Despite the chill of crypto winter, Amazon has announced a new blockchain creation and management tool, “Amazon Managed Blockchain,” in a company announcement.
Amazon announced the service at re:Invent 2018, its annual conference for all things related to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud (a cloud-computing platform that accounts for about 11 percent of the company's total revenue).
Managed Blockchain is one of the newest services to become part of the much larger AWS platform, which lets customers do everything from host virtual servers to run big data applications using infrastructure provided by Amazon.
Amazon said that Managed Blockchain makes it possible “to set up and manage a scalable blockchain network with just a few clicks,” without having to create a network of devices to host the blockchain.
The blockchains that users create can be powered either by Hyperledger Fabric, an open source tool for creating custom blockchains, or Ethereum. (Amazon says Ethereum support is not available quite yet but is “coming soon.”)
Amazon Managed Blockchain is currently available in preview mode, which restricts users to creating just one Hyperledger Fabric network containing no more than six channels. The company hasn’t revealed when Managed Blockchain will enter into full availability.
Betting on the Blockchain or Keeping up With the Joneses?
This is widely seen as a bet by Amazon that demand for blockchain infrastructure will remain strong, despite the current downtick in cryptocurrencies and the slowing of momentum within the crypto industry at large. By launching a new cloud-based service that makes it easy for users to build a blockchain tailored to their own needs, Amazon may be signaling confidence that the crypto market will turn bullish again.
It may also believe that companies need an enterprise-friendly, turnkey blockchain infrastructure solution — exactly what the AWS Managed Blockchain service aims to provide — to help make that happen.
Alternatively, naysayers might point out that, to date, Amazon has lagged behind other major public cloud providers in the blockchain market. The Microsoft Azure cloud already provides turnkey services for creating blockchains with Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum, not to mention Corda. So does Google Cloud.
Against this backdrop, Amazon would seem merely to be concerned with keeping abreast of its major competitors in the cloud-computing market.
Still, if Amazon believed blockchain technology had no future, the company would presumably not bother to roll out the AWS Managed Blockchain service at all. So while the move may be a catch-up play to a certain extent, it still affirms another major tech company’s faith in the future of the crypto ecosystem.