Microsoft Knocks out IBM for Enterprise Blockchain Crown: Report

Microsoft’s Blockchain-as-a-Service (Baas) platform has taken the top spot in a ranking compiled by market foresight advisory firm ABI Research.

Per the report , Microsoft managed to beat competitors in the ranking owing to the advantage it has on the actual implementation front where a wide range of platform services are offered.

It also helped that Microsoft’s BaaS platform is deeply integrated with its Azure cloud service, which commands the second-largest market share in the public cloud services market globally.

Big Blue

IBM came second after Microsoft, and the two firms were leagues ahead of other vendors such as Oracle, Amazon, Alibaba, Baidu, Cisco, SAP, HPE, Huawei, and Tencent. ABI Research assessed the tech companies based on a wide range of innovation metrics.

“Each vendor was analyzed on innovation metrics such as market penetration, proof of concepts and pilots, and ecosystem support, and implementation metrics such as platform diversity, primary features, developer resources, and integration with their own solutions,” wrote ABI Research in a press release.

Part of the reason for Microsoft’s and IBM’s dominance is the fact that they have been in the blockchain space for longer than most of the other vendors, such as Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei and enterprise software behemoth Oracle.

Huawei launched its BaaS platform last month, while Oracle unveiled its blockchain platform in May.

$7 Billion Market

This comes at a time when the BaaS market is expected to balloon to US$7 billion in the future, according to a research analyst at Bank of America, Kash Rangan. As CCN reported in October, Rangan projected that the multi-billion dollar opportunities presented by the expansion would be reaped by marrying blockchain with the current cloud computing infrastructure and enhancing some parts of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms.

At the time, Rangan gave the example of Microsoft’s cloud computing platform Azure as a service that stood to benefit by integrating BaaS. Other vendors that Rangan highlighted included Amazon, which he noted was positioned to gain from blockchain technology both as a vendor of cloud services and as an online retailer.

“Amazon will benefit from incremental cloud services demand from Blockchain implementation, while improved supply chain tracking should make Amazon’s retail operations more efficient,” CCN reported Rangan as having written in a client note.

Rangan’s forecast of how much the BaaS market will be worth in the future assumed that 2 percent of servers would be allocated to running blockchain at an annual cost per server of US$5,500.

Some of the tech firms that Rangan listed as likely to be major beneficiaries of the expansion of the BaaS market but were not analyzed by ABI Research when compiling the BaaS platform rankings included VMware and Salesforce.


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Author: Mark Emem
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Walmart implements IBM’s blockchain for food traceability

The aim is to track food from farm to store in near real time using blockchain’s distributed ledger system.

Walmart is working with IBM to implement blockchain as part of new food safety requirements for its suppliers. By this time next year, Walmart and Sam’s Club will ask suppliers of leafy greens like romaine lettuce and spinach to implement food traceability via IBM’s blockchain technology focused on the global food supply chain.

The aim is to track food from farm to store in near real time using blockchain’s distributed ledger system.

Walmart has worked with IBM since 2016 to apply new levels of traceability based on blockchain technology across the food supply chain. Walmart said the plan now is to extend the technology in order to help reduce the spread of food-borne illnesses by pinpointing issues in the food chain, while at the same time avoiding massive losses for retailers and suppliers during a recall.

“We’re committed to providing our customers with safe, quality foods,” said Frank Yiannas, vice president of food safety for Walmart. “Our customers deserve a more transparent supply chain.We felt the one-step-up and one-step-back model of food traceability was outdated for the 21st century. This is a smart, technology-supported move that will greatly benefit our customers and transform the food system, benefitting all stakeholders.”

Big Blue has been applying blockchain technology in various supply chain scenarios including shipping, food and banking. Last August, IBM launched its blockchain food supply efforts via a collaboration with Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, Kroger, McCormick and Company, McLane Company, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Walmart and Unilever. Walmart, IBM and China’s Tsinghua University have piloted blockchain in the food supply chain previously.

Blockchain is a secure, encrypted database architecture that logs and links all transactions on a tamper-proof ledger distributed among multiple parties. In effect, a blockchain creates an immutable golden record of time-stamped transactions related to any product that can be bought and sold. In the supply chain, blockchain is used as a means to increase transparency, add visibility and improve supply chain economics.


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Author:  Natalie Gagliordi
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IBM and FX Giant CLS Team Up to Launch Blockchain App Store for Banks

Even private and permissioned blockchains need to build ecosystems and achieve network effects, just like their permissionless, public counterparts.

At least, that’s the thinking behind LedgerConnect, a financial blockchain “app store” that aims to make it easier for banks to access distributed ledger technology (DLT) solutions from fintech and software providers, and for those vendors in turn to reach bank customers.

Announced Monday, LedgerConnect is the offspring of bank-owned currency trading utility CLS and enterprise software giant IBM, and counts major banks Barclays and Citigroup among its founding members.

In fact, nine financial institutions are participating in the proof of concept (PoC) and have selected services from a number of vendors including Baton Systems, Calypso, Copp Clark, IBM, MPhasis, OpenRisk, SynSwap and Persistent Systems.

On LedgerConnect, financial institutions will be able to access DLT-based services in areas such as know-your-customer processes, sanctions screening, collateral management, derivatives post-trade processing and reconciliation and market data.

This new hub will address a connectivity gap, where upstart fintechs and large tech firms alike are faced with the cost and complexity of spinning up their own distributed networks so banks can consume their various applications, according to Keith Bear, IBM’s vice president for financial markets.

“Having a secure network and proven infrastructure allows an app store kind of model, where banks can identify applications from certified fintech and software providers and deploy these apps over a seamless blockchain network,” Bear told CoinDesk.

For Barclays, one of the most active banks in the DLT field, the app store is a way to test out a new approach.

Dr. Lee Braine of the investment bank CTO office at Barclays, explained that there are several different deployment options to consider when architecting distributed ledgers for live environments.

For example, if a financial market infrastructure provider like CLS is providing the governance and business services for a particular use case, then there may be an option for that market infrastructure provider to also host the nodes on behalf of the banks in order to accelerate the initial speed to market, said Braine.

“Some banks may also look to explore the more decentralized deployment option of hosting their nodes themselves,” said Braine. “By participating in the LedgerConnect proof-of-concept, Barclays is gaining experience of a distributed ledger private network aimed at connecting both market infrastructure-hosted nodes and bank-hosted nodes.”

LedgerConnect itself runs partly on a permissioned blockchain based on IBM’s blockchain platform, which in turn was built on Hyperledger Fabric, and all the apps currently in the store are Hyperledger-based. However, the founders are open to other enterprise blockchain solutions making use of the app store.

“We are not averse to supporting other ledger implementations, whether it is R3’s Corda, whether it is Quorum (provided these techs are robust and can meet the needs we have from security perspective etc.),” said Ram Komarraju, head of innovation and solution delivery at CLS.

He added:

“Our expectation is that in principle we will not be limited to one technology only.”

Original consortium

Stepping back, CLS can perhaps be thought of as the original blockchain consortium.

Granted, it was founded in 2002 (six years before the first blockchain was conceived) to provide plumbing for FX trades. But it’s been testing blockchain technology since early 2015, before Hyperledger started and when R3 was still flying under the radar.

The early CLS blockchain efforts were later formalized into CLSNet, a way of testing blockchain to match and net trades involving a range of new currencies not on the main platform, keeping immature blockchain technology separate from the core settlement engine used by 60 large financial institutions.

“There is a lot of trade processing we do for banks and buy-side firms, without getting to the last mission-critical aspects of settlement itself,” said Komarraju.

As such, CLSNet will be one of the first applications on the new LedgerConnect portal. All these apps have been selected in the hope of removing typical reconciliation efforts and data duplication (remedies include things like capturing digitalized master agreements of derivatives contracts on a single ledger for example).

“Look at capital markets today, every bank has its own silo office systems even though they are trading typically with a counterparty that has the same type of business logic but using the same technology stack,” added Komarraju.

IBM and CLS go back a ways; the main CLS platform was built by IBM. And LedgerConnect is a way of joining the dots between their respective financial infrastructure and blockchain work, at the same time extending the blockchain work CLS has been doing beyond foreign exchange into other capital market domains.

“This is really leveraging the combination of CLS’s position as a globally systemically important market utility owned by the banks, and also IBM’s investment in that,” said Komarraju.

PoC fatigue

Unlike the average PoC, LedgerConnect is at quite an advanced state, according to Komarraju.

“We didn’t start this on Monday,” he said. “We have institutions that have selected a number of use cases and these have been implemented and we are in the very late stages of proving the technology.”

While Barclays and Citi are the only banks being named at this time, big hitters like JPMorgan and Goldman, which are both part of CLSNet, are logical candidates to take part.

Another list of likely suspects are the banks on the we.trade platform, which also uses Hyperledger in the form of an IBM software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.

Explaining why CLS couldn’t reveal all the participants in LedgerConnect, Komarraju hinted that some of these big banks are experiencing a bit of blockchain PoC fatigue.

“We cannot share the names of full list of banks because we haven’t (yet) received the approvals from some of them. Some of them wanted to wait until the proof of concept is complete and others needed more time for internal approvals,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bear of IBM said the whole reason we are seeing PoC fatigue is because so many of them don’t progress. While this can be because of a weak business case, or one that doesn’t need a blockchain, oftentimes it comes down to the cost and complexity of getting a network up and running.

“In many ways we are trying to get rid of that PoC fatigue,” said Bear. “I know we have to go through a PoC to do that, but it’s kind of inevitable.”


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Author: Ian Allison
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Stellar Lumens (XLM) and Bitcoin Boost from IBM Spurs the Crypto Market!

Since IBM announced they are supporting a stable coin affiliated to the USD, there have been a lot of gains in the market but Stellar Lumens (XLM) and Bitcoin (BTC) are the major beneficiaries. The IBM and Stronghold support is now taking shape and the new Stable coin will ride on the Stellar ecosystem.



IBM will make the stablecoin help its clients by monetizing their products and technologies going forward. This will boost bot Stellar and Bitcoin. Since the announcement was made public five days ago, XLM price has gone up by over 50% while Bitcoin has gained 19%. If the boost is anything to write home about, this could be a major breakout for XLM.
Asset Bases Stronghold USD and Stellar XLM

The stronghold USD token asset will be in a ratio of 1:1 in value to the green buck once deployed on the Stella network. To many crypto-sphere analysts, this will add the much needed liquidity in the market going into the future. The beauty of the arrangement is that the tokes will be under the custody of a state backed trust firm.

This arrangement is set to enable financial establishments get secure access to the digital coin arena. According to Sean Bennett, the CTO and co-founder of Stronghold:
“The process for seamlessly managing and trading assets of any form from digital to traditional currencies, needs to evolve as financial institutions are seeking ways to break into new asset classes like cryptocurrencies. Asset-backed tokens can provide seamless access to all currencies, improving the global movement of money.”

However, Jed McCaleb who is Stella co-founder added that the partnership will yield increased adoption and offer XLM a bigger global reach. There is a lot of focus on the Stellar network and the additional trust from IBM will turn out to be the best price and value boost that the platform has been missing.

https://www.avinoc.com/tokensale

The introduction neither of Stronghold token is a great step forward nor only for the Stellar ecosystem but the entire crypto verse. The beauty of the deal is that Stellar is not competing with convectional banking outfits but rather complementing them. With widespread adoption, each participant will benefit and the blockchain usability will gain more trust.

Stellar Lumens (XLM) will give IBM the cryptocurrency usability it lacks will the Stronghold USD will provide the stability the tech company needs and cushion it against the volatility of digital assets. Banks and merchants have been shying from crypto adoption and this could turn out to give them the confidence that has been lacking.

With the cryptocurrency market thriving, the usability of XLM will come in handy for IBM to grow its market share. This will in turn change the banking sector focus from Ripple to Stellar, a move that will shake the existing competition between the two blockchain outfits.
“The digitization of real-world assets using blockchain can dramatically transform many forms of financial transactions conducted around the world. “New types of fiat-backed instruments, like Stronghold’s USD, have the potential to improve the backbone of international banking operations and payments’, giving banks an easier way to integrate with public blockchain networks without significant changes to their core banking and compliance infrastructure”, adds Jesse Lund, blockchain president at IBM.

Stellar Lumens seems to be basking on the limelight and still trading in the green for the last 24 hours and this could continue towards the end of the year. Many investors appear to be flooding to stake on XLM and this could mean a stable price and increased value.

At the time of reporting, the Stellar Lumens (XLM) was trading at $0.294921 after marginally gaining against the dollar and Bitcoin by 3.63% and 2.22% respectively. Bitcoin on the other hand is also trading on the green just shy of the $7,500 mark since the announcement and the ripple effect is being felt across the entire market.


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Author: Cami Albert
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Stellar Lumens [XLM] now has a universal marketplace called StellarX

StellarX, is a shared universal marketplace based on Stellar. StellarX is free, quick and it rundowns each feature of seamless exchanges be it crypto, fiat, bonds or commodities.
StellarX allows its users to live the inter-chain dream of swapping municipal bonds for XLM while the transactions are settled in seconds. The platform permits its users to trade directly from their own wallet, and one can deposit or redeem off-chain assets.



StellarX is built on the open Stellar order book, which indicates that exchanges, miners or any individual cannot take a share from the transactions held. StellarX is a fully peer-to-peer and trader-to-trader based platform.

Since Stellar network fees are low, it is completely free to trade on StellarX considering the minimal transactional fee is refunded by the team of StellarX to its traders. Stellar’s automatic 1% APR inflation is also offered to the users by StellarX. Which results in no weekly airdrops being signed to them; rather the users who sign up on StellarX get a pro-rata XLM on every Tuesday.

StellarX on their official Medium announcement have said:
“Since StellarX is the first complete client for Stellar, we support every last token issued to the network, all 2500+ of them, including dankness like eQuid (GBP tether or digital cephalopod, who can say?) and something calling itself “charna token”.”

Recently, the blockchain based phone network, YOVO which is completely built on the Stellar network announced to be relocated to Malta, where they plan to take their project ahead, making the usage of XLM’s network broader.

Stellar lumens has been and still is a part of some major, revolutionary projects. One such project is its collaboration with IBM.


Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

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Author: Simran Alphonso
Image Credit: Pixabay

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