Tech giant IBM is revamping its enterprise blockchain platform in an effort to increase its competitiveness in a burgeoning market.
IBM Blockchain Platform Multicloud, which was released last week, is designed to enable businesses to build and deploy blockchain networks to public clouds like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, as well as on premises. This is a huge upgrade from the previous version which required that you had to host your nodes on the IBM Cloud.
IBM Blockchain Platform Version 2.0
The new version of IBM blockchain platform is aimed at private consortiums and large networks whose founding members are already established companies that would prefer to use their own on-premises or cloud solutions rather than migrate to the IBM Cloud. It also provides enhanced capabilities such as the updated Visual Studio Code extension designed to ensure effective development and management of smart contracts.
More importantly, the new IBM’s Blockchain Platform makes it easier to build blockchain solutions—it is quicker to set up a basic blockchain and deploy smart contracts. In addition, the platform allows projects to deploy blockchain in critical areas, and manage all the components in one place. It also offers more flexibility, giving users the ability to pay for only the blockchain components they need, when they need them. IBM says the new pricing model will allow enterprises to “start small” while increasing payments as they grow. It is a move IBM hope will help increase its market size by catering to small-and-medium-sized (SME) businesses given that the majority of its clients so far have been large companies.
IBM VP Blockchain Technologies, Jerry Cuomo said:
“Through our partnerships, solutions, and services, we continue to lay the groundwork for widespread adoption of enterprise blockchain.”
IBM also highlighted that Vertrax, a supply chain management solutions provider in the oil and gas industry, will be the first client to pilot its upgraded blockchain platform.
Why IBM is upgrading its blockchain platform
IBM has a long track record experimenting with blockchain technology. The tech giant rolled out a number of blockchain solutions over the years, including a blockchain food traceability solution, a blockchain-based global trade digitization platform and a blockchain identity solution. IBM also boasts around 1600 employees globally working on more than 500 blockchain projects spread across various industries.
However, IBM’s enterprise blockchain platform, which was launched so that businesses do not have to develop their own blockchain software, has faced criticism in recent years. Perhaps, the most striking one concerns IBM’s insistence on selling high-end technology prematurely before it proves its abilities.
It seems IBM has recognized that not everyone is ready to pay upfront before seeing any success with the technology. The new pricing model not only lowers the entry-point for enterprises, but it also simplifies the process of setting up permissioned blockchain networks.