Blockchain Platforms Vendors Jockey for Mindshare

C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • IBM touts advancements made in Food Trust, its blockchain solution for the food ecosystem.
  • SAP highlights three blockchain technologies built on SAP Cloud Platform: Hyperledger Fabric, MultiChain, and Quorum.

The buzz around blockchain is intensifying, and mindshare grabs among platform vendors are playing out through an upswing in strategy and ecosystem updates. Cloud platform providers are being pressed to define the early stages and use cases of this emerging market, which promises to modernize decades-old financial and supply chain systems into digital ledgers. GlobalData has reported that platform services providers are well suited to expand their cloud services to include blockchain, which represents an abstraction layer for making it easier to incorporate blockchain capabilities into applications improving developer productivity (please see “Blockchain Watch: App Platform Vendors Dominate in Laying the Groundwork for Digital Ledger Transformations,” September 10, 2018).

With that, two leading blockchain providers made announcements this week. Both IBM and SAP, respectively, are aggressively positioning their mature cloud platforms as the foundation for helping enterprise developers build and deploy blockchain projects, complemented by advanced services including AI, IoT, and in-memory database which address important operational issues such as support for multi-cloud deployments and security.

IBM built on its Food Trust project launched last summer to create a trusted blockchain solution among various players in the food ecosystem. The modular solution continually automates food supply chain data, improving visibility and accountability of food systems to ensure food quality and safety. IBM execs report the IBM blockchain food network, now generally available, has reached over 2 million events crossing the network among participants such as Walmart, Nestle, and Dole Food Company.

SAP delved deeper into its blockchain technologies being offered, emphasizing the fact that the three technologies – Hyperledger Fabric, MultiChain, and Quorum (just announced) – are optimized to work most efficiently when leveraging the SAP Cloud Platform. SAP describes MultiChain as enterprise ready and an improved bitcoin technology, replaced by proof of authority; and Hyperledger Fabric as being most appropriate for those enterprise developers needing a strong programming model for creating smart contracts and distributed apps at the network level, or for writing chaincode using popular languages such as Go.

Market Size and Growth Forecasts

GlobalData notes a plethora of third-party market forecasts for blockchain technology that predict astonishing levels of revenue and growth. While we do see strong growth in spending on blockchain technology over the next seven years, GD forecasts that spend on blockchain technology itself will not reach $1 billion by 2025. Growth in services revenues directly attributable to the implementation of blockchain will see even higher rates of growth, albeit from a lower starting point. The revenues aren’t in blockchain; they’re in the surrounding transformation projects. Our forecast covers the implementation, development, and deployment of blockchain or DLT technology in support of transformation projects; we do not look at the spend on cryptocurrency mining or spend associated with the development of standalone cryptocurrencies. Our forecast covers the market for the application of blockchain technology to the transformation of existing business processes and activities.

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