IBM has launched a Blockchain partner ecosystem for venture capitalists (VCs), start-ups, systems integrators (SI), independent software vendors (ISV) and enterprise developers. It's the latest small but significant channel-oriented progress for Blockchain -- a distributed ledger system that's catching on within the FinTech vertical. IBM's goal: Accelerate the goal of Blockchain networks -- essentially creating exponentially more value as each new Blockchain partner or service joins the ecosystem.
IBM's efforts are closely aligned with Hyperledger -- an open source collaborative effort for cross-industry blockchain technologies. Hyperledger is attracting interest from finance, banking, IoT, supply chain, manufacturing and technology businesses.
Blockchain Explained, Partners Engage
Admittedly, the business use cases for Blockchain can be a bit confusing. But this video about Hyperledger offers some practical examples and use cases:Video link
As part of its Blockchain ecosystem, IBM plans to provide "education and tools aimed to reduce the time required to go from idea to execution." Moreover, IBM Blockchain professionals will hold “office hours” via the Hyperledger Fabric Slack channel. Also of note, IBM developerWorks already offers courses and learning modules for business users and developers. These will be augmented with code libraries, smart contract templates and tools currently in development to speed the creation of blockchain apps, IBM asserts.
True believers in the new IBM ecosystem include Cloudsoft, EY, Everledger, Gliding Eagle, HACERA, The Hive, IntellectEU, Loyyal, Mooti, Netki, Sensify and Skuchain. To attract more Blockchain backers, IBM will host a connect-a-thon on December 17, 2016. IBM will use the Hyperledger Fabric v1.0 to set up peers that will operate in a network of networks mode, providing secure, confidential transactions among known parties.
Blockchain: An SMB Play, Too
No doubt, Blockchain still faces multiple hurdles before it goes "mainstream." But channel partners -- including those in the SMB sector -- should prepare now for Blockchain opportunities, Forrester Research says.
Among the SMB-oriented companies to watch: Acronis, which promotes business continuity software to MSPs. As part of a company transformation toward software-defined storage, Acronis has aggressively embraced Blockchain. CEO Serguei Beloussov explained the strategy during an October 2016 partner gathering in Austin, Texas.
And yes, we're curious to see if IBM attracts SMB partners to the Blockchain party as well...