IBM launches blockchain cloud services for government, healthcare sectors

Big Blue is launching its own framework for running blockchain networks along with new services on the IBM Cloud.

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IBM announced Friday it is launching its own framework for running blockchain networks along with new services on the IBM Cloud designed to meet security and regulatory compliance.

Blockchain, best known as the technology behind bitcoin, is a distributed, encrypted database architecture that is considered immune from tampering. In a nutshell, a blockchain logs all transactions on a bitcoin network and stores them in blocks that update a balance and data such as payments, confirmations and orders.

IBM first got behind the technology two months ago when it announced plans to make blockchain work as an enterprise ledger, essentially creating blockchain-as-a-service.

Today, IBM is doubling down on the technology even more. The IT giant says it has worked with teams of security experts, cryptographers, hardware experts and researchers to create new cloud services for blockchain networks that support the government, financial and healthcare sectors.

IBM says the cloud services come with the highest Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS 140-2) and Evaluation Assurance Levels (EAL) in the industry.

"Clients tell us that one of the inhibitors of the adoption of blockchain is the concern about security," said Jerry Cuomo, vice president, Blockchain, IBM. "While there is a sense of urgency to pioneer blockchain for business, most organizations need help to define the ideal cloud environment that enables blockchain networks to run securely in the cloud."

The IBM Cloud will now allow production blockchain networks to be deployed and run signed, certified and tested Docker images with dashboards and analytics, IBM said. For organizations requiring more cloud or device flexibility, IBM is making its certified code submission to the Hyperledger project available on DockerHub.

On top of all this, IBM is adding to the capabilities of IBM Blockchain for Bluemix. Developers looking to beta test applications will have access to the Linux Hyperledger code, which is continually updated in real time.

IBM's efforts around blockchain are strategic. With a multitude of transactions being conducted on its mainframes, IBM can use blockchain on its developer and cloud services to garner more sales. It's also a way for the company to manage business contracts and automate agreements.

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