Amazon has announced a new blockchain product — Amazon Managed Blockchain — as a fully managed service built on the Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum open-source frameworks.
A limited preview is currently available for Amazon Web Services (AWS) account holders who can apply to participate in the early-stage program. Speculation over Amazon’s entrance into the blockchain space has been around since last year. Now, their Amazon Managed Blockchain product using AWS is officially available.
Amazon Managed Blockchain
The Amazon Managed Blockchain will feature two blockchain frameworks, Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum. However, only Hyperledger Fabric is currently available. AWS users can set up a fully managed blockchain network through their account with just a few clicks and can invite other AWS accounts to join their network.
The product is designed to remove the complexities in managing a blockchain network by eliminating overhead such as creating and managing certificates for access control and configuring network components. Amazon states that:
“Amazon Managed Blockchain eliminates the overhead required to create the network, and automatically scales to meet the demands of thousands of applications running millions of transactions.”
The service also tracks operational metrics such as storage, memory, and compute resources. Notably, a copy of the blockchain’s ledger can be downloaded and stored on Amazon’s Quantum Ledger Database (AQLD) to provide a medium for analyzing network activity outside of the blockchain, which is challenging to extract data from and create custom metrics. Other features include a voting API for voting members in and out of the network as well as automatically secured network certificates with AWS Key Management Service.
Amazon cites the potential use cases as trading and asset transfer, supply chain, and retail. Instant payment processing and settlement for financial trading consortiums and retail customer rewards programs are natural applications of scalable blockchains. Moreover, the benefits of blockchain for supply chains are well-documented, and the concept is actively being pursued by several major companies, including IBM.
Amazon also lists some prominent customers of the new product, including Verizon, Philips, Liberty Mutual, and GE Aviation.
Enterprise Blockchains Growing
The prevalence of enterprise blockchains is growing. Amazon’s entrance into the blockchain space was inevitable, and their product reflects their capacity as a leading cloud service provider and corporation to offer a powerful enterprise blockchain product. Enterprises seeking permissioned and scalable blockchains will likely gravitate towards Amazon Managed Blockchain, especially considering the relative ease in configuration and familiarity with AWS.
Conversely, core cryptocurrency community proponents will view this development as another in a long line of permissioned blockchains tailored towards enterprise business applications. These types of products will continue to unfold as enterprises seek alternatives from current scaling woes with many cryptocurrency platforms, however.
Until permissionless and public blockchains — particularly smart contracts platforms — can scale and provide practical privacy flexibility, emerging products like Amazon Managed Blockchain will likely remain the preference of businesses seeking blockchain infrastructure solutions.