Show Me The BlockChain!

“Show me the Money!”  Most of us know that now famous movie line.   What made the movie however was the path that had to be taken before he could show him the money.  Blockchain is about the path to and from the money.   What’s even better, blockchain is not just about showing the trail for money.  It could be the trail for money, food, cars or digital assets.

Implementing blockchain in an open source, open standards and open governance approach enables broad use rebuilding financial trust, transaction traceability and supply chain integrity.  These are some of benefits from the blockchain approach.  Why is a new way needed?  Let’s begin with an example we can all relate to….food.

This Emerging Tech Company Has Put Asia’s Tuna On The Blockchain By Keshia Hannam – 20ce08d52ea6



Tracking food from catch to table to ensure traceability in the food chain is exactly what one pilot that just ended in Indonesia delivered.  Why do we care?

“Their pilot successfully tracked fish in Indonesia from January to June of 2016, and demonstrated not just another digital interface, but a solution to tracking systems and claims securely and without the need for a centralized data management system. This has huge potential, given Asian Pacific seas provide daily food and income to over 200 million people living in Southeast Asia, and 90% of seafood consumed in the United States is imported with Southeast Asia being one of the largest suppliers, as per a US AID report.   Seafood is also now the most widely traded animal protein on the planet.”

We all care as it helps insure fishing rules, guidelines, and regulations are followed.  This also allows for measures to quickly to taken to identify sourcing problem in the supply chain if food based healthcare issues arise.  So the next time you hear about blockchain think about the potential for what it can do in any industry.


IBM Blockchain

With the standards for the future of blockchain being defined,  now is the time to experiment and create early use cases.  One of the resources on this link is a combined implementation including Watson,  IOT technology and Blockchain.  The Supply Chain Use Case provided in this link  is one,  like the tuna example above, that makes the blockchain implementation and value understandable to all.   One of the best presentations I have seen on Blockchain was given by John McLean, VP Global Blockchain Labs Engagement this summer.  His brief three minute video will have you following, sharing his content and wanting to hear more from this blockchain expert.

In addition, this Credit Mutual Arkea use case shows blockchain is not about a key technology that is coming it is about a key technology that is here with insight into where it may be going.   “Using the open-source Hyperledger Project fabric, the software reinforces consistency, traceability and privacy of the information, which is critical in a highly regulated environment. Ultimately, Crédit Mutuel Arkéa could enable its customers to deliver proof of their identity to third-parties such as local utilities, retailers or regulated service providers.”



CIO Explainer: What Is Blockchain? By  Steven Norton  Feb 2, 2016 12:49 am ET


A distributed ledger, right, is a network that records ownership through a shared registry Oliver Wyman

This summary in the Wall Street Journal is a good summary of blockchain’s history and potential.  This description of blockchain helps further explain the concept.  “Once a block of data is recorded on the blockchain ledger, it’s extremely difficult to change or remove. When someone wants to add to it, participants in the network — all of which have copies of the existing blockchain — run algorithms to evaluate and verify the proposed transaction. If a majority of nodes agree that the transaction looks valid — that is, identifying information matches the blockchain’s history — then the new transaction will be approved and a new block added to the chain.”


IBM Institute for Business Value Blockchain


This roadmap of the relative degree of increased efficiency with blockchain currently and then when aligned with the future benefits demonstrates why so many are looking at blockchain for their business.  In addition to looking at individual business uses the real value of blockchain comes when consensus is achieved for an transaction.   This bring us back to open source, open standards and open governance.

Getting consensus quickly is one of the major benefits of blockchain. Eliminating fraud is another major benefit.   Governance to maintain transaction integrity is key.  Updating a block with new information is part of the chain but information is not removed.  The end of the life of the transaction is predetermined (think governance).


Bluemix Cloud Blockchain Beta

Are you already ahead of the curve and your main goal is to use blockchain in an app or service?  The Bluemix Cloud has a BlockChain Beta Service ready for the test drive.  Here is a snapshot bluemix-blockchain

There are three examples in the tutorials (Under Docs) for trying the Blockchain Beta service that gives pointers on what happens in the process.  The setup needed to ensure the code dependencies are met are outlined in these instructions on the site.   Use the above link and it will take you through entire process of setting up your blockchain environment to run these demonstrations in the tutorials in the blockchain beta service in Bluemix.

Samples and tutorials


IBM Academic Initiative Blockchain Blog

As we continue to provide industry assets to faculty and students, the IBM Academic Initiative blog is a key communication vehicle for connecting with strategic industry academic outreach teams.  One of our academic outreach cloud program managers, Janine Gerber,  created this blog, Learn the future of Business Networks: It’s all about Blockchain and has updated the comments with additional links and resources.

The IBM Academic Initiative also provides the platform for students and faculty to explore using the Bluemix extended access and other resources in addition to the Blockchain Beta service listed above. In addition to BlockChain,  using IOT Services in the Cloud can give the students multiple experiences on individual building services and when new technologies emerge faculty and student both can get hands-on opportunities with that technology and integrating it with other services and or application program interfaces (APIs).

IBM Academic Initiative Student and Faculty Access


With the new IBM Academic Initiative OnTheHub site the above topics highlight key industry information paths for faulty and students to get to IBM resources.  Cloud access, courseware, software and access to remote hardware systems are some of the resources available.   The access is available to students and faculty.  Establish your own education and learning chain.  Over 6000 institutions worldwide have direct access to their resources through their own OnTheHub sites. Check out the site and look for your school.  If your school does not have a WebStore yet, but you can still get access to resources at the IBM Academic Initiative Store on the site.


World of Watson Evolving Education with Cognitive and Data Sciences Event


The World of Watson Evolving Education Day is approximately 3 weeks way.  The agenda includes faculty from around the globe:  Northwestern University Professor Randy Hlavac, UC Berkeley Professor Solomon Darvin and Gordon Pipa, Universität Osnabrück among the expert speakers.   Faulty have asked about hands on education opportunities so while this is not related to the blockchain topic specifically it is related to a need you have expressed.


Workshops include:

Hands-on workshops with emerging cognitive and data science technology

Data Science:

  • Empower every student to have smarter data driven decision making
  • Making data science a team sport

Cognitive Science:

  • Welcome to the cognitive era; a hands-on with Watson services
  • The new internet of cognitive data driven things

 Here is the link for the complete agenda and the link to register for this World of Watson Evolving Education with Cognitive and Data Sciences Day:  I will be there to answer your questions and our OnTheHub team will be available to set up your customized IBM Academic Initiative OnTheHub site and we can talk more about blockchain.

In summary,  it’s all about the blockchain!  It may still seem to be more science fiction than science now but as we all know technology moves quickly.  Technology associated with financial transactions and providing traceability and accountability  to remove abuse and fraud to improve trust in transactions  is why we have intermediaries in financial transactions now those intermediaries will be blocks in the chain delivering blockchain on a massive scale.   Here’s to blockchain…because it can show us the path to (and from) the money!



Valinda Kennedy

LinkedIn:  Valinda Kennedy

Twitter:   vscarbro


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