Exclusive: Oracle’s Plans for Blockchain
Oracle sees big opportunity in blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that underlies Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The business software giant is set to unveil its own blockchain service on Monday.
Proponents say blockchain enables secure transactions using a set of distributed ledgers so that no single third-party controls the action. That setup requires distributed computing resources, which public cloud data centers around the world can enable. Oracle (ORCL) is pushing its own cloud as a competitor to Amazon (AMZN) Web Services and Microsoft (MSFT) Azure in this market.
The use of blockchain can “fundamentally transform how business is done, making business-to-business interactions more secure, transparent, and efficient,” Amit Zavery, Oracle cloud’s senior vice president, said in a statement. The Oracle blockchain technology, he continued, will enable customers to share data securely both inside of and beyond Oracle’s own cloud ecosystem.
Oracle’s service, for example, could be used by a manufacturer to verify that the parts ordered have arrived, and were from the approved supplier. And then, further down the chain, the service would validate that the sale of a given product happened and that the transaction has closed, Zavery tells Fortune. Initial interest came from financial services customers, but then manufacturers and government sector customers started asking about blockchain, he added.
Many mainstream tech companies are chasing this business. IBM (IBM) has been touting blockchain services that run on its cloud for more than a year. And Microsoft (MSFT), as is its usual practice, is releasing software tools and frameworks to make development of blockchain applications easier on its Microsoft Azure public cloud.
Starting at its annual Oracle OpenWorld tech conference on Monday, Oracle (ORCL) will tout Oracle blockchain cloud services as a way for large Oracle customers to link their existing inventory and supply chain software—whether it runs on their own servers or in Oracle’s cloud data centers—to a secure, distributed transaction system.
Many Fortune 500 banks, manufacturing companies, and healthcare providers have used Oracle’s flagship database and financial applications to run their businesses for decades. While Amazon, Microsoft, and other companies that got into the cloud computing market before Oracle have been trying to pick off those customers. But as most tech professionals know, once a database is installed, it’s hard to leave it.
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Oracle telegraphed this move in August, when it signed onto the open-source Hyperledger consortium, which also includes Accenture (ACN), IBM, SAP (SAP), Microsoft, and other industry heavyweights. This group aims to promote the use of blockchain in mainstream business applications.
Oracle’s blockchain cloud service will be generally available for customers to use by the end of the year.
This article is part of Fortune’s new initiative, The Ledger, a trusted news source at the intersection of tech and finance. Click here for more on The Ledger.
Robert Hackett contributed to this story.
Note: (October 2, 2017 11:02 a.m. EDT) This story was updated with additional quotes from Oracle senior vice president Amit Zavery.