Enterprise software conglomerate IBM is joining the ranks of other finance and tech giants across the globe that are now eyeing the blockchain and its potential to change the way B2B business is done.
Reports in The Wall Street Journal issued last week said IBM has launched an initiative to develop its own blockchain-like technology and plans to release open-source software within just a few months to let companies access the tool.
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IBM is said to be working on a software to create digital contracts that are based and kept on a public, secure global network, much like how the blockchain allows transactions to be recorded.
The WSJ said that the venture, which IBM recognizes as experimental at the moment, could possibly be used by banks, or by businesses in international B2B commerce, or even as a platform to be used by both banks and businesses.
“Blockchain, as a technology, is extremely interesting and intriguing,” said IBM Researcher SVP Arvind Krishna, reports said. “I want to extend banking to the 3.2 billion people who are going to come into the middle class over the next 15 years. So I need a much lower cost of keeping a ledger. Blockchain offers some intriguing possibilities there.”
The company is, however, unsure exactly who would use the new technology, if anyone.
Still, reports aren’t ignoring the potential to overhaul the way B2B payments are made, or that IBM has a track record of pushing innovative tools like Apache Web and Linux into the mainstream. Analysts said, however, that IBM’s top challenge in this case will be successfully making a blockchain-like tool open to businesses and banks.
IBM said that it is considering ways to accomplish this feat, including having a group of enterprises running the platform, reports said.
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