Amazon’s new blockchain service competes with similar products from Oracle and IBM

Amazon Web Services announced Blockchain Templates late last week, a “blockchain-as-a-service” offering that competes with similar products from Oracle and IBM. The launch shows how eager the biggest enterprise players are to get ahead in the blockchain game, even if their customers are still trying to pinpoint exactly what blockchain can do for them (and some investors are starting to temper their initial excitement).

In a blog post about how to use Blockchain Templates, AWS vice president and chief evangelist Jeff Barr acknowledged the lack of clarity by referencing a 1970s “Saturday Night Live” sketch about Shimmer Floor Wax, a floor polish that is also a non-dairy dessert topping.

“Some of the people that I talk to see blockchains as the foundation of a new monetary system and a way to facilitate international payments. Others see blockchains as a distributed ledger and immutable data source that can be applied to logistics, supply chain, land registration, crowdfunding and other use cases,” he wrote. “Either way, it’s clear that there are a lot of intriguing possibilities and we are working to help our customers use this technology more effectively.

AWS Blockchain Templates give AWS users working on blockchain apps a faster way to set up Ethereum or Hyperledger Fabric networks. Its launch comes six months after Oracle unveiled its cloud service built on the open-source Hyperledger Fabric project during Oracle OpenWorld and about a year after IBM announced its own Hyperledger-based blockchain-as-a-service offering.

Another new competitor in the BaaS market is Huawei, which announced its Blockchain Service, also built on Hyperledger, last week during its analyst conference in Shenzhen. It joins other Chinese tech companies, including Baidu and Tencent, that already had blockchain platforms.