Tech giant IBM spends US$ 160m per year on blockchain projects. The company has currently 1,600 employees working on more than 500 blockchain-related projects worldwide.  

IBM has taken a proactive approach towards the new technology and has teamed up with numerous start-ups, universities and other tech companies.

“For us, blockchain is a set of technologies that allow our clients to simplify complex, end-to-end processes in a way that couldn’t have been done before,” says Jim Kavanough, CFO at IBM.

Let’s take a look at IBM’s most promising initiatives.

IBM’s Blockchain-as-a-Service ranked 2nd globally

IBM offers a Blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform to its clients. The advisory firm ABI has ranked the service second globally, after Microsoft. Both, IBM’s and Microsoft’s platforms are leagues ahead of other vendors such as Oracle, Cisco or Alibaba, says ABI.

The platform is built on top of IBM’s native open-source blockchain platform Hyperledger. It enables enterprises to integrate blockchain-based solutions into their operations. As IBM’s blockchain-solutions are permissioned and able to scale, they are well-suited for large corporations.

Amongst IBM’s BaaS clients are household names from different industries. Leading banks such as Deutsche Bank or HSBC, global transport and logistic companies such as Maersk and food giants such as Nestle are currently using IBM’s services.

TradeLens increases supply chain efficiency

IBM and the Danish logistics company Maersk have announced a project called “TradeLens”. The blockchain-based technology enables multiple trading partners to collaborate by using a shared ledger and smart contracts to execute transactions without compromising privacy or data security.

The platform is purpose-built for freight forwarders, shipping companies, port or terminal operators, inland logistics companies as well as customs authorities. All of them can interact with each other using real-time shipping data and shipping documents stored on IBM’s blockchain.

The project is in a 12-months trial but has already been marked as a success.

TradeLens can reduce the transit time of a shipment within the U.S. by 40 %. Enhanced transparency enables logistics companies to reduce the steps taken to track and locate packages that are on the way from ten steps to only one step; and the amount of people involved from five people to only one person.

Blockchain-based netting can speed up dispute resolution

IBM has partnered with CLS, which is a leading provider of settlement services for foreign exchange transactions. CLS is launching a netting service based on the IBM blockchain.

Netting describes the process of offsetting the value of multiple payments due between two or more parties. CLS is netting US$ 5 trillion on a daily basis.

By using a blockchain-based netting solution, CLS expects to cut the time to resolve disputes from currently 40 days to less than 10 days and an increase in capital efficiency of more than 40%.

IBM and Stronghold launch USD stablecoin

IBM has launched a stablecoin pegged to the USD, together with the start-up “Stronghold”. The goal is to help banks and other financial institutions to process transactions in a faster and more secure way.

The currency called “Stronghold USD” will rely on the blockchain-platform developed by Stellar, which was co-founded by Ripple’s Jed McCaleb in 2014.

Two blockchain accelerator programs with Colombia University

New York-based Colombia University is launching two blockchain accelerator programs in cooperation with IBM. The first program aims at global blockchain projects, while the second focuses on Colombia University graduates.

Both programs are part of the Colombia-IBM Center for Blockchain and Data Transparency, which announced it will back ten blockchain projects. The nomination process is now open with deadline on the 07th December 2018.

The projects outlined above are just a snapshot of IBM’s work. At present, IBM is partnering with 63 companies worldwide to develop blockchain-based applications. Out of that 63, 25 companies are global trading businesses, 14 are food logistics firms and the remaining 14 are global payment service providers.

The company has held the record for generating the most patents in a year for 25 consecutive years.  Some of IBM’s blockchain projects won’t go anywhere, others might turn into diamonds. Never try, never know.

Daimler also jumps on the Blockchain train. Find out more in our article. >Daimler and Blockchain<

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