Leading European companies are continuing to innovate with blockchain technology, progressing projects from proof of concept to production environments. And many, have selected IBM Blockchain as their partner of choice.
Blockchain in the enterprise
The attributes of blockchain technology are ideally suited to large networks of disparate partners. As such, it represents an attractive technology for large corporations and start-ups alike, with assets spread across the world in various forms.
The blockchain is a distributed ledger technology, which establishes a shared, immutable record of all the transactions that take place within a network. It then enables permissioned parties access to trusted data in real time.
Blockchain technology adoption accelerating in enterprise
‘By applying the technology to a variety of business processes, a new form of command and consent can be introduced into the flow of information, empowering multiple partners to collaborate and establishing a single shared view of a transaction without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality,’ according to an announcement released today by IBM.
‘The hallmark of IBM’s blockchain business has been the ability to convene broad groups of network participants to embrace a collaborative platform approach to blockchain adoption,’ reads the announcement.
‘These clients are capitalising on the opportunity for greater trust and transparency using blockchain across a variety of industries, for example to better manage the reconciliation of international mobile phone roaming charges, securing digital identity for citizens, and complying with new European banking directives on customer communications.’
IBM has more than 500 blockchain projects globally, and is engaged across all industries. The company notes that European projects, in particular, are on the rise. According to the IDC, “blockchain spending in Europe is now growing faster than anywhere else”.
“From large enterprises to startups, across multiple industries, businesses across Europe are selecting IBM Blockchain,” said Andrew Darley, IBM Blockchain Platform Leader, Europe. “Clients are attracted by the production-readiness of the IBM Blockchain Platform, allowing them to run highly secure networks in any environment of their choosing, on premise, via IBM Cloud, or an increasing number of other industry cloud providers.”
European clients are working with IBM to drive blockchain innovation in their industries:
Telefónica and IBM are collaborating in the development of a proof of concept based on IBM blockchain technology to help solve one of the major challenges of operators, the management of international mobile phone call traffic.
The project resolves in real time the veracity and traceability of the information generated by the different networks of the operators when they route an international call thanks to a decentralized platform to which all the operators that intervene in the process have access. As a consequence, fraudulent behaviors and discrepancies between the information recorded by each operator are significantly reduced.
The Central Bank of the Republic of Azerbaijan and IBM are developing a Digital Identification System based on Hyperledger Fabric for individuals and legal entities, to verify the reliability of the documents related to them, when individuals or legal entities turn to banks, credit providers and other organizations. The new system will simplify and automate the ‘Know Your Customer’ validation process, and will be used by both clients and credit organisations serving citizens of Azerbaijan.
Finnish retail cooperative S-Group is testing their Pike-perch radar solution, which is based on IBM Blockchain technology, as part of the retail group’s strategy to improve customer experience. Customers in Finland can trace a fillet of pike or perch freshwater fish back to its home waters using the QR Code on the package of “Kotimaista-kuhafile” fish, or by logging in to a tracking website.
PKO Bank Polski, together with KIR (Krajowa Izba Rozliczeniowa S.A. – Polish automated clearing house) and in partnership with IBM and Accenture, is using blockchain to help the bank achieve compliance with the European Union Payment Services Directive related to customer communication. Now the client documents and communications sent digitally to more than 5 million customers of the bank will be held in a highly secure blockchain-based repository.
The Central Securities Depository of Poland (Krajowy Depozyt Papierów Wartościowych, KDPW) has implemented their e-Voting solution in production, designed to encourage greater retail shareholder participation in company AGMs, and ensure transparency to regulators on the history of AGM agendas, and voting results.
Startup software developer Comgo.io, with support from IBM, is digitising the entire donation and spend process for NGOs using Hyperledger Fabric, a Linux Foundation project. NGO donors can see in real time what money has already been spent and the activities supported.
For example, when charity workers in India purchase hygiene products for the street children they support, the payment is tracked on a mobile phone, and written to the blockchain, allowing the approved people to see the transactions, and triggering the NGO responsible to verify that the children did actually receive the products.
The application enhances transparency to build a deeper connection between the donors and the charity, and helps donors to understand more about the work of the NGO. Comgo.io is implementing the application with 7 NGOs: Fundación Recover; Orden de Malta; Fundación Exit; Farmacéuticos sin Fronteras; KUBUKA; Itwillbe, and homelessentrepreneur.
The blockchain space race: It’s all about connection
IBM attributes this blockchain momentum to the ease of use of the IBM Blockchain Platform and the open nature of the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric blockchain framework, coupled with the deep industry expertise of the organisation.
Another factor is the availability of services and developer resources on the ground in Europe, supporting clients, according to IBM: IBM Client Centres and Blockchain Garages in London and Böblingen; IBM Client Innovation Centres in Paris, Nice and Gronningen; an Industry Solution Centre in Montpellier; IBM Food Trust operational in Frankfurt; IBM Research centers in Zurich and Dublin, focused on cryptography, innovations in AI and optical imaging to help prove the identity and authenticity of objects, detect anomalies and support preventative maintenance in industrial environments; and at the Watson IoT Center in Munich, clients are engaged on projects to explore the convergence of IoT and blockchain, and how clients can automate business processes, gain competitive advantage, and create new business models, by embedding end point and sensor data into blockchain networks, to trigger smart contracts.
IBM’s Blockchain Starter Plan on IBM Cloud is also helping developers, startups and enterprises build blockchain proof-of-concepts quickly and affordably with an end-to-end blockchain development experience: a secure test environment, suite of education tools and modules and one-click network provisioning.