IBM launches blockchain tool on Linux Hyperledger Fabric

Big Blue also announced new developer and governance tools for blockchain.
By Bernie Monegain
01:00 PM

IBM unveiled a cloud-based Blockchain offering on Monday along with governance and developer tools.  

Calling it the first enterprise-ready blockchain service, the company said that the technology makes it possible for developers to build and host production of blockchain networks on the IBM Cloud in a secure environment.

IBM’s new Blockchain offering runs on the Linux Foundation's open source Hyperledger Fabric, which is being developed by members of the Hyperledger consortium alongside other open source blockchain technologies. Hyperledger, which just recently emerged from incubator stage, was developed to provide a framework for building enterprise-grade blockchain networks that can scale as new network members join.

[Also: Blockchain in healthcare: Hype or reality?]

The Hyperledger Healthcare Working Group, formed in 2016, includes healthcare and technology giants such as Accenture, Gem, Hashed Health, Kaiser Permanente and IBM.

The group’s stated purpose is “to house and foster technical and business-level conversations about appropriate applications for blockchain technology in the healthcare industry.”

Blockchain first garnered attention in 2008 when it was recognized as a method used for tracking bitcoin transactions. Think of it as a digital record – a trail of transactions that once recorded cannot be changed.

Big Blue also announced the launch of the first commercially available blockchain governance tools, and new open-source developer tools, designed to automate and accelerate the steps it takes to build with the Hyperledger Fabric.

Once setup is initiated, members can determine the rules of the blockchain and share consent when new members request to join the network.

The deployment tool assigns each network a Network Trust Rating of 1 to 100. New network members can view this before joining and determine whether they can trust the network enough to participate.  

"IBM's blockchain services are designed for organizations that require blockchain networks that are trusted, open and ready for business,” IBM Blockchain general manager Marie Wieck said in a statement.  

While many healthcare IT professionals are beginning to think of blockchain as an inherently safe technology, Wieck added, blockchain networks are only as safe as the infrastructures on which they reside.

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