Tuesday, December 1

Why IBM’s blockchain isn’t a real blockchain?

In the world of IT, the name of IBM is much known as a primary service provider in various domains. It has come up with multiple technologies in the past some years that have proven the game-changer in the market. Recently this IT giant is again in the news, and this time it is for its penetration in another segment.

IBM has recently introduced Hyperledger Fabric and is in the process to launch blockchain pilots with giants like Aetna and Walmart. IBM’s version of blockchain called Fabric is promoted as a permissioned blockchain, and it has features similar to Ethereum and Bitcoins. However, it is facing some criticism from market participants as it leaves a lot of loopholes that are not integral to blockchains. It is also not scalable and compatible with public blockchains, which further limits its options in the market.

Understanding real blockchain

Before going into an in-depth discussion of IBM and blockchain one must have a clear concept of blockchain. One needs to know what blockchain is and how does it work. When it comes to real blockchains, the base is built on a decentralized ledger concept which can store transactions or events. All these are enforced through a consensus mechanism like mining or proof of work concepts. In other cases, users can supply cryptographic signatures for consensus.

IBM’s version of blockchain

IBM’s version of blockchain leaves out the decentralized concept, which is the core of regular blockchain technology. The Hyperledger Fabric does not require a proper consensus mechanism, which is the norm in regular blockchains. It is difficult to prove that ledgers are not tampered as it leaves out various loopholes to be exploited in the long run.

Vulnerabilities of Fabric’s architecture

There are many vulnerabilities in the Fabric’s architecture as the signatures of the users do not appear in the arbitrary dataset. On the other hand, the validator signature assumes more priority in any transaction. The speed is also not good enough as it cannot be scaled for large operations. Practically speaking, it cannot be deployed into production in most cases due to its slow operations.

IBM’s blockchain not compatible with public blockchains

Market participants are of the opinion that both public and private blockchains will have to work together to provide the best user experience. They cannot be cut off from each other, as this means that the sole purpose of having blockchains will become meaningless. When it comes to Fabric, it will not be able to access public blockchains due to its inherent restrictions. In this way, any user who implements this blockchain will be cut off from all the public blockchains. In the same manner, users of public blockchains who want to store some data in IBM’s private blockchain will not be able to do so again due to the same restrictions.

Not suitable for the future

Considering all the compatibility hurdles, it can be clearly said that IBM’s version of blockchain is not yet ready for the future. Unless they make suitable changes to its stability and provide compatible features, users will not come forward to implementing such systems. Even businesses in different segments will not benefit from such a blockchain structure as it is vulnerable to various threats that may arise in the future.

In this way, IBM’s blockchain cannot be considered as a true blockchain. It may not see good growth in the real world and may get restricted to private entities. If the company is serious about providing enterprise blockchains, they have to work on compatibility issues and improve the system’s overall performance so that they become suitable for production.