Big Blue announced a new initiative yesterday to support the development of blockchain networks among enterprises. The project, called the IBM Blockchain Founder Accelerator, will provide technological, business, and legal support for organizations looking to build new blockchain networks.

The initiative builds on IBM's blockchain ecosystem launched in December. The company has been promoting blockchain technology as a way enterprises can use network technology to change the way they conduct business transactions. IBM Blockchain Founder Accelerator aims to address common challenges to blockchain adoption that have been identified by enterprise developers.

Early Access to New Assets

"Blockchain is a team sport. With the right network of participants collaborating on the blockchain, the benefits can be exponential," said Marie Wieck, IBM's general manager for blockchain technology. "IBM is proactively building solutions and entire blockchain ecosystems across a broad range of industries and we are sharing our expertise and resources to help more organizations quickly set up their networks."

Members of the Founder Accelerator will receive early access to new prebuilt software assets via IBM Cloud aimed at helping to reduce the time and expertise needed to write complex blockchain code. In addition to IBM's blockchain cloud services, the new assets will help clients create their own secure, cloud-based blockchain ecosystems, the company said.

Enterprises that participate in the program will gain access to a number of blockchain resources, including IBM's Design Thinking Workshops. These are bootcamps to help network founders quickly build, iterate, and design their own blockchain networks by teaching them established best practices in network design.

The program also provides participants with one-on-one mentorship opportunities with technical and business mentors from the IBM Research team, IBM Labs, and IBM Bluemix Garage. Participants will be able to work alongside contributors to the Hyperledger Fabric (a blockchain framework), and early adopters of IBM Blockchain, who will provide code review, business coaching, and other guidance.

Reducing Development Times

IBM will also provide members of the accelerator program with several technological resources through IBM Bluemix, the company’s cloud platform. Bluemix hosts the blockchain service that supports the Hyperledger Fabric. Participants in the program will also receive up to $120,000 worth of IBM Cloud credits to purchase tools on the ecosystem, as well as access to IBM Bluemix Garage sessions for development.

The company said its goal for the program is to reduce the development time for enterprise blockchain networks from several months to a few days. Program members will receive early access to new code IBM creates for a variety of sectors, including global trade digitization, supply chain finance, transaction settlement, procurement trade finance, supply chain visibility, and food safety.

The initial assets available to participants include document store, which allows network members to securely store and control documents; provenance engine, which maintains a history of industry assets; process engine, which provides workflow orchestration for blockchain networks; and member management and onboarding, which allows organizations to manage the identities of network members.