One of the lasting barriers that keeps enterprises from fully embracing blockchain initiatives is the difficulty in getting them up and running. To address this, Kaleido — a subsidiary of the blockchain software company ConsenSys — has announced a new marketplace solution.
Kaleido, which debuted in May 2018, is pitching the marketplace as a way for enterprises to put blockchain-based applications into production more quickly. In that sense, the marketplace builds upon the cloud-based blockchain service Blockchain Business Cloud, which Kaleido announced when the company initially launched last spring. The service offers a fast and easy way for companies to deploy blockchains.
At the time of Kaleido’s launch, its founder, Steve Cerveny, promised that the company would do for blockchain technology “what Salesforce did for CRM.” He was referring to the popular customer relations management platform that became famous as one of the first major business-focused software tools to adopt a deployment model in which end users did not have to install software themselves because everything was preconfigured for them and hosted in the cloud.
The Blockchain Marketplace
But what exactly is a “blockchain marketplace” and how can it improve blockchain development for enterprises?
Essentially, it is a platform where businesses can spin up cloud-based blockchain services and applications with minimal effort and minimal investment in their own hosting infrastructure.
Kaleido’s big pitch for the blockchain marketplace (and for its broader agenda) operates under the assumption that businesses that want to use a blockchain often have little time or patience for building all of the pieces that it needs to connect its applications to a truly distributed ledger. Even if the blockchain itself is easily accessible, integrating with it typically requires writing a lot of custom code and many enterprises lack the time or in-house expertise to do this.
Thus, by offering a marketplace where enterprises can quickly deploy pre-built blockchain applications and services, all without having to set up their own infrastructures, Kaleido promises to deliver a much smoother and faster on-ramp for enterprises to adopt blockchain-based solutions.
“Only about 10 percent of an enterprise blockchain project is the blockchain itself,” as Cerveny puts it. “There are many other application, data and infrastructure components required to go into production... The Kaleido Marketplace is a one-stop shop for all things enterprise blockchain.”
The State of the Market
Currently, the marketplace offers a little more than a dozen services. About a third are third-party applications, such as Chainlink and Viant. Others are integrations for connecting data, logs and applications either with Kaleido’s blockchain business cloud or services that run in Amazon Web Services, the popular public cloud platform.
It is unclear whether and how much companies have to pay to use Kaleido’s blockchain marketplace. For now, Kaleido offers its blockchain business cloud service for free in beta form, with a paid enterprise plan “coming soon.” But the company has not released details about whether the marketplace is included with either of these plans, or how pricing for the marketplace might change once Kaleido rolls out an enterprise offering.
(Kaleido mentions several current “clients” in its press release about the marketplace, but it’s unclear whether these clients are working with Kaleido and ConsenSys as part of a special relationship or are using the marketplace via the company’s general-purpose beta platform offering.)
Kaleido has detailed technical documentation for each of the integrations available via the blockchain marketplace. It seems, then, that the platform is a pretty tangible thing, even if it’s hard to tell at this point how many companies are actually using it or under which terms.
Will Kaleido’s blockchain marketplace truly make it as easy for enterprises to take advantage of blockchain applications as it is to manage customer relations in Salesforce? That remains to be seen and, at a minimum, Kaleido will probably need to add more integrations to its marketplace before the platform achieves true value. Still, this is an important step toward a world where enterprise blockchain applications become feasible for companies without enormous resources and time to toss at blockchain development.