The IBM 'World Wide' payment platform will use Stellar Lumens and Stronghold 'stablecoins'. Photo: iStock

Tech giant IBM has launched a blockchain platform from its data center in Melbourne, Australia. The service will allow IBM customers to run applications via the company’s cloud platform.

The firm already has other blockchain facilities in Tokyo, London, Frankfurt, Dallas, São Paulo, and Toronto, and the platform is expected to be expanded to include Sydney by the end of March, according to a ZDnet report . The IBM blockchain platform is built on the Hyperledger blockchain, developed and hosted by the Linux Foundation to provide cross compatible blockchain solutions.

Rupert Colchester, head of blockchain and consulting practice leader for IBM in Australia and New Zealand, says the advantage of having two locations, in both Melbourne and Sydney, is largely about network availability. Australian clients and customers, Colchester told ZDNet, will expect the platform to offer “high availability” with little downtime and the dual IBM locations will be able to deliver this.

Colchester also says by setting up the physical infrastructure in-country, the platform can be used for highly sensitive applications such as those connected with the government or fintech without crossing borders, either digital or geographical. The expansion into Australia, where blockchain is most commonly applied to the supply chain, shows that projects have reached a level of maturity that requires dedicated services.

The Australian National Blockchain is expected to work with IBM to help enable organizations to digitally manage the life cycle of contracts, from negotiation through to signing, and continuing over the term of the agreement. Colchester emphasized the security of storing contracts on an “Australia only” blockchain. the new IBM network will offer “security that can’t be achieved” with some other cloud-based blockchain solutions.

IBM has been expanding its blockchain platforms globally and also running a series of real-time network trials. The most recent has been a shipment of mandarin oranges from China to Singapore, where the technology was employed to reduce paperwork handling and costs for the shipment.

Australia is, in many respects, at the forefront of blockchain technology and its government holds a relatively pro-crypto stance. IBM making such a big investment there reflects the potential the company sees in the region.

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