IBM Opens New York Bluemix Garage for Cloud Blockchain Application Development

IBM on Tuesday announced a new Bluemix Garage in New York, located at Galvanize’s newly launched New York campus in SoHo. This enables developers and enterprises to work with IBM Blockchain code in the cloud.  As with IBM’s other garages in San Francisco, London, Nice and Toronto, the New York Garage will invite startups and enterprises to collaborate in a creative environment outside of their traditional office setting.

IBM is ramping up its efforts to become one of the top players in the emerging sector of distributed ledger technology. The company is a key member of Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project, a collaborative effort started in December to establish, build and sustain an open source non-Bitcoin blockchain. In February, Bitcoin Magazine reported that IBM was deploying a Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) for developers and making tens of thousands of lines of code available to the Hyperledger Project. In April, IBM announced new cloud services based on the company’s Hyperledger code and IBM’s cloud platform, Bluemix.

Bluemix, on which more than 120,000 apps are launched every month, is becoming one of the largest open, public cloud deployments in the world. Based in open standards, it features more than 140 tools and services spanning categories of big data, mobile, Watson, analytics, integration, DevOps, security and the Internet of Things (IoT).

To promote its Bluemix cloud services for blockchain development, the company launched a “Bluemix Garage for blockchain” initiative to “deliver business solutions that work” by combining industry expertise with blockchain technology along with proven development methodologies such as Design Thinking and Agile Development. IBM intends to deploy Bluemix garages in major cities worldwide as hubs where developers, product managers and designers can come together to build on Bluemix. The IBM garages will be open to local companies to visit, ask questions to IBM experts and see demonstrations of business solutions built on the “blockchain fabric” from the Linux Foundation Hyperledger project.

The blockchain garages will have a business-oriented, as opposed to technology-oriented, approach. “We will explain IBM’s Blockchain point of view in business terms, avoiding technical gobbledygook,” states IBM. “We discuss what blockchain can and cannot do for business. We will encourage a dialogue (we don’t like monologues!) to make sure we are on the same page.”

The idea is to persuade potential clients to rely on IBM for blockchain technology development and deployment: “If we decide we are on the same page, we can talk logistics to get the customer hands-on with blockchain.”

“Galvanize has been a great home and partner for IBM’s groundbreaking Bluemix Garage on our San Francisco campus, and we are excited to bring that partnership to New York City,” said Jim Deters, co-founder and CEO of Galvanize. “Having IBM’s Garage in New York City, within the Galvanize community, allows our strong network of developers and startups to leverage the power of the cloud and the expertise of IBM to competitively innovate products and apps in the growing fintech and blockchain spaces.”

The IBM press release notes that masses of developers, growing by 20,000 a week and projected to reach a global population of 25 million by 2020, are increasingly using Bluemix garages to tap into IBM Cloud APIs for blockchain technology, cognitive computing, IoT, unstructured data, social media and more to swiftly build and launch innovations.

According to IBM, blockchain networks will vaporize current frictions in the economy that are inhibiting business growth, propelling the movement of capital and exchange of value. The company is also announcing new blockchain projects developed, in partnership with IBM’s garage network worldwide, by Credit Mutuel Arkea in Nice, France and Mizuho Financial Group in Tokyo.

“Mizuho will explore how payments can be instantaneously swapped, potentially leading to new financial services based on this rapidly evolving technology,” notes the new IBM press release.

Mizuho Financial Group announced that it is collaborating with the IBM Garage in Tokyo to find out how payment settlements could be implemented near-instantaneously using the codebase developed by IBM for the Hyperledger project. The project will use a virtual currency pegged to the yen, developed by Mizuho. With this project, Mizuho expects to better understand how payment settlements can be efficiently streamlined in a private, secure and permissioned blockchain network, with better tracking and control of the exchange of funds.

IBM noted that this is one of several ways the bank is exploring the use of blockchain and creating a platform across the bank using the Linux Foundation Hyperledger code. They added that Mizuho is gaining confidence in the use of IBM’s distributed ledger technology and sharing results with other Hyperledger members.

“In this test, Mizuho will study the feasibility of blockchains with virtual currency in settlement business using the advanced applications development support service IBM Garage provided by IBM Japan,” notes the Mizuho press release. “IBM Japan will support Mizuho building a common platform to reform its development style such as designing and developing business applications using blockchains, with Mizuho’s experience in system developments and IBM Japan’s knowledge in global business services across various industries.”

Images via IBM, Galvanize

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