IBM Disrupting Scientific Research on the Blockchain

IBM was awarded a patent for blockchain-powered scientific research data. With it, they aim to make sharing such data more secure and efficient for the scientific community. This is yet another patent among many for the tech giant and global leader in blockchain development.

The U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office (USPTO) published IBM’s patent titled ““Blockchain for Open Scientific Research.” The patent describes how different components of research data can be tracked. In short, these components, the initial data, analysis of that data, and any modifications, will be stored on separate blocks. Therefore, the blockchain itself will represent an “entire research project.”

Transparency is the main issue in the current models of scientific data sharing

Researchers are never sure if information was altered without authorization. Likewise, the initial scientist who shared the data cannot feel secure that he’ll know where it ends up in the process. Obviously, one of the strengths of blockchain technology in solving this problem is its immutability.  In the company’s own words, the new system will provide “trustworthiness and reproducibility of the data and results.”

Currently, Bank of America leads with the most awarded blockchain patents worldwide. However, they are yet to implement any of the projects.  IBM, on the other hand, has been at the vanguard for blockchain application across industries.  Currently, they’re neck and neck with China’s Alibaba, both with around 90 patents to date.

Large companies are extensively using IBM’s blockchain-powered products

Perhaps their most ambitious project so far has been their Food Trust.  This is a supply chain service for tracking food products from their origin to the market.  Walmart, Tyson Foods, Dole, and other leading companies are all using IBM’s product.

And they report that the system is an enormous time saver.

This recent patent stands out as one of IBM’s most unique so far, since others have not yet applied blockchain in this specific way

Their last patent was very interesting as well: a blockchain service for augmented reality games.  This will collect location data to help restrict players from trespassing on private property or other undesirable areas.

Over the past few years, IBM has regularly filed for and been awarded patents.  In July alone they won five.  There’s little sign that they are slowing down, and they’re doing a lot to propel blockchain into the mainstream.


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