Beyond Facebook formally unveiling the Libra cryptocurrency, Tuesday also saw major enterprises like Microsoft and IBM make their own high-profile blockchain moves.
To start, the distributed ledger consortium Hyperledger Project announced eight new members on June 18th, with Microsoft, Salesforce, and the Ethereum Foundation being among the most recognizable of the group’s latest entrants.
Microsoft, which has been making more moves around blockchain tech in recent months, now joins the 250 other consortium members — in their midst banks, companies, universities, and beyond — that have already joined the Hyperledger Project, which is hosted by the Linux Foundation.
As such, Microsoft will now join forces with these other institutions to help build out the various platforms currently being developed under the Hyperledger umbrella, which include projects like Hyperledger Burrow (a permissioned smart contract engine), Hyperledger Fabric (a blockchain framework), and Hyperledger Sawtooth (modular distributed ledger tech).
Marley Gray, the lead architect of Microsoft’s Blockchain Engineering team, said the company was committed to furthering the Hyperledger ecosystem and was keen to get to work:
“Our journey in the blockchain ecosystem has brought us a long way, and now is the time for us to join the Hyperledger community. We are proud of our contributions to such a diverse blockchain ecosystem, from our Azure service offerings and developer toolkits to our leadership in driving open specifications. We look forward to contributing to the community’s projects as well as initiating new ones based on emerging standards.”
Microsoft’s Hyperledger entrance is only the tech giant’s latest activity that has implications for the wider cryptoeconomy and blockchain arena.
This month, the company integrated Truffle — a suite of Ethereum tools — into its Azure cloud computing marketplace and open-sourced VeriSol, an analysis tool it developed to verify and audit smart contracts in Ethereum.
In May, Microsoft announced work on its ION tool, a decentralized identity (DID) solution anchored to the Bitcoin network. Days prior to the ION announcement, the company declared it had integrated Quorum, JP Morgan’s permissioned fork of Ethereum, into its Azure marketplace.
Zooming out, if the tech powerhouse’s joining of Hyperledger is any indication, these kinds of blockchain forays are likely just beginning for the firm.
IBM Announces Its “Next-Gen” Blockchain Network
On June 18th, IBM Vice President of Blockchain Technologies Jerry Cuomo revealed the next generation of the IBM Blockchain Platform, the company’s distributed ledger platform for enterprises.
The VP noted that the updated system boasted considerably more advanced capabilities than its first rendition. As Cuomo explained:
“This means you can now deploy the IBM Blockchain Platform on the infrastructure of your choosing. Deploy to public clouds like IBM Cloud, AWS, and Azure, or deploy on-premises in private clouds with secure infrastructures like LinuxOne. This hybrid and multicloud approach will allow blockchain networks to work effectively across multiple environments.”
As a result, the platform’s enterprise users can now enjoy more flexibility than ever in how they choose to leverage the tech, or at least that’s the idea.
As for IBM, the company’s recently been no stranger to blockchain headlines of its own. Last month, it was revealed that Maersk, the world’s biggest container ship business, had enlisted two of its largest industry peers, CMA CGM and Mediterranean Shipping Co., to join TradeLens, a smart contract platform for global shippers that relies on IBM’s blockhain tech.
In April, the company notched another high-profile embrace in announcing that Volkswagen Group would use IBM Blockchain to track the flow of minerals throughout the automobile manufacturer’s supply chain.
Earlier in the spring, the tech giant had activated the Blockchain World Wire, a cross-border payments network the company had developed in collaboration with the builders of Stellar.