Oracle's quest to make blockchain disappear completely

HKMA will soon launch a blockchain-powered trade finance platform in a joint initiative with five large banks (Image ismagilov / iStockPhoto)
Oracle envisions a future where blockchain will simply run in the background (Image ismagilov / iStockPhoto)

At its annual San Francisco OpenWorld conference last week, Oracle announced it would soon be launching four supply chain use case focused blockchain applications. And it won't be stopping there.

"This is a starting point. This is scratching the surface," Oracle Cloud Platform executive vice president Amit Zavery told CIO Australia.

"We're just starting off with service we knew were in demand and interesting but I would it expect in every industry and vertical," he said.

Zavery indicated Oracle would next be developing blockchain apps for finance and healthcare, with other sector specific use cases thereafter.

"I would think financial services, we're already working with quite a few customers there but they also do a lot of custom development as well, so we'll do some packaged applications but also some with the consortia there," he said.

"I would expect in healthcare for sure, again there's a lot of patient data and supplier data, [and] they want to use blockchain as a way to share and store and make sure privacy concerns are met," Zavery added.

The longer term aim however is not to attach the blockchain label to everything, but rather make it disappear completely.

Anywhere it makes sense

Rather than sell products and features on the fact they utilize blockchain, the technology will simply run in the background wherever it makes sense, Oracle says. In his keynote on Tuesday morning, Oracle CEO Mark Hurd said he didn't see blockchain "as a solution".

"I don't think there's going to be a Blockchain Inc. I think blockchain is a feature of virtually all applications that will make sense for it to be applied into for the exchange of secure information," he explained.

Eventually customers won't even be aware of where blockchain is being used, Zavery explained.

"The goal with this is that customers won't even know there's a blockchain underneath. With the applications you shouldn't need to worry about how you implemented it," he said.

That sentiment was echoed by Leanne Kemp, founder and CEO of blockchain startup Everledger, who was speaking as part of a panel at OpenWorld (despite her company's technology being built on IBM Blockchain).

"I have a theory, I just don't think we'll be talking about blockchain in the next two to three years time," Kemp, recently appointed as Queensland Chief Entrepreneur, said.

"In the same way we aren't talking about HTTP or SMTP and if I come up with a new browser no-one thinks that's cool and if I'm talking about an email application we don't think that's innovative either. Because the reality is this technology is purely an enabler," she added.

That will be some years away, however. For now Oracle is busy touting the buzzword du jour.

"A lot of these technologies are always hyped. There's always buzzword compliant technologies. But there are real use cases where it makes sense. It doesn't solve every problem," Zavery said.

"I think over time when it becomes pervasive, sure [the label will disappear]. Today it is trendy so if you didn't say blockchain people wouldn't know its blockchain," he added.

CIO Australia


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