Oracle rolls out Blockchain Cloud Service

While competitors like Microsoft already offer blockchain as a service, Oracle will argue at OpenWorld that it's uniquely able to help customers seamlessly integrate the technology with existing applications.

On the first day of the OpenWorld conference, Oracle is rolling out Blockchain Cloud Service, helping the tech giant catch up with competitors like Microsoft and IBM.

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A blockchain, the technology behind the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, is a shared, distributed ledger that can store complete transaction histories. It has a variety of use cases for enterprises that want to rely on tamper-proof transactions to create new revenue streams or improve business operations.

Once a customer subscribes to Oracle's Blockchain Cloud Service, which is part of the Oracle Cloud Platform, they can use the platform to build a blockchain network and then let Oracle manage the network infrastructure. Customers can then build their own smart contracts and applications on top of the network.

Oracle is promising "most comprehensive and enterprise grade blockchain service platform," Frank Xiong, Group VP of Blockchain Cloud Service, said to ZDNet, meaning it should be highly scalable, highly secure, and easy to integrate with existing applications.

Microsoft has been offering blockchain-as-a-service since 2015 and more recently introduced Enterprise Smart Contracts to make it easier for customers to use. Oracle maintains its blockchain cloud service will stand out in part by offering customers a way to seamlessly adopt it. Blockchain adoption will not happen overnight, Xiong said.

"We believe there will be a transition period of time... blockchain will be integrated with existing applications, whether in cloud or on premise," he said. "You don't need to switch everything overnight, but can move to this new disruptive technology gradually."

Oracle is also stressing the ability for enterprises to use the Blockchain Cloud Service to move operations beyond their own internal ecosystem by sharing data and monitoring transactions within and outside of the Oracle Cloud. Using REST APIs and Oracle's API management service, customers can invoke blockchain services directly or with pre-built integrations from Oracle Cloud. Oracle also recently joined Hyperledger, enabling customers to add value on top of the open source effort.

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