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Big Banks Push Bitcoin Aside With Open Ledger Project

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Blockchain just got some major support from the big players who’ve been talking about how to leverage its power for most of the past year.

This includes IBM, Intel, JPMorgan and other big banks — all of which are ready to start finding a way to begin implementing distributed ledgers to process business and financial transactions.

This, of course, is the blockchain, the engine that powers bitcoin. But through the Open Ledger Project, in conjunction with the Linux Foundation, this group is looking to step over bitcoin and find new ways of distributing data, transactions and other sensitive information via the blockchain.

The goal of the Open Ledger Project is not to work in the cryptocurrency space but rather to leverage the technology behind the distributed ledger in order to streamline business tools that enable transactions and documents to move between parties faster. Another goal of the project would be to create open ledgers that can decide who can access that ledger.

Where IBM’s role comes into the mix is through the code that’s needed in the blockchain research. IBM has been enrolled in this mission for years and has most recently gotten other major companies, like JPMorgan, behind its plans to use the blockchain.

One use case for the blockchain is to enable business contracts to be sent electronically in a private, secure and fast manner. That’s one goal of the Open Ledger Project, according to Jerry Cuomo, an IBM Fellow on the project. But IBM has made it clear that the goal is to work with blockchain and not the bitcoin.

Banks have shared the same sentiment about the blockchain and have embraced that option instead of the digital currency bitcoin. Cuomo noted that bitcoin serves a purpose, but it’s different than the power of blockchain.

“I don’t have a strong opinion on cryptocurrencies, but I have a strong opinion on the blockchain as a solution for contracts and supply chains and the Internet of things,” Cuomo said, according to a Fortune article on the new project. “I think bitcoin is an interesting application for blockchain, but there are thousands of applications and wider use cases beyond that.”

He also noted that there won’t be just one blockchain to fit all use cases.

While businesses may be looking toward blockchain to transfer documents, banks are eyeing the option for tasks like transferring loans and moving money faster. This means the goals of business and banks could overlap, which shows why the companies across the industries have come together to embrace blockchain.

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