choose only one framework when they can get the benefits of leveraging multiple frameworks? The IBM Blockchain Platform is proud to announce our Tech Preview with Hedera Hashgraph, representing a step towards increased interoperability for enterprise blockchain networks looking for the transparency of public but privacy of permissioned networks.

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Since IBM entered the enterprise blockchain space in 2015, we’ve proudly worked to design our offerings to lead in both flexibility and security. IBM is continuously looking to improve the quality of options available to each of our customer’s in their approach to blockchain. There is no one size fits all model. Blockchain has and always will be a team sport and no company, not even IBM, can do it all themselves. Innovation is inevitable and if our bets on blockchain were correct, innovation would come from everywhere.

The importance of the ecosystem is what led us to join the Hedera Governing Council for Hedera Hashgraph back in 2019. Since we began our relationship with Hedera, they have done nothing but deliver valuable innovations that support and enhance capabilities within the enterprise blockchain space. We are thrilled with this Tech Preview to take another step forward in our relationship.

What is the interoperability Tech Preview about?

The inventor of sliced bread didn’t invent slicing nor did they invent bread. Our Tech Preview is more of a use case on the importance and value of public consensus derived from the use of the Hedera Consensus Service working on top of the IBM Blockchain Platform built on top of Hyperledger Fabric for permissioned transaction processing. Combined, we are seeing clients take accountability, auditability, and trust to the next level.

For example, Standard Bank is looking at this public/private hybrid approach to ensure that all the banks in South Africa can participate in digital currencies with the additional benefit of giving regulators immutable proof of the data they require to ensure regulatory compliance while protecting user privacy. This architecture could be used to issue stablecoins, interact with central bank digital currencies, and improve efficiencies across financial services for both banks and their customers. All with interoperability top of mind.

We have four blockchains in production at the moment, private permissioned blockchains on the IBM Blockchain Platform … and you know when I look at what a public-private hybrid really allows for it’s a use case that is about auditability, network growth, and participation in a lot of respects.” – Ian Putter, Heald of DLT/Blockchain at Standard Bank Group, South Africa

Aside from banking, there are other use cases where a hybrid blockchain approach works well. Take a look at Hala Systems who with their Sentry solution has enabled citizens to report data from within conflict zones which can be used to create a verifiable evidence store of alleged human rights violations. Citizen protection solutions in war torn regions are using a combination of citizens and sensors, monitoring potentially dangerous situations and providing alerts and warnings to civilian populations. It is important for sentry solutions to support public information gathering while protecting the identity of the submitter.

Without being able to submit reports anonymously, the public would face retribution at the hands of those they may be reporting on. Hala’s blockchain solution maintains meticulous records that could be used to help identify wrongdoers or rogue militias for potential future prosecution.

“Hala Systems chose to use Hedera for establishing verifiable proofs of this data capture by individuals which metadata can then be stored on a distributed ledger.” – Bellamy Hanoian, Director of Engineering at Hala Systems

The value of trust and auditability in blockchain

What both of these examples have in common was that public trust and auditability were value differentiators. How else can Standard Bank get competing banks and regulatory bodies to buy in? How else could Hala Systems ensure the record of potential war crimes wouldn’t be erased, or tampered with while being stored in a centralized database? In each case, a hybrid model creates a significant advantage over the next best alternative.

If you see the value in a permissioned + public hybrid approach as we do, we’d love to hear from you. In fact, you can get started today! The technical experts at both Hedera Hashgraph and IBM Blockchain Platform are excited to learn more about the problems in auditability and trust that you are addressing.

There is no better way to learn more about how this works than to attend our Tech Preview launch webinar and hear directly from our clients at Standard Bank and Hala Systems.

Register now to view the on-demand replay of our webinar.

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