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What is blockchain and AI?

"Blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI)" refers to the convergence of these two technologies, which brings new value to business through authenticity, augmentation and automation.

What is blockchain?

Blockchain is a shared, immutable ledger that provides an immediate, shared and transparent exchange of encrypted data simultaneously to multiple parties as they initiate and complete transactions. A blockchain network can track orders, payments, accounts, production and much more. Since permissioned members share a single view of the truth, they gain confidence and trust in their transactions with other businesses, along with new efficiencies and opportunities.

What is AI?

Artificial intelligence (AI) uses computers, data and sometimes machines to mimic the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human mind. AI encompasses the sub-fields of machine learning and deep learning, which use AI algorithms that are trained on data to make predictions or classifications. The benefits of AI include automation of repetitive tasks, improved decision making and a better customer experience.

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Combined values of blockchain and AI

Blockchain’s digital record offers insight into the framework behind AI and the provenance of the data that it is using, addressing the challenge of explainable AI. This insight helps improve trust in data integrity and in the recommendations that AI provides. Using blockchain to store and distribute AI models provides an audit trail, and pairing blockchain and AI can enhance data security. 

AI can rapidly and comprehensively read, understand and correlate data at incredible speed, bringing a new level of intelligence to blockchain-based business networks. By providing access to large volumes of data from within and outside of the organization, blockchain helps AI scale to provide more actionable insights, manage data usage and model sharing, and create a trustworthy and transparent data economy.

AI, automation and blockchain can bring new value to business processes that span multiple parties — removing friction, adding speed and increasing efficiency. For example, AI models embedded in smart contracts that are executed on a blockchain can take the following actions:

  1. Recommend expired products to recall.
  2. Execute transactions — such as re-orders, payments or stock purchases based on set thresholds and events.
  3. Resolve disputes.
  4. Select the most sustainable shipping method.
Use cases for blockchain and AI

Across industries, bringing AI into blockchain delivers new opportunities


AI can help advance almost every field in healthcare, from surfacing treatment insights and supporting user needs to identifying insights from patient data and revealing patterns. With patient data on blockchain, including electronic health records, organizations can work together to improve care while protecting patient privacy.

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Life sciences

Blockchain and AI in the pharmaceutical industry can add visibility and traceability to the drug supply chain while dramatically increasing the success rate of clinical trials. Combining advanced data analysis with a decentralized framework for clinical trials enables data integrity, transparency, patient tracking, consent management and automation of trial participation and data collection.

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Financial services

Blockchain and AI are transforming the financial services industry by enabling trust, removing friction from multiparty transactions and accelerating the speed of transactions. Consider the loan process. Applicants grant consent for access to personal records stored on the blockchain. Trust in the data and automated processes for evaluating the application help drive faster closings and improve customer satisfaction.

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Supply chain

By digitizing a largely paper-based process, making the data shareable and trustworthy, and adding intelligence and automation to execute transactions, AI and blockchain are transforming supply chains across industries and creating new opportunities. For example, a manufacturer can track carbon emissions data at the product or parts level, adding accuracy and intelligence to decarbonization efforts.

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Case studies
IPwe uses AI and blockchain to discover and transact IP

IPwe created the Global Patent Registry (GPR), the world’s first blockchain-powered patent platform to manage intellectual property, increasing visibility and flexibility for both buyers and sellers.

Learn how to bring transparency and liquidity to IP
Heifer International and IBM aiding coffee and cocoa growers

Blockchain technology from IBM Food Trust and powerful AI from the IBM Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture are improving farm-level decision-making and speeding transactions.

See how supply chain insights help farmers get higher prices
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