Deborah Harmes, Ph.D.

Blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) has become increasingly viable. Aimed at users who aren’t as tech-minded, the service offers solutions to complex records management issues while improving on the level of security offered by previous technologies. Since 2017, BaaS has become an increasingly popular search term, and this ‘disruption’ technology has much potential in several areas:

  • the arts and music
  • academia – student records and infrastructure or budgetary records
  • mainstream banks to strengthen their position against rising non-bank financial institutions
  • government management and records
  • medical records keeping for patients and hospitals
  • security applications including cyber-security
  • supply chain implementation

The IBM version, first offered in March 2017, is cloud-based for more flexibility and is part of the Hyperledger Fabric project – a partnership that includes Fujitsu, Airbus, Intel, NEC, and many other industry heavyweights. By maintaining additional security encryption within the IBM cloud, IBM believes that they can offer further safeguards for client protection.

Also using the Hyperledger Fabric platform, Oracle announced their own version of cloud-based blockchain technology at the Oracle Open World conference at the end of 2017. This new entry was meant to challenge the industry leader, Amazon Web Services (AWS). Larry Elison, Oracle’s chairman, has compared the features of Oracle’s new product – 18c — to the autopilot mode of a private jet since he notes that it is self-correcting, self-tuning,  completely automatic, and has the ability to be self-repairing.

As if the ‘brand the world’ strategy wasn’t enough, Amazon has also recently entered the blockchain arena with their new Blockchain Templates, similar to the IBM and Oracle products. Amazon’s new Blockchain Templates could assit in the productivity of both new and existing Amazon corporate customers. The Blockchain Templates can be operated on either an Ethereum platform or a Hyperledger Fabric platform and can be refined for the specific needs of a business. A brief tutorial on how to set up the template system is offered on the Amazon website.

While it remains unclear how much of an effect BaaS will actually have, the many companies investing in this technology is very promising, and it will be very exciting to see where this will lead. BaaS provides a better and clearer picture for how blockchain can be relevant to people’s daily lives, not just for early adopters, but for the majority that will truly make blockchain technology grow.