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Here’s a Sneak Peak Inside IBM’s Blockchain System

Justin OConnell on 27/12/2016


Dr. Ganapathi Pulipaka, founder and CEO of big data startup DeepSingularity, tweeted earlier this month a sneak peak into what IBM is doing in terms of blockchain work.


“IBM building blockchain ecosystem,” Dr. Pulipaka tweets.


What the diagrams he pictures show are a blockchain ecosystem incorporating big data, deep learning, machine learning, data science, artificial intelligence, the internet of things and blockchain.


When multinationals entered into the space, discussion centered on whether or not Bitcoin’s security was good enough. Many Hyperledger and R3 CEV developers believe it does not suffice for enterprise purposes. Over the past year we have seen blockchain models different than bitcoin’s, and what Hyperledger presents is really a first evolution of “permissioned ledgers” which incorporate elements of the blockchain.


The diagrams demonstrate a signature based transaction system which feeds into a system of “consenters” which act as security and presumably a governance model of some sort.


A peer in the network submits a signed transaction to a series of endorsing peers before the transaction is verified and confirmed by the “consenters.”


Photos also display a “consensus fabric” comprised of chaincode operations for validation purposes. It’s presumed consenters are namely the financial institutions and multinational corporations invested in the code. This model is a way for the different financial institutions (consenters) to separate their interests from each other. As entrepreneur Vinny Lingham tweeted:


“Irony: Satoshi builds Bitcoin because Banks didn’t trust each other. Banks build R3 to prove it.”


That seems to be what this part is for.


Similar to Bitcoin, the consensus protocol in Hyperledger’s blockchain “ensures ledger replicas are identical” and the system allows for “participants [to] have possibly multiple shared ledgers.”


IBM has been at work on distributed ledgers which incorporate blockchain technology for a couple years. They’ve experimented with protocols developed by startups like Ripple and development teams behind public blockchains like Ethereum.


Insiders posit that IBM wants to “evolve the internet.”


“The Internet is constrained,” said IBM’s Global Blockchain Offering Director John Wolpert to a Lighthouse Partners San Francisco blockchain conference in 2015. “You have a fabric that allows for lots of competition on platforms and huge amounts of competition on solutions and applications on top of it, so we need to evolve the Internet to become economically aware, and that Internet isn’t going to be an application, it is going to be a fabric and then lots of applications on top of that.”


Wolpert added: “What I want to see, what we want to see, is a world full of companies who I can know, who I can identify, who are so spread out, like the Internet.”


IBM is currently “rapidly expanding” their blockchain ecosystem efforts.

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