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Amazon AWS managed blockchain now generally available

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Yesterday US tech giant Amazon announced the general availability of its blockchain service, Amazon Managed Blockchain. The firm’s cloud platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS), released details a few months ago. Now, the blockchain is open for US East customers to implement.

AWS already supported provisioning individual servers for Hyperledger Fabric, Ethereum and other technologies within its marketplace. The new service makes managing the overall network far easier.

AWS is known as a provider of business and enterprise cloud storage, analytics, and network services. Now its portfolio of over 150 services includes this fully managed blockchain, through which clients can create a secure, immutable ledger of transactions.

The Amazon Managed Blockchain aims to remove the complexities often encountered at the customer end. Setting up a permissioned blockchain usually includes provisioning hardware and software, configuring each node on the network, and managing security certificates. AWS claims it makes these stages much easier.

Currently, the Hyperledger Fabric framework is supported, with Ethereum support coming later this year. Clients can choose their preferred framework, then add members and their permissions to the network, while Amazon manages the rest.

The service can integrate with multiple existing AWS accounts, so that current customers can maintain their settings. That’s particularly convenient given blockchains usually involve several companies each with their own accounts. Additionally, keys are taken care of with the AWS Key Management Service providing secure storage.

The General Manager of the Amazon Managed Blockchain, Rahul Pathak, said that it “takes care of provisioning nodes, setting up the network, managing certificates and security, and scaling the network. Customers can now get a functioning blockchain network set up quickly and easily, so they can focus on application development instead of keeping a blockchain network up and running.”

The Amazon Managed Blockchain already boasts clients such as MOBI (Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative), AT&T, Nestlé, and Accenture.

“With Amazon Managed Blockchain, we are able to set up our Hyperledger Fabric network and easily invite our partners to collaborate in our supply chain transparency efforts,” said Armin Nehzat, Digital Technology Manager, Nestlé Oceania. “Amazon Managed Blockchain will enable our customers to track their products on the blockchain from the farm all the way through to consumption.”

Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX) is also moving to Amazon Managed blockchain. “SGX sees blockchain technology as a way to bring innovation to our distributed financial marketplace, and we have developed Delivery-versus-Payment (DvP) capabilities for the settlement of tokenized assets across different blockchain platforms,”said Andrew Koay, Head of Blockchain Technology, SGX. “We are working with AWS to move our existing investments in Hyperledger Fabric to Amazon Managed Blockchain. Amazon Managed Blockchain offers businesses the opportunity to eliminate the heavy-lifting typically required in infrastructure setup. This allows us to focus on adding business value and not worry about managing or scaling the underlying platform.”

Amazon’s announcement states that exporting blockchain data for analysis usually requires time-consuming custom extraction. Its blockchain promises to be fully replicable to the upcoming Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB). The centralized QLDB database will allow customers to track and gain insights on activity data, such as seasonal trends in transactions.

QLDB has not yet been made generally available. But it also offers an alternative to blockchain for some applications where a central authority is not a problem. It provides cryptographic verification and is immutable.