For a long time in the blockchain space, we have seen a wide range of financial and non-financial applications as well as an array of promising companies leveraging the distributed ledger technology. Blockchain certainly doesn’t suffer from the lack of attention from banks and entrepreneurs, which explains the pace of adoption and experimentation.
Not only banks but former pure tech players like IBM and Microsoft are also exploring the opportunities blockchain presents. Let's look at three examples of BaaS solutions taking enterprise-grade experimentation with blockchain to a whole new level.
Ethereum Blockchain as a Service by Microsoft Azure
In November 2015, Microsoft and ConsenSys entered a partnership to create Ethereum blockchain as a service (EBaaS) on Microsoft Azure. The service is aimed to empower corporate clients, partners and developers to experiment with distributed ledger technology by offering them “a single-click, cloud-based blockchain developer environment.”
Image source: “Introducing: Ethereum Blockchain as a Service (EthBaaS)”
According to the official website, EBaaS by Microsoft Azure and ConsenSys allows parties to play, learn and fail fast at a low cost in a ready-made dev/test/production environment. In addition to the opportunity to experiment, it allows them to create private-, public- and consortium-based blockchain environments using industry-leading frameworks very quickly, distributing their blockchain products with Azure’s World Wide distributed (private) platform.
Cortana Analytics (machine learning), Power BI, Azure Active Directory, O365 and CRMOL that accompany the service can be integrated into apps in order to create the next generation of decentralized cross-platform applications.
Commenting on the importance of the technology across industries beyond banking, Marley Gray, Director, BizDev & Strategy, Cloud and Enterprise at Microsoft, said, “The benefits of a distributed ledger ecosystem extend far beyond the financial services sector. In the public sector, a secure, distributed ledger can provide more openness and transparency, and transform services and processes including licensing, personal identification, voting records, utilities, benefits management, and more. Industries such as retail and manufacturing can benefit from better supply chain management, smart contract platforms and digital currencies, and tighter cybersecurity.”
Rubix by Deloitte
Rubix provides solutions for clients to understand and capture the power of blockchain for their businesses. The solution allows to prototype, test and build customized blockchain and smart contract application for any use case.
As Inbae Ahn, Managing Partner at AdelphaTech Software Inc, commented, "Rubix is to blockchain what AWS is to infrastructure. We can build blockchain-based apps more rapidly on Rubix because its blockchain as a service API allows us to focus on user experience and business domain.”
Rubix’s customized blockchain architecture is designed to be a fully functional private network that can be managed and administered for an organization’s needs. Rubix blockchains have a variety of powerful and customizable features and settings which are aimed to be used in enterprise environments.
IBM Blockchain on Bluemix
In February 2016, IBM has made nearly 44,000 lines of code available to the Linux Foundation’s open-source Hyperledger Project to help developers easily build secure distributed ledgers that can be used to exchange almost anything of value.
Launching the new service, IBM was intended to help developers create and manage blockchain networks to power a new class of distributed ledger applications. According to IBM’s announcement, developers can create digital assets and accompanying business logic to more securely and privately transfer assets among members of a permissioned blockchain test network. IBM has built its service on its open standards cloud applications platform Bluemix.
According to the WSJ, IBM “is becoming the biggest backer of a technology that underpins the bitcoin digital currency. In the coming year, IBM will begin testing its own variation on the transactional software known as blockchain, aiming to simplify life for customers who lease IBM’s computer hardware.”
London Stock Exchange Group and the Finnish business development organization, Kouvola Innovation, are among IBMs global partners in the journey to explore blockhian-powered opportunities.
As Mika Lammi, Head of IoT Business Development at Kouvola Innovation commented, “Blockchain provides a revolutionary approach that enables businesses across industries all around the world to completely change their logistics business and operations. We’re excited about the potential for blockchain to transform logistics value chains into a more seamless process that provides a trusted view of every piece of cargo. The IBM Blockchain fabric, together with the Watson IoT platform, offers great potential to bring together the physical and digital worlds in a way that has never been done before.”
IBM has listed unique capabilities the new service brings, among which are pluggable architecture to allow developers use software modules (consensus module for example) that best suits their needs, a new consensus algorithm developed by IBM Research tailored to specific blockchain use cases, advanced identity management built with the latest cryptography, smart contracts that can be written in popular programming languages such as Java or Golang and executed in containers and fine-grained privacy and confidentiality control, which allows authors of smart contracts to precisely specify both who can view them and who can execute them.