IBM Makes Major Announcements At InterConnect 2017

March 20, 2017, the second day of IBM’s InterConnect conference (March 19-23), has brought forth new blockchain developments for various commercial and industrial uses, including identity management, green asset management, and cloud storage.

Identity Management

SecureKey Technologies announced a collaboration to develop a new digital identity and attribute-sharing network based on IBM Blockchain. The proposed network will simplify the process for consumers to verify their identity in different use cases, such as opening new bank accounts, securing driver’s licenses, or registering for utility services.

SecureKey and IBM plan to build their network on top of the Hyperledger Fabric, a permissioned blockchain that will better enable the companies to protect personal data and user confidentiality.

The network will allow members to designate what specific identifiable information to share with organizations seeking to validate their identity for new services. For example, consumers who have already proven their identity with their banks and credit agencies, can authorize permission to share their data with a utility company. Since the consumer’s bank has already complied with KYC (know your customer) obligations, the utility provider can therefore rely on the verification, thus approving the consumer for new services.   

Currently, the network is undergoing a testing phase in Canada, and once fully operational Canadian consumers may join the new blockchain-based service using a mobile app or Dapp (decentralized application).

In October 2016, Canada’s leading banks, including BMO, CIBC, Desjardins, RBC, Scotiabank, and TD, collectively invested $27 mln in SecureKey. Other organizations, such as the Digital ID and Authentication Council of Canada, and the Command, Control, and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analysis, a research center funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, have also provided SecureKey with funding.

Managing Carbon

Another announcement made today at IBM’s InterConnect introduced the world’s first blockchain-based green asset management platform to help decrease carbon emissions in China. Developed in collaboration with Energy-Blockchain Labs, the initiative will support carbon asset development, also known as CER (Carbon Emission Reduction), as a way to encourage enterprises to decrease emissions by incentivizing low carbon emission technology.

To help meet China’s commitment to the Paris Agreement, as well as the China-Europe 2020: Climate Change Challenge, IBM and Energy-Blockchain Labs are looking to blockchain and smart contracts to reduce carbon emissions through transparency and auditability. Utilizing what’s known as carbon trading, Chinese companies will operate under a system that distributes a certain amount of carbon emissions credits to each company, allowing them to trade those credits with other companies, while not exceeding the cap of emissions enforced by environmental policies.

The project will use the Hyperledger Fabric on the IBM Cloud, making it more difficult for Chinese companies to defraud regulators, as some have done in the past. The audibility properties of blockchain technology will eliminate corruption for the carbon cap-and-trade program in China, benefiting not only the country, but the rest of the Earth as well.

According to Cao Yin, Chief Strategy Officer of Energy-Blockchain Labs:

“It is estimated that the platform will significantly shorten the carbon assets development cycle and reduce the cost of carbon assets development by 20 to 30 percent, enabling cost-effective development of a large number of carbon assets. Blockchain technology is expected to become an important means for effective control of carbon emissions, which is of great significance to China, the world’s largest source of carbon emissions.”  

A beta version of the carbon asset management platform will be released in May 2017.