To help developers at new blockchain startups, and at companies seeking to start using blockchain, IBM has developed the IBM Blockchain Platform Starter Plan to help them build blockchain proof-of-concepts quickly and affordably. It offers an end-to-end blockchain development experience: a secure test environment, a suite of education tools and modules and one-click network provisioning. It is built on the open source Hyperledger Fabric.
More than 2,000 developers and tens of thousands of transaction blocks used the Starter Plan in a three-month test environment, said Jerry Cuomo, vice president of blockchain technology at IBM.
The Starter Plan is for enterprises — whether startups, large corporations or government agencies — that want to understand and use blockchain technology, Cuomo said. It is designed to make the technology disappear so developers can focus on their ideas rather than how to operate a test network.
“Starter is to provide the developers and test environment with single click deployment to enable an aspiring blockchain developer to get started,” he said.
“When we put it out there as a beta in March of this year we saw very quick and significant adoption. We had over 2000 smart contract contributors, developers building contracts on the platform and deploying smart contracts of every variety imaginable,” he added.
The Starter Plan attracted some companies he describes as “born on the blockchain” including RoadLaunch for logistics, Mediaocean, which automates and tracks digital ad buys, and Global Debt Registry, which helps institutional investors and warehouse lenders manage risk, improve efficiency and pricing in the credit markets by providing solutions that ensure the integrity of a loan asset.
For now, the plan runs on the IBM cloud although he suggested it may be available on other clouds in the future.
It helps developers make the most of the Hyperledger Fabric whose strength — being modular and highly configurable — is also a point of frustration for some developers.
Rather than working from the bottom up, developers using Starter can start with a set of pre-arranged samples and then decompose it from there.
New users signing up for the IBM Blockchain Platform Starter Plan receive a $500 credit covering the first month’s fees of two peers and one member when they sign up.