Blog / Leadership & Transformation

Tech Giants’ Blockchain Projects

The headlines of the last months leave no doubt that presently is not the best moment for the cryptocurrencies. The virtual currency bubble seems to have exploded following the 85 percent decline in the combined valuation of cryptocurrencies. The recent controversy surrounding the loss of $150 million worth of crypto by Canada’s biggest Crypto Exchange, QuadrigaCX, added fuel to the flames. However unstable and uncertain the future for Bitcoin and other cryptos might look at the moment, the technology that sustains them -the blockchain- is on the rise. Even though in many cases it is still in an experimental phase, the number of new projects that resort to blockchain technology has skyrocketed. All you have to do is take a look at what big companies are doing. Companies like IBM, Microsoft, Amazon or Samsung are currently working on many solutions empowered by blockchain technology. These projects probably won’t result in immediate inflows of large revenues, but hold promise for the years to come.Microsoft is the second great technology company that has shown interest in incorporating blockchain to its commercial offer. In these moments, Microsoft has grabbed a significant 19% of the market share. Microsoft’s Blockchain Workbench, a set of tools designed to simplify the development of Blockchain networks using Azure as a platform, is probably the most notable of their initiatives. One of the main advantages of Workbench is the speed with which a new network can be launched or new applications developed, as well as the integration of other Microsoft tools, such as Azure Active Directory or Azure Key Vault. The company is using Blockchain also internally to better protect the copyright in its gaming platform and that of the Xbox content and manage payments in a more agile (decentralized) way. Finally, the company has positioned itself as one of the major contributors of the ID2020 Alliance, a public-private initiative that aims to resolve the situation in which more than 1,000 million people in the world do not have an official document proving their identity. For this purpose, in collaboration with Accenture and Avanade, Microsoft is in the process of creating his own blockchain platform.Of the big technology companies, IBM has been the most interested in expanding into the world of blockchain. It is estimated that more than 1,500 employees of the company work exclusively in this area. That has resulted in IBM already representing 32% of the blockchain solution market. The efforts of the blue giant to popularize and start doing business with this technology are starting to bear fruits. The development of Hyperledger Fabric, an open-source blockchain infrastructure managed by The Linux Foundation could probably be called de starship project of IBM. BaaS (Blockchain as a Service) strategy, which IBM launched in 2017, offering companies and governments the possibility of deploying their own network, was based on that platform. A year later, the corporation presented its DLT environment (platform to build blockchain applications), used to introduce their blockchain offer to banks and financial institutions. More recently, IBM has taken an interest in the food sector, announcing cooperation with Walmart and Carrefour. Blockchain technology has allowed setting in motion a pioneering system of food traceability, which makes it possible to follow the products in all stages of production and distribution.On February 20 Samsung presented its newest models in San Francisco. Among other features, the new models stand out for a private crypto key storage and an all-in-one blockchain platform called Knox. The blockchain tutorial on the Galaxy S10 device introduced the application of blockchain technology in various areas such as insurance, which suggests that Samsung is exploring various applications of the blockchain and cryptocurrencies in the months to come. However, given the negative headlines surrounding crypto, the presentation concentrated on Samsung’s crypto wallet, which houses the private keys of the users for blockchain-enabled mobile services, being top notch and more secure than any existing alternative. On a general note, many analysts have speculated that the integration of native crypto support on the Galaxy S10 (that could be used by tens of millions of users) may have a more significant impact on crypto than other highly anticipated catalysts.Amazon has no intention of staying out of the business opportunities that blockchain entails. A few months ago they launched AWS Blockchain Templates. This release aims to facilitate for the companies the use of Ethereum or Hyperledger. Thanks to the use of templates, companies can develop their projects much faster, without having to start from scratch. On the other hand, Amazon's commitment to the blockchain has stood out in recent months for their strategic alliance with Kaleido, a blockchain business cloud that promises companies to develop their own blockchain network in a matter of minutes.

Zigurat Global Institute of Technology