IBM has recently developed the IBM Blockchain Platform Starter to help developers at new Blockchain startups, and companies seeking a beginning in Blockchain. This platform also aims to help them build proofs-of-concept for Blockchain quickly and reasonably. An end-to-end Blockchain development experience, it is a secure test environment with a suite of education tools and modules and one-click network provisioning.
The starter kit, built on the open source Hyperledger Fabric, already has more than 2,000 developers and tens of thousands of transaction blocks, in just a three-month test environment according to Jerry Cuomo, vice president of Blockchain technology at IBM.
Startups, large corporations or government agencies that want to understand and use blockchain technology, can use this starter to do that, Cuomo said. It is designed to simplify the technology so that developers don’t have to worry about how to operate a test network and can instead focus on their ideas.
“Starter is to provide the developers a test environment with single click deployment to enable an aspiring Blockchain developer to get started,” he said.
“When we put it out there as a beta in March of this year, we saw very quick and significant adoption. We had over 2000 smart contract contributors, developers building contracts on the platform and deploying smart contracts of every variety imaginable,” he added.
Companies “born on the Blockchain” – including RoadLaunch for logistics, Mediaocean, which automates and tracks digital ad buys, and Global Debt Registry, which helps institutional investors and warehouse lenders manage risk, improve efficiency and pricing in the credit markets by providing solutions that ensure the integrity of a loan asset – have already been roped in by the starter.
“The Starter Plan is a great place to start because it offers low cost and high value, with the tools we provide on top of open source,” Cuomo said. Currently, it runs on the IBM cloud although he suggested it may be available on other clouds in the future.
“With the IBM blockchain platform, you sign up by filling out a very short form, click a few buttons, and you have a default network running. It happens in seconds.”
“Patience is not the best virtue of developers,” Cuomo observed. “They want it now. With Starter you don’t have to read the online documents on what a peer is, how an ordering service works or how to issue a certificate.”
Instead of using the bottom-up approach, developers using Starter can start with a set of pre-arranged samples and then decompose it from there.
“It’s a different way of learning that appeals to the ‘I want it now’ generation. We enhance it with a set of samples and a Visual Studio code environment. Developers can use the Visual Studio to create smart contracts or modify existing samples with one button deployment into the Starter environment. They can also simulate multiple members in their network, simulate additional members, or invite other developers to come in and join their network.”
“What Starter is doing is bringing some users that I haven’t seen hanging around with IBM in a long time, born on the chain companies like RoadLaunch, True-Tickets or loyyal. It has been a while since we had this sort of startup firms come to us with such energy and wonderful ideas. They want to start with a basic, minimally viable product and a minimally viable ecosystem. They see us as a well priced, approachable channel to grow their Blockchain.”
New users signing up for the IBM Blockchain Platform Starter Plan receive a $500 credit covering the first month’s fees of two peers and one member when they sign up.
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