IBM announced Friday it is launching its framework for using the technology behind bitcoin, saying it's time for companies to come to terms with how the revolutionary technology will change their businesses.
As firms grapple with the buzz around blockchains — a highly secure and auditable form of information storage originally conceived for digital currencies — IBM is pushing out its certified and tested version to make that process easier for financial services, government and health care.
Although it sounds technical, that's big news for many industries that see the technology as potentially disruptive. And it's big news for other companies that are rushing to make "blockchain for business" a reality. (Microsoft has said it is working with banks on a similar goal.)
Jerry Cuomo, vice president of Blockchain Technologies at IBM, described client interest in the project as "immense," adding that he doesn't know of a financial services company that hasn't expressed interest in IBM's platform.
That platform is a curated version of the Linux Foundation's open source Hyperledger Project, he said. IBM was a founding member of that project along with JPMorgan, Intel, Cisco, Wells Fargo, State Street and the London Stock Exchange Group.
So Friday's announcement is that IBM has chosen "the good builds," run a battery of tests, certified that the framework is secure, and is now widely distributing its version of the code to developers.
The company also announced Friday that it was graduating its own cloud-based blockchain services from experimental to beta. In other words, IBM is offering to securely run a company's blockchain network within its own ecosystem so developers can focus on creating applications for the tech.