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IBM clients are speaking out about their blockchain projects and implementations. Over the past several days of IBM InterConnect, I’ve gotten to see how they are reimagining business networks and processes in their industries with this new technology.
Blockchain transforms financial institutions
Distributed and decentralized ledgers are the records of the future. Their shared nature can reduce the paper trail in traditional record-keeping processes. These records are also resistant to tampering because of security features such as permissions and identity, which keep transactions protected and data consistent. Blockchain technology makes all this possible.
A blockchain-based custody business system developed by Postal Savings Bank of China (PSBC) and IBM was the first deployment in China to apply blockchain technology to the financial industry. Dr. HE Guanhua of PSBC and Jim Zhang of IBM discussed the system in their session. Using blockchain, business and process information is shared across the enterprise, reducing processing times and establishing trust for automated inter-agency collaboration. The system went live in October 2016 and more than 100 real business transactions have been executed to date.
In another session, Tooru Kamiyama of Mizuho Bank, along with Naohiko Uramoto and Makoto Kogoh of IBM, discussed best practices for developing blockchain applications based on their experience using the IBM Bluemix Garage Method to create a bill adjustment application that enables payment by virtual currency. The mobile application, which allows an organizer to split a bill between different participants, leverages blockchain application programming interfaces to use The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric. This is just one example of the kind of progress being made in FinTech. Mizuho plans to use the knowledge and skills acquired in the first part of its project to further reimagine transactions in the financial industry.
Mizuho Bank session at IBM InterConnect.
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Blockchain expands into supply chain
A shared ledger can be applied in many areas besides finance. For example, Everledger is using blockchain to track diamonds through the supply chain, from producers to cutters to bankers and insurance companies. The technology is helping stakeholders to ensure the authenticity of diamonds and to recognize fraudulent claims. Check out the replays of the welcome keynote and the blockchain keynote to learn more.
In another industry, Mahindra Group is using blockchain to reimagine the invoice discounting process in the automotive supply chain. In his session, Jaspreet Bindra, Senior Vice President – Digital Transformation, described their proof of concept (POC). By putting invoice-related information on the blockchain, they created a single source of truth that was visible to participants as soon as a car shipped and for its entire life cycle. Other benefits of using blockchain included:
- Ease of integration with the core systems.
- Role-based access and separation of data among different original equipment manufacturers and suppliers.
- Immutability and consensus of recorded transactions for faster conflict resolution.
Now that the supply chain POC has been completed, the production system is in development. But Mahindra isn’t stopping there. The group is developing several other use cases, including one for insurance renewals, another for material procurement linked to delivery and receipt at the manufacturing site, and more.
Blockchain accelerates global trade
As businesses revamp their supply chains with blockchain, global trade will inevitably be affected. Current processes for trading assets internationally are complicated. You’ve got many participants, separated both physically and by regulatory boundaries, and you’ve got disconnected information systems. There’s also a lack of trusted information and participants in the network have security and privacy concerns. Blockchain can break down these barriers by increasing trust, accountability and transparency, enabling untrusted parties to work together. Right now, it is the technology most likely to change the enterprise and the global economy. This potential is being recognized by many IBM clients, including Maersk, Boeing and Walmart.
How will blockchain disrupt your industry?
You’ve seen how business leaders are reimagining their fundamental business processes. Don’t you want to be at the forefront of transformation in your industry? Consider how much easier it would be with a partner like IBM — a company that is focused on developing blockchain in a robust technology environment that is designed to provide security, confidentiality, auditability, reliability and scalability for business. IBM is also committed to keeping blockchain open, and is a founding member of The Hyperledger Project, a community that is helping to build the blockchain frameworks and platforms that can disrupt your industry.
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Since the publication of this post there have been exciting changes. Hyperledger Fabric v1.0 Beta is now available to the public. Sign up here to help shape Hyperledger Fabric and to learn more.
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