Blockchain has been at the top of the hype cycle for some time, and nearly every day, a new article promises how this technology will overcome all sorts of business, human, and global challenges. But what does it take to make that a reality?

So you’ve heard about blockchain. You’ve imagined some fantastic use cases. You’ve been to the meetups. Now you’re keen to start building applications — but building is hard without the right tools. Let me introduce you to the IBM Blockchain Platform.

Developers, start your engines

Together with our partners, clients, and community, we saw that blockchain wasn’t just about currency or payments. We saw that it could truly transform every industry — disrupt business process, reduce friction, and remake business models by delivering trust in a way that hadn’t been possible before. To radically transform enterprises, though, we had to take decentralized business networks and deliver the performance, security, and scale required by the global economy. We were looking for a blockchain platform that could power the world.

IBM took the work that was happening in the open source community through the Hyperledger project and added nearly three times the code to create the IBM Blockchain Platform — the only enterprise blockchain platform that makes it really easy to develop, govern, and operate blockchain networks.

Here’s your first stop: a free introduction to IBM Blockchain Platform. From that page, you can quickly learn the core concepts of blockchain, start building out applications, and leverage either local or cloud tools that make it easy to create and share your blockchain applications. You can also integrate everything from IoT, Facebook, Twitter, and web portals to enterprise systems like SAP in order to get data onto and off of the blockchain. This developer sandbox is the fast and free way to take your ideas from experiment to reality.

There are a couple of sample apps and data models that you can build from, and we have several videos to help you get started.

Bringing your friends along for the ride

Beyond solving the problem, you’ll want to figure out how to bring the different members of your network together to actually run your app on the blockchain. The IBM Blockchain Platform has completely simplified the process of adding new members. Previously, you’d have to get the IP address of the peer, call or email the partner organization, get the IP address of their peer, and then try to connect the peers. Imagine doing that beyond just a handful of organizations!

Now, with the network setup wizard, you simply input the names of institutions and the email address of a recipient for that organization. Then you can quickly log in to get a peer, join the network, and administer the system. Sound simple? Well, it is. It’s fully trackable and traceable. This demo shows how easy it is to set up a blockchain network:

Laying down the rules of the road

Finally, the blockchain network needs to have a set of rules and policies that govern not only who can participate, but also what the rules of engagement are. The IBM Blockchain Platform actually has a set of tools for creating and managing governance policies. Think of this a bit like a constitution. It sets out not just the rules of the game, but also the procedures for how you change the rules.

Business is evolving, and it’s critical to have a clear and agreed-upon process for managing these developments. This is still in the earliest of phases, but we can already see how our initial partners and clients are going to use these tools to manage their networks. Watch this video to learn more about the use cases and success stories we have already seen.

Let’s get going!

Are you ready to be part of the community of developers that is radically reshaping industry and government, not to mention global trade? Become a blockchain developer and get started today using IBM Blockchain Platform for free in the developer sandbox.

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