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IBM’s Blockchain Trial Eyes Global Rollout

IBM’s Dubai-backed blockchain trial could be set for a global rollout according to the company, as it continues to build a viable trade financing model for use across a number of industries.

Working in partnership with two separate government agencies — Dubai Trade and Dubai Customs — IBM made the announcement following significant progress in its initial trials.

The blockchain technology brings together companies from across a range of sectors, providing a decentralized proof-of-concept mechanism for charting the entire supply chain, including trade financing.

As the technology continues to develop, IBM is preparing to link the platform to AI, in order to create one of the most advanced uses of the blockchain ever tested.

And now, according to James Wallis, IBM’s vice-president responsible for blockchain development, the trial is approaching the stage of international rollout, with greater cooperation between government agencies internationally required to leverage its full potential.

Wallis said that while the near-term outlook remains a developing situation, IBM is planning further cooperation with government departments across borders, with a view to bringing the technology to market.

"We don't know exactly where it's going to end up, but the collaboration across different government entities around the world is going to have to happen ...This is a proof-of-concept, but I would say this is one of the most significant ones, if not the most significant one we’ve been involved in, because of the number of players and the whole flow, both import and export.”

The promising announcement comes at a time when corporations, governments and startups worldwide are racing to develop proof-of-concept models for blockchains and distributed ledger technologies.

With expected uses across a number of diverse industries, 2017 is expected to be the year when these concepts are taken a step further, with more advanced testing expected across the board in the months ahead.

The IBM blockchain will allow for better identification, recording and tracking throughout the entire supply flow, and their trial pulls in suppliers, buyers and banks to demonstrate the capabilities of their blockchain.

As one of IBM’s most adventurous blockchain projects to date, analysts have seen this as another promising development for the technology as it continues to emerge.