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IBM Blockchain to Offer Decentralized Smart Contract Option

IBM is upgrading its enterprise blockchain solution to provide clients with a new decentralized governance option that will allow transaction parties to propose and amend smart contract parameters.

The blue-chip IT firm said last week that the IBM Blockchain Platform would carry over the changes in Hyperledger Fabric 2.0 – its base layer – claiming it "vastly improves" overall security and usability.

As well as improving performance and data privacy, IBM said in a blog post that the upgrade would completely change the platform's smart contract governance.

"IBM Blockchain Platform will support Hyperledger Fabric 2.0 and continue to add additional capabilities around the new decentralized smart contract lifecycle management and other new improvements," IBM said in its blog post. "In addition, the platform will allow the user to choose which version of Fabric to deploy and to migrate from one version to another."

Although IBM says it is "full steam ahead" with the Hyperledger Fabric 2.0 integration, it didn't provide a timeframe for when it expects to go live.

See also: Old Rivals Oracle and IBM Want Their Blockchains to Talk to Each Other

On the existing Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, smart contract governance is largely centralized. The ability to propose new parameters is reserved for one entity, while all other parties face a binary choice of either accepting them as they are or refuse them entirely and take themselves out of the ongoing transaction.

While they can still opt to put one entity in control of the parameters, a document issued by the Linux Foundation – the open-source tech consortium that launched the upgrade – says Hyperledger Fabric 2.0 adds a decentralized model where multiple parties can propose and amend parameters before they become active on the transaction channel.

The protocol upgrade also means that rather than the proposing party simply activating the new parameters at whim, a quorum of other transaction parties now needs to explicitly approve the upgrade beforehand.

See also: IBM Blockchain VP: Every Dollar Spent on Blockchain Yields $15 on Cloud

Since IBM launched its blockchain platform in May 2017, clients – generally businesses like the digital platform we.trade – have been able to pick and choose, buffet-style, the distributed ledger features that go along with their own individual requirements.

That clients can now choose a pre-packaged decentralized governance solution appears to play right into "Big Blue's" playbook.

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