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IBM Blockchain CTO departs with two key Fabric developers


Gari Singh, CTO of IBM Blockchain, has left the company after 15 years to join Google Cloud. Separately, in the last month the two top Github code contributors to Hyperledger Fabric have departed after 17 year and 22 year careers at IBM. One of them was IBM’s Senior Technical Lead on Fabric, the other a key maintainer.

The departures were staff leaving of their own accord and not part of the January layoffs in which IBM Blockchain, which deals with core blockchain technology, was merged with IBM’s supply chain solution Sterling. At the time, the job cuts focused on business personnel and the Fabric development team was kept intact. Until now.

For the record, a separate division, IBM Global Services, provides consulting to businesses and has continued to expand.

One might assume that the departures resulted from morale issues, but Singh set the record straight. He said the layoffs delayed his departure to help with the reorganization and attributed the moves to the maturing sector and developers that are attracted to a greater level of innovation. And working three to five years on the same project is a long stint.

Elsewhere in the enterprise blockchain sector, R3’s lead engineer Mike Hearn left the firm in March. He had already long since moved on from Corda blockchain development and led the Conclave secure computing project. Talented developers need the stimulation of innovation.

In terms of moving forward, Singh observed that Fabric has reached the point where there are tradeoffs between stability and innovation. Enterprises demand stability, which may mean the project has erred in that direction.

Our previous research found that Hypledger Fabric remains enormously dependent on IBM to maintain and develop the open source project. There is still a decent core of developers at IBM working on Fabric, but clearly, the departure of three key personnel will have an impact.

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