Amazon Web Services (AWS) is partnering with ConsenSys, a group of Ethereum developers and entrepreneurs on a mission to build infrastructure, applications and practices that enable a decentralized world.
AWS is among the largest cloud computing service providers in the world. They have a vast array of plans for ecommerce hosting, database storage and other cloud-based, enterprise solutions. The marriage between Amazon’s infrastructure and the blockchain capabilities of ConsenSys is designed to make enterprise blockchains both easier and faster to deploy.
The announcement was made at Consensus 2018, the 4th annual blockchain technology summit produced by Coindesk in New York City, from May 14-16. Together, they are releasing a new enterprise-level blockchain cloud service, Kaleido, which may be used to deploy a private blockchain network.
According to Matt Yanchyshyn, global technology lead for AWS’s partner program, “We have been following ethereum closely as it’s what many of our customers have been exploring, especially for enterprise use cases.”
The Kaleido platform will be protocol-agnostic, meaning that it will support Hyperledger’s Sawtooth, R3’s Corda, and a host of other protocols, but it is not Amazon’s first step toward adopting blockchain technology. In 2016, AWS began its foray into blockchain, with a partnership between their cloud services platform and investment firm, Digital Currency Group (DCG) to create an enterprise-level blockchain experimentation environment.
In April 2018, AWS also released a new service to support Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric blockchain networks. According to Amazon, AWS Blockchain Templates is a framework that enables users to choose containers for Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) clusters. Users may also deploy blockchain networks on EC2.
The difference today is that ConsenSys is arguably among the most influential organizations in the Ethereum community. ConsenSys offered Ethereum cloud services for the first time on the Microsoft Azure platform at DevCon 1 in 2015. At that time, the company partnered with Microsoft to create a toolkit to enable enterprise users to build out blockchain projects using the Ethereum protocol, thereby creating “Ethereum Blockchain-as-a-Service” or “E BaaS.” At that time, Marley Gray, the director of technology strategy for Microsoft’s US Financial Services said, “Our enterprise clients will have the ability to deploy private and semi-private or consortium blockchain networks, as well as public Ethereum nodes with a single click on Azure.”
The earlier Microsoft solution was good for experimentation, but was not nearly as scalable as the new Kaleido solution. The new shared IT approach will also help to solve the problem of defining new versions of smart contracts and policies. It also facilitates linking a private blockchain network with a public, Ethereum-based blockchain, such that the public blockchain becomes a sort of “ledger of last resort.”
Kaleido enables users to switch between multiple consensus algorithms, using either Geth or Quorem, an enterprise version of Ethereum developed by JPMorgan Chase. It should be noted that Chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon recently walked back comments on how Bitcoin and other blockchains were “a fraud.” As Quorem management has become burdensome for the bank, a system like Kaleido may provide relief.