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Money cloudIBM has made 44,000 lines of code available to the Linux Foundation’s open source Hyperledger Project in a bid to speed the development of a Blockchain ledger for secure distributed online financial transactions.

IBM is now competing with a number of vendors, such as Microsoft Azure and Digital Asset, to bring Blockchain services to market either as a Bitcoin crypto currency enabler or for wider applications in financial services trading and even the IoT.

In a statement IBM said it wants to help create a new class of distributed ledger applications by letting developers use IBM’s new blockchain services available on Bluemix, where they can get DevOps tools to create and run blockchain apps on the IBM Cloud or z System mainframes. New application programming interfaces mean Blockchain apps will now be able to access existing transactions on these systems to support new payment, settlement, supply chain and business processes.

IBM also unveiled plans to put Blockchain technology to use on the Internet of Things (IoT) through its Watson IoT Platform. Information from RFID-based locations, barcode-scans or device-reported data could be managed through IBM’s version of Blockchain with devices communicating with the ledger to update or validate smart contracts. Under the scheme, the movement of an IoT-connected package through multiple distribution points could be managed and updated on a Blockchain system to give a more accurate and timely record of events in the supply chain.

The vendor intends to foster greater levels of Blockchain app design activity through its new IBM Garages that will open in London, New York, Singapore and Tokyo.

In Tokyo IBM and the Japan Exchange Group have agreed to test the potential of blockchain technology for use in trading in low transaction markets. As the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project evolves, the joint IBM and JPX evaluation work will adapt to use of the code produced by that effort.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is to launch its own Blockchain as a service (BaaS) offering within in its Azure service portfolio with a certified version of the online ledger scheduled to be launched in April.

In January 2016, Microsoft announced that it is developing Blockchain related services in its Azure’s DevTest Labs. In November BCN reported that Microsoft has launched a cloud-based ledger system for would-be bitcoin traders.

Microsoft is also inviting potential service provider partners pioneer the use of Blockchain technology in the cloud.

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