IBM Blockchain Gets Another Customer: Volkswagen. What Does this Mean for Mass Adoption?

IBM’s forray into enterprise blockchain solutions has added another high-profile customer: Volkswagen. The German automaker recently announced that it will utilize the IBM Blockchain platform to track minerals used in its supply chain. For cryptocurrency and blockchain investors, this provides further validation that distributed ledgers are here to stay and have practical use cases across various business domains.

IBM-Volkswagen Partnership

Last week, Volkswagen announced it had joined an “open industry collaboration” to ensure that strategic minerals are mined responsibly. Utilizing IBM Blockchain and Linux Hyperledger technology, the new platform provides access to immutable data that tracks the flow of minerals across the manufacturing supply chains in near real-time. The new network includes participants at each stage of the manufacturing supply chain. Some of the largest participants include Ford Motor Company, Huayou Cobalt and LG Chem.

“Based on its open and democratic structure, the group will further expand membership to focus on industries such as aerospace, consumer electronics and mining operations,” Volkswagen said in a statement.

IBM Blockchain provides enterprise-level solutions for companies looking to leverage distributed ledger technology. IBM boasts more than 1,500 industry and technical experts, highlighting the extent to which the company has ventured into the new tech paradigm.

IBM Spearheads Blockchain Adoption

In addition powering the new manufacturing mineral network, IBM has been pushing hard for a new money transfer system that would allow customers to settle cross-border payments in near real-time. Dubbed IBM Blockchain World Wire, the new service is powered by the Stellar protocol, one of the world’s largest blockchain networks. IBM’s World Wire converts digital assets into the second fiat currency in seconds and at a fraction of the cost.

At the time of writing, IBM Blockchain World Wire was available in 72 countries, 57 currencies, 44 banking endpoints and nearly 1,100 currency trading pairs.

Last summer, IBM also announced it had partnered with Stronghold, a fin-tech startup, to develop a new stablecoin that is backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). This means the stablecoin is actually backed by insured U.S. dollars with reserves held at a blockchain-focused asset manager. Read more: IBM Goes All In On Stablecoin Project as Mainstream Crypto Adoption Grows.

Blockchain Ecosystem Grows

IBM represents one of several major companies looking to bring blockchain technology to mainstream audiences. It has also been one of the most successful. By venturing into stablecoins, carbon credit cryptocurrencies and decentralized payment networks, the company has blurred the boundaries between enterprise blockchain solutions and digital assets (i.e., the blockchain, not bitcoin debate).

Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt platform is expected to make cryptocurrency more appealing for three distinct stakeholders: consumers, businesses and investors. Bakkt’s launch has been delayed by several months but has already raised $740 million from private investors. Read more: Crypto Weekly Review: Rise of the Small-Cap Cryptocurrencies; Clientless Bakkt Raises $740 Million.

Samsung has also made a big pivot toward cryptocurrencies by supporting private key storage and wallet services for Ethereum and ERC tokens in its new fleet of smartphones.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi