I’m really proud to be able to say that we’re going to work with Samsung to have a prototype physical network based on this technology — ready (we hope) in time for CES in January.”
IBM, one of the top five technology companies in the world, and Samsung, literally the largest technology company in the world, are working on a block chain product in time for CES this January.
"Yesterday’s most consequential tech announcement had nothing to do with watches. Instead, it was IBM saying that it will use bitcoin’s block-chain technology to build a distribution platform for the Internet-of-Things. As I’ve previously written, the real promise of bitcoin is the underlying technology itself, rather than its various applications for stored value or payments. And this appears to be the first time that a large tech company is putting serious resources behind trying to achieve that promise."
"Tagging something to an existing block chain is relatively easy to do from a technical standpoint," says Anders Brownworth, a bitcoin technologist and founder of the Cambridge Bitcoin group. So even if IBM chose to create its own block chain for the Adept proof of concept, it could always opt to "attach" that chain to bitcoin’s at intermittent points in the future. According to Brownworth, "Inserting a SHA of the Adept block chain into the bitcoin block chain would be a stronger guarantee that you have the correct Adept chain, and that what you see in the Adept block chain is very likely accurate."
The question then is whether Adept could be built a) on top of the Bitcoin protocol, much like Mastercoin or Counterparty; b) as a separate framework, much like NXT or Ethereum; or c) as a “side chain” which could have a two-way relationship with the block chain.
Chain co-founder Adam Ludwin explains, “Side chains remain a conceptual, unproven technology today, as there aren’t yet in any production that you can point to. This requires some changes to the core bitcoin protocol.” That leads Ludwin to believe that IBM could ultimately choose to go their own way, innovating “at the protocol level to release a new distributed consensus algorithm” rather than relying on a true block chain per se.
However, both Ludwin and Brownworth agreed that if IBM were to build a true block chain infrastructure, the company’s best bet would be to leverage Bitcoin. Brownworth speculates that Bitcoin’s block chain has a higher chance of survival in the long-term than IBM’s own fully maintained block chain given the infrastructure investments that both networks would require. Big Blue could, at any point now or in the future, rely on the longest publicly running block chain in history - bitcoin’s.
As Brownworth asks, “Why reinvent the wheel?”