Analyst doubts IBM's long-term success in blockchain, despite current 500 projects

07 Sep, 2018
by Fifi Arisandi
Analyst doubts IBM's long-term success in blockchain, despite current 500 projects

IBM currently has 1,500 employees working on 500 blockchain projects for various industries, as reported by CNN.

The giant tech company, IBM is taking blockchain really seriously. The company is reported to have 500 blockchain projects on their portfolio with 1,500 employees working on them.

An analyst at Edward Jones, Josh Olson said it’s a bold move, considering the novelty of the industry. However, he also thinks it’s the typical of the company, although becoming “an early leader in the space” doesn’t necessarily mean long-term success.

"Historically we've seen IBM invest in a technology early with some early promise, but then they've had difficulty commercializing good technologies or innovations at scale," he added.

The analyst refers to the development of the Watson’s supercomputer as another example. He said, “The technology underpinning Watson proved costly and difficult to adopt commercially, which allowed competitors to catch, and then pass, IBM.”

Olson also mentioned 2 challenges that must be tackled by IBM to succeed in their new business segment. The company must find customers who understand and can be benefited by the technology, then create a standardized system that can scale across industries.

Responding to the pessimistic opinions on the company’s bold move towards the blockchain technology, Bridget van Kralingen, IBM’s SVP said, “Watson's [ambitions are] very complex and difficult. I would argue blockchain is much easier because it's a process flow.”

Furthermore, she added, “We learned a big lesson in implementing new technology: Ease of use has become a very important part of adoption.”

IBM Blockchain’s GM, Marie Wieck also explained how blockhain had a real applicability, and after doing some experiments and customer pilots, the company “saw enough interest to move forward”.

Despite the comments, the giant tech company has been reported to have secured several major clients, such as Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Citibank, Maersk, the Australian government, and the state of Delaware, while also launching several blockchain-based technology, such as the Stellar-backed Blockchain World Wire and the crypto anchor verifier.

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