Amazon has entered the emerging Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) sector with its blockchain templates for Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric for Amazon Web Services (AWS). This follows suit of tech giants IBM and Oracle who have launched their own Hyperledger blockchain services.
Blockchain as a service (Baas)
Although there is a need and desire for many companies to trial their own blockchain networks they are extremely complex to implement and so ‘template’ solutions are offered to expedite and simplify the process much in the same way as software-as-a-service companies (Saas) like website builder Wix have done for web design.
AWS, which provides cloud-based data storage and hosting services, will allow clients to build a private blockchain through AWS CouldFormation. If you create an Ethereum network it will have two clients and one miner running it and you there are some prerequisites before creating it: you will need an AWS account, create an IAM user and create a Pair Key. You will also have to be familiar with AWS virtual private cloud (VPC) setups.
Amazon is advocating blockchain as it “improves the efficiency and immutability of transactions for business processes like international payments, supply chain management, land registration, crowd-funding, governance, financial transactions, and more.”
The templates are intended to be used to “configure and launch AWS CloudFormation stacks to create blockchain networks.”
Which Template: Hyperledger or Ethereum?
Depending on your company's needs here are the (simplistic) fundamental reasons to choose either blockchain.
Private Blockchain: Hyperledger Fabric is a blockchain framework that runs smart contracts called chaincode, which are written in Go. You can create a private network with Hyperledger Fabric, limiting the peers that can connect to and participate in the network. This is a more flexible blockchain where businesses can pick and choose the parts that they want to implement to streamline the process of their business.
Public blockchain: Ethereum is a blockchain framework that runs smart contracts using Solidity, an Ethereum-specific language. Ethereum is more for distributed, shared used. For example, it is not possible in Ethereum to have a transaction visible to someone, but not visible to others (a requirement that is very common in business). Fabric allows this and much more. Ethereum is a permissionless protocol.
Naturally the question on everybody’s mind is whether the retail giant will release its own cryptocurrecy or Amazon token. Well, they’ve had their own coin for years!
Another version of their “intrinsic token” is the Amazon Credit which you can earn as a vendor or through their Mechanical Turk program, but it’s yet to be seen whether one of the online oligarchs make the first move to a cryptocurrency of their own.