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AWS Blockchain Partners Portal: An Amazon About Face?

Andy Jassy, CEO, AWS
AWS CEO Andy Jassy

In the past, you would work on a Word document, and while you were editing it, others in your company were unable to access the document for editing. Then came Google Docs, and the ability to edit documents in real time with multiple people. The same situation applied to databases for applications and software programs. While a program or person was editing one part of the database, it would lock everyone else out of accessing and editing the same data.

The creation of blockchain technology has done something similar to the creation of Google Docs. Through blockchain technology, data exists as a shared — and continually reconciled — database. The blockchain database isn’t stored in any single location and is hosted by millions of computers simultaneously. According to AWS, Blockchain is the application of a technology in which a list of records, or blocks, are cryptographically linked to one another via timestamps and other attributes. Blockchains are resistant to data modification since the alteration of one block requires consensus across the recorded chain or ledger.

Although blockchain was originally created for use with Bitcoin, the technology is now being used in many new ways. Since the technology is built on a system of checks and balances, its use in the financial sector makes the most sense, but other industries are now also seeing the benefits. From healthcare to supply chain management to security, the technology is paving the way for a new version of the internet.

AWS Blockchain Partners Portal

This week AWS announced the AWS Blockchain Partners Portal. This move is an effort to supports customers’ integration of blockchain solutions with systems built on Amazon Web Services.

Some folks consider the announcement an about-face of sorts. During AWS re:Invent 2017 in November, AWS CEO Andy Jassy said the company was watching Blockchain but didn't see any near-term use cases for the technology. It was a curious statement, considering IBM and some cloud rivals are working closely with Fortune 500 companies and Wall Street on various Blockchain projects -- even as some analysts warn about market hype.

While downplaying Blockchain in November, perhaps Jassy was simply buying some time for AWS to put the final touches on this partner portal.

AWS Blockchain Strategy

According to the company, AWS provides the broadest and deepest capabilities with the largest global infrastructure for building end-to-end blockchain solutions.

The following Blockchain Partner Solutions are available now as one-click deploy:

  • Sawtooth 1.0 - An enterprise-grade solution for building, deploying, and running distributed ledgers.
  • R3 Corda - A distributed ledger platform
  • PokitDok - Changes the way healthcare systems and applications communicate
  • Blockapps Strato - Development platform for building and deploying Ethereum blockchain applications

Coming in 2018, the company plans to add:

  • Samsung SDS
  • Tibco
  • Quorum
  • Virtusa

It is clear AWS is investing a lot of time and energy into the technology. The company claims that through the AWS Marketplace, they will drive new blockchain technologies to help customers evolve the standards and accelerate the adoption of enterprise-grade blockchain solutions.