To widen blockchain adoption, IBM intros starter plan for SMEs

LAS VEGAS — In a bid to jumpstart the adoption of blockchain technology, IBM has introduced its Blockchain Platform Starter Plan to help startups, developers, and even students begin building their own blockchain networks.

Launched at its new flagship event “Think 2018” being held at the Mandalay Bay, IBM said the starter plan provides a low-cost entry point ideally suited for pilot projects, early and iterative development, and startups that want to build new solutions on the IBM Blockchain Platform which currently has 250 active blockchain networks.

Although IBM said the starter plan is currently in beta, it provides the same experience as the production-ready IBM Blockchain Platform Enterprise plan, plus a quickstart network configuration, sample apps, and Hyperledger Fabric 1.1 and Composer which make it easy to develop, govern, and operate a blockchain network in minutes.

Additionally, IBM Blockchain Ecosystem initiatives include a Digital Mentorship program, no-cost access to the platform, and a collaboration with MState, a blockchain growth lab focused on scaling early stage, enterprise focused start-ups.

To support the increasing demand for a skilled technical workforce trained in blockchain, IBM is also sharing its blockchain expertise by providing education and network access with as many as 1,000 universities in the IBM Academic Initiative.

For self-guided learners, there is the IBM Blockchain developer program available on Coursera where nearly 20,000 active learners are already enrolled.

IBM said there has been an uptick in job openings for blockchain developers, ranking second among the top 20 fastest-growing job skills by online jobs platform Upwork last year. Job postings for workers with blockchain development skills have more than doubled since 2016, it noted.