January 15, 2016 | Written by: John Palfreyman
Categorized: Defence & Intelligence
In my Blockchain for Government post I explained that there is much hype around Blockchain, mostly about how it underpins the bitcoin cryptocurrency. IBM has recently made some bold moves to facilitate the cross industry application of Blockchain technology to build shared ledger solutions for the Internet age.
What is Blockchain? Business – and Governments – never operate in isolation. They are participants in a business network. Ownership of assets pass across the network in return for payments, governed by contracts. Network participants keep their own ledger to record all assets they own and updated on asset transfer. A novel emerging alternative is the Blockchain architecture. This gives participants the ability to share a ledger which is updated every time a transaction occurs through peer to peer replication.
Late last year, the Linux Foundation announced the Open Ledger Project with IBM as a founder member and the bold goal of “transforming the way business transactions are conducted around the world”. This project will use well tried & tested open source, open governance development methods to build an open standards compliant Blockchain foundation. [Confused about all these “open” words? follow this link].
Figure 1 – Open Blockchain  Project Scope
We are also committed to helping our customers explore business cases for Blockchain exploitation – addressing the upper two layers in Figure 1 – and how these can be realised in practice. This is an incremental, easy to access approach to make Blockchain real for business as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2 – Making Blockchain Real
The Conversation ensures a shared understanding of what Blockchain is, and what it can and cannot do. We also explore Blockchain’s suitability to the particular business challenge that our customer has in mind. We then progress to a live demonstration which shows the Blockchain working in an easy to understand vehicle leasing use case. The one day Proof of Technology then provides a dive deeper into the technology and demonstration – giving customers hands on experience with configuring our standard demonstrator. The First Project starts with a two day Design Thinking workshop where we define the use case in detail and plan an iterative, agile development of a deliverable finite scale solution to the business challenge. This is then realised through a number of agile development steps, which can extend into full production usage and enterprise integration.
Agree, disagree, disinterested? I’d much appreciate an active debate on this topic! Contact me through leaving a comment, twitter or LinkedIn!
Note  Open Blockchain Project is also referred to “Hyperledger Project”
- Useful short animation to understand IBM’s interest and role in Blockchain.
- Fortune article on Open Ledger Project announcement, December 2015