IBM’s blockchain network gives digital identities to suppliers

As founding members, Nokia and Vodafone will be able to inform the way Trust Your Supplier meets telecom needs. (Getty Images)

IBM today announced a new blockchain network called Trust Your Supplier. IBM is working with Chainyard on the blockchain network, which is designed to simplify and improve supplier management. 

Built on the IBM Blockchain platform and hosted on the IBM Cloud, it streamlines supplier validation. Buyers can view validation from third party groups such as Dun & Bradstreet, Ecovadis and RapidRatings on each supplier’s profile. And suppliers get a reusable digital identity that’s basically portable to any buyer on the network.

Founding participants include Anheuser-Busch InBev, Cisco, GlaxoSmithKline, Lenovo, Nokia, Schneider Electric and Vodafone. Their feedback and use cases will guide Trust Your Supplier as it grows.

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Chainyard, one of the developers behind the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain framework, has had a professional partnership with IBM for about five years. The product grew out of their partnership with IBM’s Blockchain Ventures.

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“One approach that we decided to try out in Chainyard was if we could have a strategic collaboration between a really small and nimble company that’s an expert in their field and pair that with all of the know-how and the reach that IBM has in the context of blockchain,” said David Post, managing director of IBM Blockchain Ventures, in an interview with FierceTelecom.

Trust Your Supplier’s initial rollout covers supplier onboarding in the North American market for the founding members. IBM is also its own first customer and will begin onboarding 4,000 of its North American suppliers over the next few months. 

“We built this network to be eProcurement-platform agnostic and business-network agnostic,” said Post. “So what that means is any eProcurement system can tap into Trust Your Supplier just like any business network can.”

Currently, businesses have to constantly prove and re-prove their identities, despite the fact that 80% of the information is common across buyers. “We’ve shifted a process that is very point-to-point onto a business network, and that makes it a lot more efficient because if you’re a supplier you have reusable digital identity that’s basically portable to any buyer on the network, irrespective of whatever eProcurement system they’re using,” Post said. 

As founding members, Nokia and Vodafone will be able to inform the way Trust Your Supplier grows to meet telecom needs, Post said. 

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