IBM Prepared To Work With Facebook To Develop Blockchain Ecosystem

IBM Facebook blockchain ecosystem stablecoin Libra Stellar cryptocurrencies

IT giant IBM is prepared to work with Facebook to develop the blockchain ecosystem, according to a senior executive.

Describing efforts to develop blockchain technology as “a team sport,” IBM blockchain general manager Jason Kelley said the firm was prepared to work with Facebook and others to flesh out blockchain infrastructure.

“Our clients are ready to work with (Facebook) and we’re ready to work with all of them to bring it together.”

While Kelley declined to discuss whether IBM was planning to join Facebook’s Libra stablecoin consortium, he suggested the presence of a company like Facebook in the crypto space would help bring greater legitimacy to the technology.

IBM has long stated its vision for blockchain technology in financial services, and the reports have been interpreted by some as an indication that the firm could be gearing up for a more hands-on role in developing Libra.

Facebook’s stablecoin, set for launch in 2020, has been beset with regulatory difficulties across multiple jurisdictions in recent weeks, with the likelihood of further challenges ahead of the proposed international rollout.

With IBM at least open to the idea of collaboration on the project, this could provide an alternative route for Facebook and others in developing the next wave of crypto-powered financial services.

In recent months, IBM has been working on a payments service of its own, developing its now-patented Stellar system for international blockchain payments.

It has also launched the World Wire service, allowing international payments on Stellar without the need for an intermediary, promising reduced transaction costs and faster clearing times.

The service is already available in 72 countries worldwide, with support for a total of 48 currencies, according to an IBM statement.

The firm has also been active in the development of other digital currencies, with letters of intent agreed with some six major global banks to develop and issue new stablecoins, including Banco Bradesco (Brazil), RCBC (Philippines) and Busan Bank (South Korea).

Emerging as one of the leading enterprise developers for the technology, IBM’s offer to work with Facebook could represent a significant opportunity for both, as well as the wider crypto ecosystem.