Hosted Blockchain Services

IBM hosted blockchain

What are the benefits of using hosted blockchain services such as IBM?

Leon Katsnelson, Director & CTO, IBM Analytics Emerging Technology answers this question on Quora:

Every blockchain project begins with identifying a “business network” i.e. a set of participants involved in the actual business exchange. In every blockchain technology I know, a participant is represented by a node on a blockchain. I think your question is “what are the advantages of hosting my participant node vs. running it myself?”

That is a great question :-). The answer very much depends on which blockchain you are a part of. Since you asked about IBM hosting I will assume you are interested in either

  • joining a private Hyperledger blockchain, or
  • building an entire new Hyperledger-based blockchain.

If you are joining an existing blockchain, you will typically have to follow the rules set by the chain and these rules will specify the best alternative. For example, we initiated Documentorum, a blockchain for academic credentials. If you are an education institution that issues certificates and diplomas, you can join Documentorum blockchain (based on Hyperledger) by either running Accreditation Network Node yourself, or our partner can run it for you.

You can do it all on your own but you will have a really hard time recreating this node yourself and there is really no reason to do it since it is free. What I am trying to say is that you will use Documentorum as opposed to contracting with IBM Blockchain Service directly.

If you are bootstrapping a complete new Hyperledger blockchain going with IBM Blockchain service makes a lot of sense.

You may have heard one of many marketing pitches telling you how easy it is to create a blockchain. Don’t believe it. Hyperledger is still very much in the nascent stage and designing and bringing up Hyperledger based network from scratch by yourself is a big challenge.

Going with IBM Blockchain Service simplifies it not just a little bit; it simplifies it immensely. There are other benefits like better security, a strong vendor that is trusted by the largest institutions especially in finance. However, these benefits pale in comparison to the one I described above i.e. simplicity of building a real production Hyperledger blockchain.

There is a great deal of interest in blockchain however, most of the materials available for learning the technology are either too high level or to lost in the low level mechanics. We created a free course we called Blockchain Essentials. Check it out.

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