As if Amazon Web Services (AWS) wasn’t making enough money hand over fist to bankroll a retail business that’s forcing industry-wide change, the cloud services firm is now offering Blockchain-as-a-Service to users interested in deploying the distributed ledger technology.
In announcing the news, AWS Chief Evangelist Jeff Barr acknowledged in a blog post the hype around and hope for blockchain, likening the tech to a vintage Saturday Night Live skit in which Shimmer Floor Wax is thought by one to be a dessert topping and another to be a floor polish—but is confirmed as both. Which is to say: though some believe blockchain could be truly revolutionary and others think it’s just a solid advancement for industries in need of transparency.
“It is clear that there are a lot of intriguing possibilities and we are working to help our customers use this technology more effectively,” Barr wrote in the post.
With the blockchain service, AWS joins competitors such as IBM and Oracle in offering an enterprise-ready solution. AWS Blockchain Templates enable users to launch a network via Ethereum (which can be public or private) or Hyperledger Fabric (private) “in a matter of minutes” and a few clicks, according to the blog post.
Interest in blockchain has been gathering steam in shipping, supply chain and logistics and is seen as potentially transforming an industry in desperate need of digital processes. However, while many startups and shipping companies are building their own piecemeal solutions, the greatest value will be unlocked when the entire industry is operating and sharing data on a single, standardized blockchain platform, according to a Bloomberg article.
If and when that day comes, “documentation that takes days will eventually be done in minutes, much of it without the need for human input. The cost of moving goods across continents could drop dramatically, adding fresh impetus to relocate manufacturing or source materials and goods from overseas,” the article said.
For now, that day is still a ways off, but the AWS news makes blockchain technology even more widely available both to established companies and innovators developing fresh ideas.
The blockchain market is expected to exceed $7.6 billion by 2022, according to data from MarketsandMarkets.