Archive for the ‘blockchain’ Category
IBM today announced that it has identified three key elements of enterprise blockchain adoption for c-suite leaders to consider when evaluating the technology for business use.
Blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, is quickly making its way into the enterprise, potentially becoming as revolutionary a technology for business transactions as the internet was for communications in the late 1990s.
In the supply chain and logistics industry alone, the technology could potentially help save billions of dollars annually and significantly reduce delays and spoilage. Its potential impacts are far-reaching; according to the World Economic Forum, reducing barriers within the international supply chain could increase worldwide GDP by almost five percent and total trade volume by 15 percent.
To best derive value from blockchain technology, IBM recommends that enterprise adopters across supply chains and other key industries including financial services, retail, energy and others develop a close understanding of five key elements of the technology:
- Blockchain has the potential to transform trade, transactions and business processes. The two concepts underpinning blockchain are “business network” and “ledger.” Taken together, these are what make blockchain a smart, tamper-resistant way to conduct trade, transactions and business processes. Network members exchange assets through a ledger that all members share access to. The ledger is synced across the network with all members needing to confirm a transaction of tangible or intangible assets before it is approved and stored on the blockchain. This shared view helps establish legitimacy and transparency, even when parties are not familiar with one another.
- The value is in the ecosystem as the blockchain network grows. As a business network, blockchain can include several different types of participants. Depending on the number of participants in a blockchain network, the value of assets being exchanged and the need to authorize members with varying credentials, adopters should observe the difference between “permissioned” and “permissionless” blockchain networks. The real value for blockchain is achieved when these business networks grow. With a strong ecosystem, business networks can more easily reach critical mass allowing the users to build new business models and reinvent the transaction process.
- Blockchain can significantly improve visibility and trust across business. Blockchains can reduce transaction settlement times from days or weeks to seconds by providing visibility to all the participants. The technology can also be used to cut excess costs by removing intermediary third-parties typically required to verify transactions. Because blockchain is built on the concept of trust, it can help reduce risks of illicit practices carried out over payment networks, helping to mitigate fraud and cybercrimes.
Speed, cost efficiency and transparency are among blockchain’s most significant benefits in the enterprise and within ecosystems of companies conducting trade.
IBM, Walmart and Tsinghua University, for example, are exploring the use of blockchain to help address the challenges surrounding food safety. By allowing members within the supply chain to see the same records, blockchain helps narrow down the source of a contamination.
Blockchain is being rapidly explored today
Real-world use of blockchain is underway. Everledger, a company that tracks and protects diamonds and other valuables via the blockchain, has started building a digital business network using IBM Blockchain to power its global certification system.
When combined with a highly secure cloud environment, blockchain technology can be used to help protect suppliers, buyers and shippers against theft, counterfeiting and other forms of corruption, while simultaneously demonstrating the origin of high-value goods for essential parties.
IBM is also working with multiple stock exchanges to test trading over blockchain in low-liquidity markets. A case study that supports findings from ‘Leading the pack in blockchain banking’ and ‘Blockchain rewires financial markets’ predicts that 15 percent of banks and 14 percent of broader financial markets institutions expect to have blockchain in-production at commercial scale this year, and 53 percent of banks believe they will move to a live blockchain network over the next two years.
You can learn more about IBM Blockchain solutions here.
Natixis, IBM and Trafigura have pioneered the first blockchain solution in commodity trade finance for US crude oil transactions.
The distributed ledger platform, built on the Linux Foundation open source Hyperledger Fabric, allows major steps in a crude oil transaction to be digitized on the blockchain, ensuring improved transparency, enhanced security, and optimized efficiency.
By having the buyer, seller and their respective banks all on the same ledger, all parties can simultaneously view and share data on the status of a transaction, from the time a new trade is confirmed and validated, to when the crude oil is inspected, to its final delivery and cancellation of the letter of credit.
This initiative is part of a broader effort to modernize trading in the global crude oil industry, which today is predominantly driven by manual, non-digital processes.
Key benefits of the solution include reduced cash cycle times, improved efficiency via lower overhead costs and fewer cost intermediaries, increased transaction visibility to help reduce the threat of tampering, fraud and cyber-crime, and the creation of transparent transactions by using shared processes and recordkeeping.
The new trading platform allows trade documents, shipment updates, delivery and payment status to be shared across a single shared ledger, helping to reduce transaction time, duplication of documents and authentication processes among all trading partners. Traditionally these transactions require complex workflows and paper-based processes in which documentation is shared through courier, fax and email exchange. The solution, which is hosted on IBM’s cloud platform, Bluemix, was led and delivered by IBM France.
“Natixis wants to use blockchain to enhance client service by optimizing the antiquated arena of commodity trade finance,” said Arnaud Stevens, Natixis’ New York Head of Global Energy & Commodities. “The current process is paper and labor intensive, we have multiple friction points with high processing costs and limited automation. Distributed ledger technology brings some much-needed innovation into our industry.”
The platform will soon be expanded to allow all parties in the transaction to enter data directly onto the blockchain. For example, the shipping company, pipeline operator, inspector or warehouse can provide real-time status updates via the blockchain on the crude oil transaction, helping lower the risk of fraudulent transactions.
More importantly, the distributed ledger for crude oil transactions is designed to be adopted at scale across the entire industry. By creating a shared permissioned ledger for use across all trading partners, including multiple buyers, sellers, banks and trading partners, even further efficiencies can be anticipated.
You can learn more about IBM Blockchain solutions here.
The IBM blockchain momentum continues to build.
IBM has announced that Singapore fintech startup, INVICTUS, is collaborating with the company to leverage IBM Cloud and blockchain technologies for their Order, Logistic & Payment (OLP) platform.
The platform aims to help business reduce waste, redundancy, and cash-flow issues in their transaction processes by disrupting the supply chain management cycle with blockchain smart contract technology.
As part of this collaboration, INVICTUS is also working with the IBM Bluemix Garage in Singapore to design a distributed ledger platform prototype on the Hyperledger Fabric, aimed at managing transactions between small and medium enterprises, suppliers, banks and other liquidity providers.
“INVICTUS offers more than an e-procurement platform. We focus on taking the chronic pain out of the last mile of a transaction by expanding access to financing from third party liquidity providers, in addition to banks. Through our blockchain smart contract technologies and working collaboratively with IBM, we hope to disrupt this last mile by enabling secure and cashless financing as early as the PO stage,” said Mr Lim Soon Hock, Chairman of INVICTUS.
“Being a start-up ourselves, we know running an enterprise with limited resources can be challenging. Working with the IBM Bluemix Garage team has been an eye-opening experience in showing us how companies can benefit from technologies such as blockchain which has the capabilities to improve operational efficiency and reduce transaction risks. We are very excited to see how our offerings will help SMEs become more productive and competitive,” said Jeffrey Lam, Chief Operating Officer & Vice-President of Sales of INVICTUS.
Blockchain is one of the advanced services available to developers on Bluemix, on which more than 120,000 apps are launched every month. IBM Bluemix has rapidly grown to become one of the largest open, public cloud deployments in the world.
Based on open standards, it features over 150 tools and services spanning categories of big data, mobile, cognitive computing, analytics, security, blockchain and Internet of Things.
You can learn more about IBM blockchain solutions here.
The New York Times reported late yesterday that some 30 companies, including Microsoft and JP Morgan Chase, are “joining forces to create a new kind of computing system based on the virtual currency network Ethereum.”
The new organization, a nonprofit, is part of a broader movement to harness the technological concept known as the “blockchain.”
Blockchains are distributed databases that maintain a continuously growing list of ordered records, called blocks. They offer a means for unrelated computers and companies to simultaneously collect and store information without relying on a central authority.
IBM has, in a separate effort, made a big push into the blockchain business, writes the Times, as well as leading a separate collaborative project known as the Hyperledger Foundation.
The Hyperledger project is an open-source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies.
You can learn more about IBM’s blockchain efforts here.
IBM today announced a blockchain initiative with Dubai Customs, Dubai Trade, advancing Dubai’s government blockchain strategy. As part of the initiative, IBM is also working with leading businesses including Emirates NBD, du, Aramex, and Banco Santander
IBM is collaborating with Dubai Customs, Dubai Trade and its IT provider DUTECH, to explore the use of blockchain for a trade finance and logistics solution for the import and re-export process of goods in and out of Dubai.
Using Hyperledger Fabric and IBM Cloud, the blockchain solution transmits shipment data allowing key stakeholders to receive real-time information about the state of goods and the status of the shipment. Taking the example of a shipment of fruit, stakeholders involved in the process will receive timely updates as the fruit is exported from India to Dubai by sea, and then manufactured into juice in Dubai, and then exported as juice from Dubai to Spain by air.
Additionally, as part of the solution, IBM is also working withdu, a UAE-based telecommunications service provider that is conveying data from internet of things (IoT); Emirates NBD Bank, the letter of credit issuing bank; Banco Santander, the letter of credit responding bank; Aramex, the freight forwarder; and a leading Airline, as the airway carrier.
This trade finance and logistics blockchain-based solution aims to replace paper-based contracts with smart contracts; leverages Watson IoT for device-reported data to update or validate smart contracts; and integrates all the key trade process stakeholders from the ordering stage, in which the importer obtains a letter of credit from their bank, through the intermediary stages of freight and shipping, and ending with customs and payment.
In February 2016, the Dubai government declared its interest to position itself as a blockchain hub and embrace the technology. As part of this declaration, the Dubai Museum of the Future Foundation established the ‘Global Blockchain Council’ in which IBM is a member. Further, Dubai plans to execute all its transactions on a blockchain by 2020, as a part of its “Dubai Blockchain Strategy.”
A recent blockchain study, Building Trust in Governments, by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), found that several governmental organizations are embracing blockchain technology to promote more extensive collaboration. Nine out of 10 governmental organizations plan to invest in blockchain for use in financial transaction management, asset management, contract management and regulatory compliance by 2018. And seven out of 10 government executives predict blockchain will significantly disrupt the area of contract management, which is often at the intersection of the public and private sector.
In the Middle East and Africa, nine out of 10 government executives surveyed see contract management as the greatest potential new business model. By using blockchains for contract management, issues such as the failure of any party to meet a deadline or complete a task, for example, could be more immediately visible. Transparency derived from contract management on blockchains could improve performance management. Governments will be able to use blockchains to explore new business models for providing services to citizens beyond the limits of current technology.
These models can be used to improve the efficiencies of current services, while expanding the ability to provide new services. IBM is rapidly expanding its blockchain capabilities and actively working with companies to understand what it takes to make blockchain ready for business. Financial services, supply chains, IoT, risk management, digital rights management and healthcare are some of the areas that are poised for dramatic change using blockchain networks.
For more information, visit: www.ibm.com/blockchain.
IBM Watson Health has signed a research initiative with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) aimed at defining a secure, efficient and scalable exchange of health data using blockchain technology.
IBM and the FDA will explore the exchange of owner mediated data from several sources, such as Electronic Medical Records, clinical trials, genomic data, and health data from mobile devices, wearables and the “Internet of Things.” The initial focus will be on oncology-related data.
Transformative healthcare solutions are possible when healthcare researchers and providers have access to a 360-degree view of patient data. Today, patients have little access to their health data and cannot easily share with researchers or providers.
Giving patients the opportunity to share their data securely, for research purposes or across their healthcare providers, creates opportunities for major advancements in healthcare. Blockchain technology, which enables organizations to work together with more trust, is designed to help make this a reality.
By keeping an audit trail of all transactions on an unalterable distributed ledger, blockchain technology establishes accountability and transparency in the data exchange process. In the past, large scale sharing of health data has been limited by concerns of data security and breaches of patient privacy during the data exchange process.
IBM and the FDA will explore how a blockchain framework can
potentially provide benefits to public health by supporting important use cases for information exchange across a wide variety of data types, including clinical trials and “real world” evidence data.
New insights combining data across the healthcare ecosystem can potentially lead to new biomedical discoveries. Patient data from wearables and connected devices for example, can help doctors and caregivers better manage population health.
The collaboration will also address new ways to leverage the large volumes of diverse data in today’s biomedical and healthcare industries. A secure owner-mediated data sharing ecosystem could potentially hold the promise of new discoveries and improved public health.
The initiative with the FDA is a two-year agreement. IBM Watson Health and the FDA plan to share initial research findings in 2017.
You can learn more about IBM Blockchain capabilities here.