Yesterday, online retail giant Amazon.com announced the development of two new blockchain services in a bid to offer customers a seemingly better way to store data and cut the cost of developing individual enterprise blockchain platforms.
The Amazon Quantum Ledger Database
Announced Wednesday, the Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB) is meant to provide customers with a "transparent, immutable, and cryptographically verifiable ledger." Amazon says customers will be able to use this ledger to develop applications that will provide them a way to accurately record transactions made by multiple parties within a "centralized, trusted entity" using an unchangeable transaction log. For example, Smaato, an online advertisement exchange, will use QLDB to create and maintain a record of all its auctions and create transparency from start to finish.
According to the press release, QLDB is "serverless," which eliminates the need for customers to "provision capacity or configure read and write limits." Amazon states that all customers need to do is to create a ledger and define their tables – QLDB "will automatically scale to support application demands."
Additionally, Amazon claims that by not requiring distributed consensus, QLDB is able to process more transactions faster than many blockchain platforms and will be compatible with the Amazon Managed Blockchain.
The Amazon Managed Blockchain
With the Amazon Managed Blockchain, the retail giant hopes to entice business owners looking to implement blockchain technology but who don't want to take on the challenge and cost of building their own blockchain platform.
According to the press release, all customers have to do is pick their preferred infrastructure –the Amazon Managed Blockchain supports both the Ethereum platform and Hyperledger Fabric – add network participants, and configure the member nodes responsible for processing transactions. After that, it says:
"Amazon Managed Blockchain takes care of the rest, creating a blockchain network that can span multiple [Amazon Web Services] AWS accounts with multiple nodes per member, and configuring software, security, and network settings. For a permissioned network, Amazon Managed Blockchain secures and manages blockchain network certificates with AWS Key Management Service, eliminating the need for customers to set up their own secure key storage."
Additionally, Amazon claims the new blockchain platform allows customers to easily replicate transactions from the blockchain and put them on the QLDB.
What Is Amazon Going to Do with All This Data?
One of the main ideas behind blockchain technology is giving individuals true ownership and mastery of their data. This is not only true for private citizens, but for companies as well. This data is not supposed to be owned or managed by a "centralized, trusted authority," i.e., Amazon. A managed blockchain, then, may strike some as a contradiction in terms.
The online retailer uses the data provided freely by customers to market different products and services to individuals, and according to the Amazon Privacy Notice, it does share customer data with affiliated businesses not directly controlled by Amazon, third-party service providers, and businesses offering certain promotional offers.
ETHNews reached out to Amazon with questions about how Amazon will treat the data stored on the new platforms and whether said data might be used for marketing or financial gain. However, Amazon has yet to respond to our questions.