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IBM partners with R3 for enterprise blockchain

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IBM and R3 are collaborating, both for IBM to provide R3’s enterprise blockchain to its clients and for Corda Enterprise to be available on IBM LinuxONE across the hybrid cloud and on-premises, especially in the area of digital asset custody, confirming previous reports.

This isn’t IBM’s first blockchain offering outside of Hyperledger Fabric, but to date, R3’s Corda has been a competitor in the permissioned enterprise blockchain realm. That said, if IBM’s clients are interested in Corda, it makes sense for IBM to serve them.

At CordaCon, Jason Kelley, GM of IBM Blockchain Services, said that IBM has had a Corda development team for quite some time. “People think cats and dogs altogether and it’s not,” he said.

But Big Blue is taking it a step further by formalizing an R3 center of excellence within IBM Services, including Corda-certified solution architects.

“R3 and IBM will provide access to the privacy and security inherent in blockchain technology underpinned by IBM LinuxONE,” said R3’s CEO David Rutter. “This combined with the deeply knowledgeable team within IBM Services’ new R3 center of excellence, can empower customers to level up their digital transformation drive.”

While this might be viewed as a huge win for R3, it’s a win-win for both. Ultimately IBM is one of the leading blockchain solution providers and this enables it to extend its reach even further.

A critical need for banks is to secure the keys for blockchain services. And the IBM Cloud Hyper Protect Services provides a solution for banks to keep control of their keys. The offering also provides confidential computing capabilities, an area where R3 has a common interest. R3 launched its first non-blockchain solution, Conclave, which deals with Confidential Computing.

“This announcement builds on the exciting work over the last several months to welcome new workloads to LinuxONE and IBM Cloud Hyper Protect Services in emerging areas like blockchain and digital asset custody – and we’re looking forward to taking this next step with R3 to build on this momentum with clients of all sizes from early stage startups to the largest global enterprises,” said Ross Mauri, GM of IBM Z.

The beta program for IBM LinuxOne starts November 2nd, with a rollout expected in the first quarter of 2021.

Enterprises often highlight the need to prevent blockchain ecosystems from becoming larger silos. While some progress has been made in public blockchains, and Hyper;edger cactus is working on a solution, to date, R3 has focused on interoperability between ecosystems using its own Corda Network.

IBM wants to bridge the divide, given it has involvement with several distributed ledger technologies (DLT). IBM is also on the governing council of the Hedera hashgraph DLT and used Stellar for its IBM worldwide project. .

“This center of excellence is being designed to innovate and incubate client-requested ideas and use cases leveraging IBM’s deep expertise in developing and standing up commercially available production grade blockchain networks,” said Jason Kelley, General Manager, IBM Blockchain Services. “We will use IBM methods, including design thinking, to focus efforts on developing interoperability solutions for disparate blockchain networks, digital assets and currencies and industry-focused use cases.”

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