AWS not buying into the blockchain hype

In announcing over 20 new features during his day one keynote at AWS re:Invent, CEO Andy Jassy's blockchain omission was deliberate, as he's not interested in focusing on the technology that is currently caught up in so much industry hype.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor
Image: Asha Barbaschow/ZDNet

On the official first day of AWS re:Invent, Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy unveiled a slew of announcements, with over 20 new features and services fired out over the duration of his opening keynote.

With the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning taking centre stage on Wednesday morning, and Jassy himself touting machine learning as the buzzwords worthy of its hype, one industry buzzword that didn't get any air time was blockchain.

Speaking with journalists following his keynote, Jassy revealed that AWS does spend a lot of time looking at blockchain, but it isn't something users should expect services to be focused on in the immediate future.

Also: Alexa for Business likely to win in smart office

"We have a lot of customers and partners who either build blockchains on top of AWS, or are building services to use blockchain on top of AWS," Jassy said. "We're watching it carefully."

"We don't yet see a lot of practical use cases for blockchain that are much broader than using a distributed ledger. We don't build technology because we think the technology is cool, we only build it if we think we can solve a customer problem and building that service is the best way to solve it."

According to Jassy, the vast majority of use cases that customers are turning to the blockchain for can be solved using other methods, most of which AWS boasts within its existing capabilities.

"There are other ways to solve those problems," he said. "We are very intrigued by what customers are ultimately going to be doing there."

Also: https://www.zdnet.com/article/amazon-to-put-machine-learning-into-the-hands-of-more-users/New AWS service will bring image recognition to real-time video

On the issue of a potential spin-out from its parent, Jassy said it's not something that is needed, as both Amazon and AWS have no requirement to have completely separate balance sheets.

"I've been at Amazon for 20 years now, and I've learned in that time to never say never about anything," he said. "But I would be very surprised if we spun out AWS because there isn't a need to do so.

"The company has been so gracious committing whatever amounts of capital we've needed to grow AWS, and by the way, it's required a lot of capital."

Also on Wednesday, AWS announced a handful of customer wins, including the NFL, the Walt Disney Company, and Expedia.


Intuit to use AWS as its standard artificial intelligence platform

Intuit is planning to weave artificial intelligence and machine learning throughout its products. The company will use AWS' AI platform as a standard.

Amazon to put machine learning into the hands of more users

AWS CEO Andy Jassy believes machine learning is still too complicated for everyday developers, so his company has launched AWS SageMaker to make it more accessible

CIA to continue cloud push in the name of national security

The intelligence agency's director of digital futures has touted the partnership with AWS as one providing a 'game-changing' environment for the CIA to perform like a Silicon Valley startup while protecting national security.

How sensors enabled Eli Lilly to improve the patient experience

Combining the use of sensors and automation, the pharmaceutical giant looked into an approach that enabled independence for the patient and alleviated burden on the caregiver.

Blockchain: The smart person's guide(TechRepublic)

This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about the blockchain, the innovative technology that powers Bitcoin, Litecoin, and other cryptocurrencies.

Disclaimer: Asha Barbaschow travelled to AWS re:Invent as a guest of AWS.

Editorial standards