Blockchain as a service (BaaS) is the latest hot trend in the blockchain ecosystem. From a conceptual standpoint, BaaS provides enables the capabilities of the blockchain as a series of services that can be incorporate into applications. More importantly, BaaS leverages the power of cloud computing to enable the provisioning, management and scalability of blockchain solutions without requiring any proprietary infrastructures. Recently, cloud market leaders like IBM and Microsoft announced the first releases of their BaaS solution powered by the Bluemix and Azure cloud respectively.
The BaaS movement is a great catalyst for the adoption of the blockchain but is also contributing to the fragmentation of the ecosystem. With other cloud leaders like Amazon or Google quickly embarking in BaaS initiatives the industry desperately need an open BaaS model. To accomplish that, the industry should leverage the platform that has become the standard for hybrid, open source, multi-cloud platform as a service (PaaS) capabilities: Cloud Foundry.
A BaaS model powered by Cloud Foundry is far from being a trivial endeavor but, if successful, can bring tremendous benefits to the blockchain movement. There are a few factors that I believe are rapidly contributing to the need of a Cloud Foundry BaaS model
The Need for a Multi-Cloud BaaS
As IBM, Microsoft and others expand the capabilities of their BaaS capabilities, the need for a multi-cloud BaaS model is becoming essential to ensure certain level of portability and interoperability between different BaaS stacks. A Cloud Foundry BaaS solution would not only ensure an open standard BaaS stack but it will allow organizations to enable BaaS capabilities in their private cloud infrastructure.
The Blockchain Ecosystem Is Too Fragmented
The emergence of BaaS is accelerating the fragmentation of the blockchain. In just a few months, both IBM and Microsoft have released proprietary blockchain stacks such as Hyperledger and Project Bletchey. A Cloud Foundry BaaS model can help to set a common set of capabilities across the different BaaS technology stacks.
The Blockchain is not Enough to Build Blockchain Applications
Every blockchain solution needs infrastructure or platform services beyond the blockchain. A BaaS stack powered by Cloud Foundry will allow developers to build applications that combine the capabilities of the blockchain with existing Cloud Foundry services like storage, messaging, microservices and many others.
Cloud Foundry Should Enter the BaaS Game
In order to remain competitive with public PaaS offerings, Cloud Foundry should enter the blockchain space. Despite the complexity and fragmentation of the market, everything indicates that the blockchain can become a pivotal technology trend for the next decade of cloud computing. Similarly to other technology trends like mobile or IOT, BaaS capabilities should have a place in the Cloud Foundry stack.
A BaaS Model Will Improve Cloud Foundry IOT Solutions
The internet of things (IOT) is one of the trends that can immediately benefit from the decentralized, trustless capabilities of the blockchain. Incorporating BaaS capabilities into Cloud Foundry will expand the possibilities for Cloud Foundry IOT solutions or platforms such as GE Predix.