IBM is trumpeting the debut of a "blockchain ecosystem" to support development on the Hyperledger Project's blockchain fabric. In addition, IBM has named a host of crypto-focused startups and also announced it will be hosting the first Hyperledger Fabric v1.0 Connect-a-Thon.

Bridget Van Kralingen, senior vice-president, IBM Industry Platforms, said: "The future growth and adoption of blockchain is reliant upon building a strong ecosystem. Business networks will only reach critical mass when innovators, industry experts and infrastructure providers come together in new ways to reinvent how business transactions happen.

"The growing maturity of the Hyperledger Project code is a major milestone. That's why IBM is investing to help developers accelerate the creation of blockchain networks by providing an environment where these players can work together."

The blockchain ecosystem programme is designed for innovators looking to build real networks – venture capitalists, start-ups, systems integrators, independent software vendors and enterprise developers.

IBM will provide education and tools to reduce the time required to go from idea to execution, it said. IBM blockchain experts will hold "office hours" via the Hyperledger Fabric Slack channel providing support to developers and help with troubleshooting. This is in addition to the courses and learning modules for business users and developers already available on developerWorks. These will be augmented with code libraries, smart contract templates and tools to speed the creation of blockchain apps.

These programmes are designed to support the Linux Foundation Hyperledger Fabric v1.0, which will provide a modular approach, much like the network-of-networks model of the internet.

IBM Blockchain Ecosystem Participants

The IBM blockchain ecosystem is an open environment where organisations can collaborate on shared or complementary technical and business visions using the Hyperledger Fabric, and access education and development support. Many companies are already benefitting from the IBM Blockchain ecosystem. IBM named the following:

Cloudsoft is a software company providing multi-cloud application management with open source tools. Cloudsoft's Hyperledger Fabric (HLF) Service lets developers focus on creating chaincode applications and reduces time to value for enterprises investigating and working with blockchain technologies, such as financial institutions setting-up their own blockchain networks running across multiple geographies.

EY, a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services is also participating in the ecosystem.

Everledger is a UK-based startup that is using IBM Blockchain to authenticate and trace the origin of high-value and luxury goods such as diamonds and wine. Using the IBM High Security Network, the company is able to trace and validate some of the world's most sought-after objects in a secure, tamper-resistant environment.

Gliding Eagle is a California-based company providing a cloud and mobile based technology system offering transparency and authenticity in tracking individual products from the producer to the end consumer, anywhere in the world.

The Hive is a VC with a portfolio that represents blockchain technology across financial services, compliance, cyber-security and the industrial internet. Operating in a high touch model with entrepreneurs, The Hive is actively participating in the IBM Blockchain ecosystem, both directly and through its portfolio companies.

IntellectEU, an international fintegration company with experienced Blockchain (Hyperledger and Ethereum) development teams in Portugal and in Ukraine is another ecosystem member. IntellectEU is the founding member of the Linux Foundation Hyperledger Project and is offering specialised professional services, application development and integration services.

Loyyal is reinventing how loyalty is created and rewarded. Using blockchain and smart contract technology, Loyyal has created interoperable loyalty and rewards infrastructure to address a highly fragmented industry, and offer multiple sectors an innovative way to incentivise customer behavior.

Mooti Blockchain Digital Identity provides advanced self-sovereign identity validation via blockchain technology using its new standard for cryptographic identification and validation. Mooti Digital Identity runs Identity Chains across any blockchain and provides enhanced data privacy and unique features such as time-based revocation and ring-signature anonymity.

NetKi is a Los Angeles-based digital identity start-up that provides companies with a suite of standards-based solutions which allow them to build blockchain-based applications and services that are highly interoperable, easy to use, and compliant with existing industry and regulatory requirements surrounding identity proofing and authentication.

Sensify Security is a Palo Alto-based IoT security startup co-created at The Hive, which delivers decentralised information security services for industrial and commercial IoT operations with centralised control, policy management and compliance. Sensify Security builds higher resistance to cyber-weapons by enabling operators to enforce access control between users, applications, control systems and sensor devices in a decentralised manner within their operating environments.

Skuchain is a Silicon Valley startup building a blockchain based platform for collaborative commerce called Brackets. Skuchain is demonstrating the potential of verifiable information on Hyperledger Fabric to eliminate supply friction in use cases ranging from trade finance, to working capital to item level authenticity.

Blockchain Connect-A-Thon with Hyperledger Fabric v1.0

IBM will host a connect-a-thon on 17 December 2016, using the Hyperledger Fabric v1.0 to set up peers that will operate in a network of networks mode, providing security-rich, confidential transactions among known parties.