- IBM's new "Blockchain Founder Accelerator" has been created to offer expertise and transitional support across the technological, legal and businesses considering adopting blockchain technology, reported DC Velocity.
- Blockchain technology, originally known for its role in the creation of the digital currency called Bitcoin, is enjoying wider use as banking, logistics and manufacturing recognize the value of a protected digital record that cannot be modified without the consent of all peers in the connected network.
- The accelerator will focus on helping companies address the critical challenges in order to expedite the adoption process.
The value of the blockchain is best revealed when it truly works like a chain with many connected links. Affiliated partners can rely on the information entered because of the integrity of the data which cannot be altered once approved.
Because of this, initiatives touting the effectiveness of blockchain tend to target large companies, or even entire industries. IBM and Maersk Line, for example, recently joined forces to provide blockchain technology to the line's global supply chain, offering instant access to data on the path of goods transported, such as container location, customs documents status, and details on bills of lading.
However, blockchain's success requires close-to full supply chain participation, presenting a challenge to adoption.
Supply chains are notoriously slow to adopt new technology, as legacy systems still prevail. Think of enterprise resource planning (ERP) technology, and the many suppliers who still have not integrated their procurement, transportation and operations planning systems despite a decade of transformation. Or, the still-proliferating GDSN standards to help retailers and manufacturers keep track of product data.
Such is the technology discrepancy that leads Fortune's Jeff John Roberts to call out "blockchain's chasm of death," reporting that many of the companies (90%, according to an IBM source) currently building the technology will "vanish" before it goes mainstream. That's because blockchain adoption will require supply chains to fully comply with specific processes and standards, in addition to adopt the new technology — quite a tall order.
That also may be why IBM has been so actively pushing its technology in partnerships. With Maersk Line, the company is able to pilot adoption in the full pork chop supply chain, while gaining access to the world's largest shipping line who is making a play to offer wider supply chain solutions. With SAP Ariba, the company is looking to gain access to a popular legacy system, and its subsequent network of buyers and suppliers.
Now, the company is rushing to establish itself as the blockchain first mover within the industry. Note the rush to help companies do so by the end of the year with its new adoption accelerator. Expect IBM to continue unveiling partnerships and participants throughout the rest of the year.