Tópico: [EN] Blockchains at IBM
25-09-2016, 13:28 #1
[EN] Blockchains at IBM
September 24, 2016
I attended IBM Edge 2016 (videos available here, login required) this past week and there was a lot of talk about their new blockchain service available on z Systems (LinuxONE). IBM’s blockchain software/service is based on the open source, Open Ledger, HyperLedger project.
We have discussed blockchain before (see my post on BlockStack). Blockchains can be used to implement an immutable ledger useful for smart contracts, electronic asset tracking, secured financial transactions, etc.
BlockStack was being used to implement Private Key Infrastructure and to implement a worldwide, distributed file system.
IBM’s Blockchain-as-a-service offering has a plugin based consensus that can use super majority rules (2/3+1 of members of a blockchain must agree to ledger contents) or can use consensus based on parties to a transaction (e.g. supplier and user of a component).
BitCoin (an early form of blockchain) consensus used data miners (performing hard cryptographic calculations) to determine the shared state of a ledger.
There can be any number of blockchains in existence at any one time. Microsoft Azure also offers Blockchain as a service.
The potential for blockchains are enormous and very disruptive to middlemen everywhere. Anywhere ledgers are used to keep track of assets, information, money, etc, that undergo transformations, transitions or transactions as they are further refined, produced and change hands, can be easily tracked in blockchains. The only question is can these assets, information, currency, etc. be digitally fingerprinted and can that fingerprint be read/verified. If such is the case, then blockchains can be used to track them.
New uses for Blockchain
IBM showed a demo of their new supply chain management service based on z Systems blockchain in action. IBM component suppliers record when they shipped component(s), shippers would record when they received the component(s), port authorities would record when components arrived at port, shippers would record when parts cleared customs and when they arrived at IBM facilities. Not sure if each of these transitions were recorded, but there were a number of records for each component shipment from supplier to IBM warehouse. This service is live and being used by IBM and its component suppliers right now.
Leanne Kemp, CEO Everledger, presented another example at IBM Edge (presumably built on z Systems Hyperledger service) used to track diamonds from mining, to cutter, to polishing, to wholesaler, to retailer, to purchaser, and beyond. Apparently the diamonds have a digital bar code/fingerprint/signature that’s imprinted microscopically on the diamond during processing and can be used to track diamonds throughout processing chain, all the way to end-user. This diamond blockchain is used for fraud detection, verification of ownership and digitally certify that the diamond was produced in accordance of the Kimberley Process.
Everledger can also be used to track any other asset that can be digitally fingerprinted as they flow from creation, to factory, to wholesaler, to retailer, to customer and after purchase.
Why z System blockchains
What makes z Systems a great way to implement blockchains is its securely, isolated partitioning and advanced cryptographic capabilities such as z System functionality accelerated hashing, signing & securing and hardware based encryption to speed up blockchain processing. z Systems also has FIPS-140 level 4 certification which can provide the highest security possible for blockchain and other security based operations.
From IBM’s perspective blockchains speak to the advantages of the mainframe environments. Blockchains are compute intensive, they require sophisticated cryptographic services and represent formal systems of record, all traditional strengths of z Systems.
Aside from the service offering, IBM has made numerous contributions to the Hyperledger project. I assume one could just download the z Systems code and run it on any LinuxONE processing environment you want. Also, since Hyperledger is Linux based, it could just as easily run in any OpenPower server running an appropriate version of Linux.
Blockchains will be used to maintain the system of record of the future just like mainframes maintained the systems of record of today and the past.
25-09-2016, 13:36 #2
IBM, China UnionPay Complete Block Chain Pilot ProjectSep 23, 2016
IBM ibm said on Friday it completed a pilot project with Chinese credit card company China UnionPay that will facilitate the sharing of loyalty bonus points among banks using block chain technology.
Bonus points earned through purchases on bank cards have long been an effective tool to attract and encourage customers to use specific cards. But since bonus points cannot be freely exchanged among different banks, offering various rewards, many go unused.
IBM’s collaboration with China UnionPay will enable consumers worldwide to exchange bonus points from their various banks in less than a minute to select rewards they want.
Block chain, the underlying technology in digital currencies such as bitcoin, has become one of the hottest innovations in the financial services world. Technology companies and banks have been exploring the use of block chain in all facets of both the financial and non-financial industries.
Dr. Shen Xiaowei, director of IBM Research-China and chief technology officer of IBM Great China Group said the company also is partnering with the Hyperledger Project to build a block chain platform and help clients develop more uses for industry.
Hyperledger is a cross-industry collaboration started in December by the Linux Foundation to support block chain-based applications designed to support global business transactions, including major technological, financial, and supply chain companies.
IBM in blockchain project with China UnionPay
US tech group and Chinese payment settlement network in loyalty scheme partnership
September 22, 2016
by: Martin Arnold, Banking Editor
Another day, another blockchain project unveiled by a bank, technology company, or consultancy. IBM will join the fray this week by announcing a partnership with China UnionPay to let bank customers exchange bonus points in different loyalty schemes.
Arguing that such a project would be prohibitively complex and costly using conventional technology, IBM and China UnionPay say that it is only possible because of the blockchain system that underpins bitcoin, the cryptocurrency.
The US technology group and the Chinese state-owned payment settlement network aim to eventually include all kinds of loyalty schemes in the exchange, including air miles and supermarket reward cards.
Blockchain technology is a complex set of algorithms and cryptography created to allow bitcoins to be traded and verified electronically over a widely distributed network of computers without a central ledger.
Having initially been sceptical about it because of worries over fraud, big banks are now exploring how they can exploit the technology to speed up back-office settlement systems and free billions in capital tied up supporting trades on global markets.
IBM and China UnionPay say bank customers are often restricted in how they can spend their bonus points in loyalty schemes, so would benefit from a speedy way to exchange them for points in other banks’ schemes.
He Shuo, director of China UnionPay’s Electronic Payment Research Institute, said: “Blockchain embeds trust into transactions. This along with similar innovations under way using blockchain will positively change the future of the finance industry.”
IBM has developed its own blockchain solution and is working with a number of financial institutions on other projects in this area, including Bank of America and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.
However, there remains significant scepticism about the potential for the largely unproven technology to transform large swaths of financial services.
“Blockchain is a technology in search of a problem,” said Alexander Ross, investment executive at Illuminate Finance, a venture capital group focused on financial technology. “We are seeing a very large number of new blockchain companies but only seriously look at backing solutions that solve real world business problems.”
This week has brought a flurry of announcements about blockchain projects ahead of next week’s Sibos financial conference in Geneva.
Technology consultants GFT will on Friday announce a project with Royal Bank of Scotland to test the UK state-controlled bank’s blockchain initiative using a cloud platform from Google.
Earlier this week, seven financial institutions, including HSBC, Citigroup and Credit Suisse, announced the launch of a blockchain system developed by Axoni to store and maintain their records of trading data.
Meanwhile, Switzerland’s stock exchange announced that it was teaming up with Digital Asset Holdings, the blockchain specialist run by former JPMorgan banker Blythe Masters, to develop a prototype for post-trade securities processing.
Separately, Accenture courted controversy in the blockchain community by patenting a technique for editing information stored using the nascent technology in a move designed to make it more commercially viable.
25-09-2016, 13:42 #3
Google Cloud Joins IBM, Microsoft in Serving Blockchain ClientsOlga Kharif
SEP 23, 2016
Google’s cloud services will be used to test blockchain technologies for banks, an area where IBM, Microsoft and Amazon have been courting clients for the past year.
Royal Bank of Scotland Group has employed Google servers in a trial of a new blockchain application for clearing and settlement, the consulting firm GFT said Friday in a statement. The company’s cloud services will also be used by other bank clients of the firm, Stuttgart, Germany-based GFT said.
Until now, International Business Machines Corp. and Microsoft Corp. have been most active in rolling out special developer tools and inviting banks and start-ups to test the new database technology in their massive data centers. Amazon.com Inc. has also been working with blockchain startups. GFT is a member of Google Cloud Platform’s Partner Program.
The blockchain is a distributed ledger where multiple companies -- such as banks -- can record transactions securely. The database’s strength lies in its trustworthiness: the difficulty of reversing or changing any transactions that have been recorded. By facilitating trust and collaboration, the technology promises to make many industries more efficient, and reduce costs on everything from international money transfers to paying a supplier.
As companies in the financial, supply-chain, health care and other industries rush to try out blockchain uses, they’re opening up a potential new growth area for cloud-services players, like Alphabet Inc.’s Google. Testing in the cloud is often easier and can be done faster than tests on a bank’s own computers.
25-09-2016, 14:18 #4
Fico pensando quanto tempo será possivel usar essa tecnologia no Brasil sem a intervenção do Banco Central, da Receita Federal, e de autoridades civis, militares, eclesiásticas.
26-09-2016, 02:23 #5
Bitcoin Struggles To Catch on At MIT
September 18, 2016
When the two students announced the Bitcoin giveaway back in 2014, it didn’t take long to attract unwanted attention. Several people tried to “hack the system”, which ultimately failed. While these types of attempts are not uncommon, it goes to show messing around with Bitcoin is not straightforward. But how is Bitcoin doing over at MIT so far?
Unfortunately, things aren’t looking all that positive for the cryptocurrency. The MIT Bitcoin Project is still around, and actively trying to educate student son cryptocurrency. Most of the students stick to cash or using credit cards whenever they are paying for goods and services. So far, Bitcoin hasn’t made any significant impact.
Being a student in this day and age of digital payments is a blessing and a curse. The sheer number of different payment methods is staggering. Competitors such as Venmo are a bit problem for Bitcoin adoption, even at MIT. Not too many stores around campus have started accepting Bitcoin either, which isn’t helping matters.
As was to be expected, those who receive Bitcoin back in 2014 turned it into fiat currency almost immediately. Many people saw this as an opportunity to score a quick free US$100, without appreciating the thought behind it. But there are some who stuck with Bitcoin, and they used it to buy things online or even went into the world of Bitcoin trading.
There is still a lot of work to be done before Bitcoin becomes a mainstream currency at MIT. While it was to be expected this process would take some time, many people had hoped for a bit more progress by now. But the future of Bitcoin at MIT is not over just yet, as there is still a big focus on learning more about this ecosystem.
26-09-2016, 02:33 #6
Interview - May 2016 How blockchains could change the world
What impact could the technology behind Bitcoin have? According to Tapscott Group CEO Don Tapscott, blockchains, the technology underpinning the cryptocurrency, could revolutionize the world economy. In this interview with McKinsey’s Rik Kirkland, Tapscott explains how blockchains—an open-source distributed database using state-of-the-art cryptography—may facilitate collaboration and tracking of all kinds of transactions and interactions. Tapscott, coauthor of the new book Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin is Changing Money, Business, and the World, also believes the technology could offer genuine privacy protection and “a platform for truth and trust.” An edited and extended transcript of Tapscott’s comments follows.
In the early 1990s, we said the old media is centralized. It’s one way, it’s one to many; it’s controlled by powerful forces, and everyone is a passive recipient. The new web, the new media, we said, is one to one, it’s many to many; it’s highly distributed, and it’s not centralized. Everyone’s a participant, not an inert recipient. This has an awesome neutrality. It will be what we want it to be, and we can craft a much more egalitarian, prosperous society where everyone gets to share in the wealth that they create. Lots of great things have happened, but overall the benefits of the digital age have been asymmetrical. For example, we have this great asset of data that’s been created by us, and yet we don’t get to keep it. It’s owned by a tiny handful of powerful companies or governments. They monetize that data or, in the case of governments, use it to spy on us, and our privacy is undermined.
What if there were a second generation of the Internet that enabled the true, peer-to-peer exchange of value? We don’t have that now. If I’m going to send some money to somebody else, I have to go through an intermediary—a powerful bank, a credit-card company—or I need a government to authenticate who I am and who you are. What if we could do that peer to peer? What if there was a protocol—call it the trust protocol—that enabled us to do transactions, to do commerce, to exchange money, without a powerful third party? This would be amazing.
Several years ago, an unknown person or persons named Satoshi Nakamoto came up with the Bitcoin protocol. Once again, the technology genie has been unleashed from its bottle. It gives us another kick at the can, another go, to try and rethink the economic power grid and the old order of things. That, to me, is how big this is. It feels like 1993.
How the blockchain works
The blockchain is basically a distributed database. Think of a giant, global spreadsheet that runs on millions and millions of computers. It’s distributed. It’s open source, so anyone can change the underlying code, and they can see what’s going on. It’s truly peer to peer; it doesn’t require powerful intermediaries to authenticate or to settle transactions.
It uses state-of-the-art cryptography, so if we have a global, distributed database that can record the fact that we’ve done this transaction, what else could it record? Well, it could record any structured information, not just who paid whom but also who married whom or who owns what land or what light bought power from what power source. In the case of the Internet of Things, we’re going to need a blockchain-settlement system underneath. Banks won’t be able to settle trillions of real-time transactions between things.
So this is an extraordinary thing. An immutable, unhackable distributed database of digital assets. This is a platform for truth and it’s a platform for trust. The implications are staggering, not just for the financial-services industry but also right across virtually every aspect of society.
Most blockchains—and Bitcoin is the biggest—are what you call permission-less systems. We can do transactions and satisfy each other’s economic needs without knowing who the other party is and independent from central authorities. These blockchains all have a digital currency of some kind associated with them, which is why everybody talks about Bitcoin in the same breath as the blockchain, because the Bitcoin blockchain is the biggest.
But to me, the blockchain, the underlying technology, is the biggest innovation in computer science—the idea of a distributed database where trust is established through mass collaboration and clever code rather than through a powerful institution that does the authentication and the settlement.