On May 18, 2017, IBM announced the launch of the IBM Blockchain Founder Accelerator (IBMBFA), a fee-based program designed to help blockchain developers go into production faster by offering technological, legal, and business consulting expertise.
According to the announcement, the program will address the challenges identified by early adopters of blockchain technology, and will provide one-on-one mentoring to support a range of needs including business case development, network membership incentives, technical development, governance, and legal issues. Members will also have early access to pre-built software assets delivered via IBM Cloud.
Marie Wieck, general manager of IBM blockchain technology, explained that the company has a strong focus on developing blockchain tech:
"Blockchain is a team sport. With the right network of participants collaborating on the blockchain, the benefits can be exponential. IBM has worked on more blockchain projects than any other player in the industry and we understand the challenges organizations face and the resources needed to get blockchain networks right the first time."
IBMBFA offers two membership tiers.
Tier 1 costs $100,000 and provides:
- Design Thinking Workshop;
- Early Access to the IBM Blockchain High-Security Business Network on Bluemix;
- Access to IBM’s pre-built blockchain software assets;
- Coaching and support from IBM developers and architects;
- Monthly learning sessions with blockchain experts;
- Potential to qualify for up to $120k in Bluemix credits; and
- Opportunities for co-marketing with IBM.
Tier 2, which costs $250,000, provides all the benefits of the first tier, and an addition 6-week MVP buildout with the Bluemix Garage, a cloud-based infrastructure platform. IBM said scholarships will be available for participants that need financial aid.
Additionally, participants can use any of the pre-built blockchain software assets created by IBM and supported through the IBM Cloud. IBM explains that these software assets have been incorporated in major projects such as "global trade digitization, supply chain finance, transaction settlement, procurement trade finance, supply chain visibility, and food safety."
The initial software suite of assets include:
"Document Store - allows network members to store and control documents and related events in a security-rich environment. This provides a source of validation to support mission-critical business processes where the lack of proper documentation can delay outcomes and potentially void the transaction.
Provenance Engine - maintains a comprehensive history of industry assets, both physical and digital, throughout their lifecycle, from creation to decommission as immutable transactions. It provides the capability to track an asset's owner, location and status, and any supporting documents relevant to the asset at each stage of the business process.
Process Engine – provides all workflow orchestration on the blockchain network. It provides tamper-resistant document maintenance and authorization features, and answers communication requests among network members to support each transaction's integrity.
Member Management and Onboarding - enables identity management of members in the blockchain network, including the registration and authorization of member organizations and their individual users."
Limited acceptance, which is on a first-come-first-served basis, ends on June 2, 2017. Interest parties may submit their applications via the IBMBFA website.