The numerous advantages that blockchain tech offers companies are really exciting and enticing so much so that a lot of companies want to jump on the growing “decentralized” bandwagon. However, this is easier said than done; obstacles like lack of professional blockchain experts, inadequate knowledge of blockchain, and the risks of implementing new technology have discouraged many from venturing down this road.
In the attempt to change the narrative, big tech companies are leading the pack by providing blockchain services for the growing number of enterprises expressing interest in testing or integrating distributed ledger technologies into their operation. By patronizing companies offering “blockchain as a service” (BaaS), parties interested in blockchain can now test or utilize the technology without incurring too many risks or expenses.
E-commerce giant, Amazon is one of the big wigs offering BaaS. They are doing this through their subsidiary, Amazon Web Service (AWS) which serves as the cloud-computing division of the conglomerate. AWS recently announced the release of a new service called the AWS Blockchain Template.
In a blog post announcing the launch of the Template, AWS Chief Evangelist, Jeff Barr had this to say:
“We are launching AWS Blockchain Templates today. These templates will let you launch an Ethereum (either public or private) or Hyperledger Fabric (private) network in a matter of minutes and with just a few clicks. The templates create and configure all of the AWS resources needed to get you going in a robust and scalable fashion.”
This service will allow companies to be able to set up projects built on Ethereum or IBM Hyperledger Fabrics that are compatible with the blockchain network. With the aim of democratizing the blockchain for its clients, Amazon’s AWS Blockchain Template will provide its users with tools that will give them more control, allowing for better supervision and efficient management of their hosted blockchains.
In a different post, Jeff Barr further explained that AWS turned to blockchain technology because of its reputation for being able to create a permanent and secure record of transaction without requiring a third-party.
“Some of the people that I talk to see blockchains as the foundation of a new monetary system and a way to facilitate international payments,” he wrote. “Others see blockchains as a distributed ledger and immutable data source that can be applied to logistics, supply chain, land registration, crowdfunding and other use cases. Either way, it’s clear that there are a lot of intriguing possibilities and we are working to help our customers use this technology more effectively.”
Working with the AWS Ethereum template provides clients with two launch options for blockchain deployment; Amazon’s Elastic Container Service can be used for deployment, or one can do this directly via an EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) instance running the Docker software. Also, users of the template can launch private or public blockchains on the Ethereum network, however, only private blockchains are available for the Hyperledger Fabric Network.
Amazon blockchain interest is not new, but they haven’t aggressively pursued any project until now. The company won a patent last month which allows it to track cryptocurrency transactions in real time by setting up a streaming data marketplace.
However, Amazon blockchain venture into the BaaS arena now puts the company in direct competition against tech giants like Microsoft and Oracle who also offer similar services. Other big Chinese companies like Baidu and Tencent Holdings Ltd want a piece of the pie as both of them are also working on blockchain templates. In an attempt to emulate its peers, Huawei announced its own blockchain service built on the Hyperledger.
The rising amount of companies competing for superiority in the BaaS niche only goes to show the remarkable potential that this area of blockchain development has. Experts predict that BaaS blockchains will eventually become the norm, cutting across several industries and having a broad range of applications particularly in Internet of things (IoT), financial services, supply management and healthcare.