IBM has rolled out an enterprise-ready build-your-own blockchain platform and announced a collaboration with Canada's SecureKey on the commercial development of a federated identity service using the Hyperledger Frabric.
Dubbed 'IBM Blockchain', the new framework is designed to help developers create, deploy and manage highly secure blockchain networks on the IBM Cloud. Clients ranging from startup Everledger to financial services firms Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Northern Trust are among the organisations already running their DLT applications on IBM's Hyperledger Fabric.
Marie Wieck, general manager, IBM Blockchain, says: "IBM's blockchain services are built on IBM's High Security Business Network and designed for organisations that require blockchain networks that are trusted, open and ready for business."
The tamper-resistant toolset is augmented with new governance rules for assigning roles and levels of visibility into the blockchain network from a single dashboard, and an open-source developer kit for creating API-based user interfaces to the network.
The blockchain-as-a-service platform made its debut at Big Blue's InterConnect developer conference, where the computing giant also announced a collaboration with SecureKey to create a digital identity and attribute sharing network running over a permissioned blockchain.
The network is currently in the testing phase in Canada, and once it goes live later in 2017 Canadian consumers will be able to opt-in to the new service using a mobile app.
Six of Canada's leading financial institutions participated in a $27 million funding round for SecureKey in October last year and pledged their support to the development of the network which will enable consumers to use their online banking credentials to log in to public and private sector Web services.
IBM's Wieck says the approach will help tackle the toughest challenges surrounding identity. “This method is an entirely different approach to identity verification, and together with SecureKey, we have a head start on putting it on the blockchain," she says. "This is a prime example of the type of innovation permissioned blockchain networks can accelerate.”
Eddy Ortiz, VP, solution acceleration and innovation, RBC, concurs: “Canada has an important opportunity to innovate with emerging technologies like blockchain to advance digital identity in Canada.”
The InterConnect conference also featured the launch of a new set of building blocks for the creation of financial services apps on the IBM Cloud.
Initially available in beta, the tools are designed to simplify the time-consuming tasks of selection, mapping and data integration for firms when combining IBM services with their own data.
Other initiatives spotlighted at the event include the development of a Singapore fintech hub with the support of the country's government and an expansion of IBM's business partner programme for financial services.