Think 2018 presents...

Up close with blockchain technology

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Think 2018 is IBM’s flagship conference where thinkers like you come together to innovate and educate—making the world of business work smarter. Together we will explore the journey to cloud and AI, blockchain, security, and Infrastructure discovering partnerships that unlock business and human potential.

In the first of our 4 week series we first look at blockchain and how our attendees will experience this game changing technology at Think 2018.

What is blockchain? It’s a shared, immutable ledger for recording the history of transactions. It fosters a new generation of transitional applications that establish trust, accountability, and transparency—from contracts to deeds to payments.

IBM brings you the experts in blockchain so you can learn and experience it for yourself. Read on to learn about where you can find IBM Blockchain at Think 2018.



Blockchain and those flowers you sent your mother
Featured blockchain sessions
Blockchain speakers
Blockchain at Think Academy
Experience blockchain


Blockchain and those flowers you sent to your mother

Ordering flowers on Mother’s Day seems like a simple enough transaction.

You call up a florist or go to a website, choose from the available arrangements, and let them know what you’d like written in the card.

You give them your credit card details, and they make sure the flowers get to your mom on time. What you may not know is how complex the journey can be for those flowers before they get anywhere near the florist making them into beautiful bouquets for you to buy and send.

In a recent test by Maersk, the world’s largest shipping container firm, one container of flowers was tracked from Kenya to the Netherlands.

The journey from the Port of Mombasa to the Port of Rotterdam resulted in a stack of nearly 200 communications along the way. Those participating in the shipment process include the growers, export authorities, ports, customs, and import authorities.

Each of these participants needs to know the status of the shipment, just as you want consistent access to the status of your Mother’s Day delivery.

Shipping from the Port of Mombasa requires signatures from three separate agencies approving the export and six documents explaining the origin, chemical treatments, quality of the flowers, and customs duties.

And that’s before the flowers even begin their voyage to the Netherlands!

Now, thanks to blockchain, all of those documents can come together into one streamlined, trusted, and easy-to-follow system that can be viewed by all participants. Inspections, approvals, and every point of communication is tracked and updated for all to see. Every bit of documentation and each signature can be accessed, and no point of data can be changed.

So the next time you order flowers—or eat a tomato, or buy jewelry, or sign a contract online, or collaborate with coworkers in your favorite document-sharing programs—you can be sure that companies at the forefront of blockchain technologies like IBM are working to make all of your interactions simpler, safer, and more efficient.

With countless examples like these, many of which will be shared by industry leaders at Think, it’s becoming increasingly important to understand why blockchain is nowand will remainimportant to all types of businesses around the world for years to come.

Featured Blockchain sessions

Come learn how blockchain is changing the way people live, work, and play all over the world. Listed here are just some of the comprehensive sessions that can help you master blockchain at Think. Use the Watson Session Explorer to add any of these talks to your Think 2018 agenda.

Explore with Watson Session Expert

Blockchain keynote:
Transforming industries with blockchain

Join the blockchain keynote to hear from clients and first movers on how they’re working with their partners and industries to bring trust, efficiency, and transparency to their ecosystems. Discover how they got started and how they developed the platform, expertise, and ecosystem required to create production networks that provide business value. Learn about best practices for building a blockchain for enterprise, exciting announcements from IBM Blockchain, and discover how to put blockchain to work for your business.

Reinvention core session:
Building a digital platform with blockchain to create new services

Hampered by slow, inefficient processes for transactions and settlement, industry leaders have begun to build active blockchain networks to change their fundamental business interactions and reduce the cost of providing services and products to customers. First-to-market innovators are digitizing claims and simplifying processes to streamline the most fundamental interactions in their business networks. Join this session with clients and first movers and hear how they’ve implemented blockchain to build a digital platform.

Best practice studio:
Mizuho Financial Group is revolutionizing the world of trade finance using IBM Blockchain

Mizuho Financial Group is working with IBM to conduct actual trade transactions based on Hyperledger Fabric—a blockchain framework implementation and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by the Linux Foundation. The project exchanges digitized letters of credit for actual trade transactions between Japan and overseas clients. As the letter of credit is digitally shared among parties including importers, exporters, and their banks, the goal is to simplify the associated document creation and exchange processes, which traditionally have been time- and paper-intensive. Also, the system will allow all parties to view the latest shipment status data, ultimately resulting in reduced trade transaction and processing costs. Learn all about this important work, meet the team behind it, and get your questions answered at Think 2018.

User experience session:
Help evaluate a healthcare-centric sample to get up-and-running on IBM Blockchain Platform

Join IBM Blockchain expert Richard LaRose in this healthcare-centric session where you can evaluate industry-based samples to get a better feel for what blockchain for business is all about. You’ll walk away understanding how the IBM Blockchain Platform works to streamline even the most carefully regulated industries.

Innovation Talk:
How blockchain will radically transform the economy

In this talk, researcher Bettina Warburg will explain how blockchain is about to change everything—including how blockchain eliminates the need for centralized institutions to facilitate trade, evolving age-old models of commerce and finance into a distributed, transparent, autonomous system for exchanging value.

Find out more about blockchain expert Bettina Warburg in our Speakers section below.

Blockchain speakers

Our visionary speakers are overcoming society’s most daunting challenges with a mix of technical prowess and real-world insights — and they’ll show you how to do the same.

Think with the world’s brightest

Bridget Van Kralingen
SVP, IBM Industry Platforms

bridget-kralingenBridget van Kralingen leads IBM Global Industry Platforms, delivering disruptive cloud-based solutions that advance key industries and establish IBM as leader in blockchain. Industry Platforms has financial services offerings that help banks and financial markets firms contend with rising regulation and reduce spend on risk and compliance processes. It has established a core insurance processing platform with MetLife and Majesco. These capabilities are on the IBM Financial Services cloud, complemented by industry-specific APIs, data, and analytical models.

Bridget’s team has contributed to the open source HyperLedger Fabric, created a high security IBM Blockchain Platform for clients to build and operate blockchains, and has had more than 400 enterprise blockchain engagements. For example, IBM is collaborating with Walmart and other global food companies to make the food supply chain safer by putting it on IBM Blockchain. Bridget’s mandate includes leading IBM’s 12 Global Industries and building solutions specific to industry needs. She is responsible for IBM’s global strategic partnerships including Apple, SAP, Workday, and Salesforce.

Marie Wieck
General Manager, IBM Blockchain

marie-wieckIn her more than 25 years with IBM, Marie has held a variety of technical and executive roles in IBM’s hardware, software, and services units. She is passionate about innovation from diverse teams and driving business impact from new technologies.

In January 2017, Marie was named into her current position as general manager of Blockchain, which is poised to transform business processes and transactions. Marie is responsible for IBM’s participation in the Hyperledger project and in building an open blockchain ecosystem for developers and service providers, and to create and run enterprise blockchain networks and solutions.

Bettina Warburg
Co-founder, Animal Ventures

bettina-warburgBettina Warburg is Co-founder of Animal Ventures, an agency of innovation that partners other “Animals” to create, implement, and invest in some of the most exciting and transformative technologies. AV educates the world’s leading executives, and together they rapidly design, prototype, and build new ideas. They live to nurture, from the ground up, some of the greatest companies on earth. Animal Ventures focuses on verticals such as Blockchain, Digital Media, Artificial and Augmented Intelligence, Supply Chain Technologies, and Connected Devices.

In 2016, Bettina was invited by TED to be one the first speakers ever to unpack the topic of blockchain to a global audience. Her TED Talk has been viewed by over 2 million people. She has given talks at—and curated for—conferences such as TED, CreditSuisse Latin American Investment Conference, Smart Cities, Merck & Co’s Annual Technology Innovation Conference, the Skoll World Forum, Salzburg Global Seminar, San Francisco’s City Innovate Summit, and numerous other conferences and universities around the world. Bettina’s work has been cited in publications such as Wired Magazine, BBC News, The Atlantic, the Center for Public Impact,, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Blockchain at Think Academy

$1000s worth of value in training, certifications, labs, and expert talks. Become an expert and learn about the technology that is changing the way the world works.

Reimagine learning with Think Academy

Ask Me Anything:

Get answers to your business’s specific challenges in an Ask Me Anything with blockchain expert Matthew Lucas of Global Blockchain Engagement, IBM Industry Platform. He’ll be available at the DevZone to answer all your questions.

Lunch and Learn:

You can also meet with Matthew and other blockchain experts at our Lunch and Learns. These informal discussions are your chance to get advice, talk about solving your specific business needs, and learn all about what’s next for blockchain in your industry.

Labs can be fun too. Learn more about what makes blockchain the technology you can’t afford to miss in these interactive experiences:

  • Blockchain: We found the missing link! It’s rules! Come and experience why and how!
  • Hands-on blockchain application development using Hyperledger Composer
  • Digital process automation with BPM and blockchain

Learn more about how blockchain is transforming the diamond industry in this informative video from Think Academy.

Experience blockchain

Bringing blockchain to the coffee bean

Through a cohesive experience of both a physical space and interactive demonstration, IBM Blockchain will invite customers on the journey of coffee from bean to cup to demonstrate the ways a blockchain network can bring simplicity to the complex world we live in.

In this interactive game that will be featured at Think 2018, you can learn about IBM Blockchain and the power of a blockchain network firsthand. It will teach you about growing the business network among other attendees as well as building trust, tracking down provenance, maintaining privacy, and achieving efficiency through smart contracts.



We can’t wait to show you Think 2018

Watch Think 2018 on demand and learn all about the ways your business can put smart to work. We hope you enjoy the keynotes, interviews, and sessions, and we can’t wait to see you in San Francisco in 2019!


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