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IBM's New Business Unit to Integrate AI, Cloud and Blockchain Technologies

With all of the focus on blockchain technology, cloud computing and advanced artificial intelligence, it was only a matter of time before a company combined these innovations into a centralized framework. Unsurprisingly, IBM is the first to centralize these solutions into one convenient platform.

Enter the IBM Industry Platforms Business Unit

In order to accommodate the highly specialized niches of blockchain, cloud computing and AI, IBM has recently established the Industry Platforms business unit. Focused primarily on the financial services sector, Industry Platforms is expected to have an enormous impact on the development of future partnerships, collaborations and IT integration.

Ginni Rometty, current CEO of IBM, spoke about the importance of blockchain technology as well as artificial intelligence by saying: "The Industry Platforms business will bring clients radically optimized processes and marketplaces that leverage Watson, IBM Cloud, IBM Systems, blockchain, deep domain expertise and ecosystems of partners and developers."

What is Blockchain?

Most consumers are familiar with the fundamentals of cloud computing and artificial intelligence by now. In fact, some computer users may be interacting with cloud-based architecture or any number of AI-powered systems without even realizing it. The blockchain, on the other hand, is still a foreign concept to many.

As unfamiliar as it may be, the idea behind the blockchain is not that complicated. Built upon a distributed database architecture, the blockchain utilizes highly secure files or records, also known as blocks, to store, update and maintain digital data. Originally developed as a secure database system for the handling, processing and transferring of Bitcoin, the blockchain has since been adopted for an application that is a little more mainstream.

"Over the past two decades, the Internet has revolutionized many aspects of business and society–making individuals and organizations more productive. Yet the basic mechanics of how people and organizations execute transactions with one another have not been updated for the 21st century. Blockchain could bring to those processes the openness and efficiency we have come to expect in the Internet Era." Arvind Krishna, senior vice president with IBM research, said.

When applied to IBM's new Industry Platforms business unit, blockchain technology is used to enhance the transparency and accountability of modern transactional systems and programs. According to an example given on IBM's website, blockchain can be used to reconcile vendor payments and settle traded securities in a matter of minutes as opposed to days.

Believe it or not, this isn't even the first time IBM has had its hand in blockchain technology. They are a major investor in the blockchain-based startup of Digital Asset Holdings as well as a dedicated member of the Hyperledger Project. Most recently, IBM joined the ranks of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, an organization that promotes and supports the use of blockchain-backed digital currencies like Bitcoin.

Showing Faith in Blockchain Technology

Given the recent support shown by companies like IBM, as well as growing interest in digital currency, it's safe to say that blockchain technology is here to stay. Not only does it provide an incredibly secure way of handling highly sensitive data, but it can do so in a way that offers transparency on behalf of all involved parties.

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