IBM told investors that it has over 400 blockchain clients — including Walmart, Visa, and Nestlé

via MySanAntonio

  • IBM told investors Thursday that it has over 400 clients with projects on its blockchain platform.
  • Among its biggest clients are companies like Walmart and Nestlé. It also disclosed a list of banks and trade companies using its blockchain.
  • Blockchain technology is often associated with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, but enterprises are taking it on as a new tool for trade and payments.

IBM’s foray into blockchain technology is catching on with customers, according to an investor briefing shared by the company on Thursday.

At least 400 IBM customers are now running blockchain-based projects, according to the briefing. Among those customers are 63 that work together with certain themes: 25 companies in global trade, 14 companies in food tracking, and 14 companies in global payments. Some of IBM’s most recognizable blockchain clients include Nestlé, Visa, Walmart, and HSBC.

While blockchains continue to be widely associated with startups and crypto-millionaires, IBM’s client list shows that large enterprises are truly embracing the technology.

IBM and Walmart actually launched a joint food safety blockchain project globally last year, which enables the grocery chain to figure out where specific produce originated in a matter of seconds.

Why the blockchain?
Blockchains, the technology that underlies cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, have caught on in enterprise as an efficient and comprehensive way of tracking both physical and digital items — from inventory to online payments. Often, these blockchains are decentralized, meaning they’re spread across many machines on a network. This redundancy makes it difficult for any one party to falsify the information contained on the blockchain.

Conventionally, blockchains like the one that powers bitcoin are public, so that anyone can see the changes that are made. It’s an important aspect of most cryptocurrencies that the blockchain is accessible to all, to eliminate the possibility of shady dealings.

But IBM’s product, which is built on top of an open-source blockchain called Hyperledger Fabric, uses “permissioned networks.” This means companies can have some of the information on their bespoke blockchain be publicly viewable, and some of it locked behind a password or other security mechamism.

A global trader like the Dow Chemical Company (an IBM blockchain user) may want to have an immutable receipt between itself and its trade partners in order to guarantee that no one is being scammed. But it doesn’t necessarily want that information to be viewable by its competitors — or, say, the media.

In global shipping, IBM’s clients include Maersk, Du Pont and Dow Chemical. Its food trust customers include Walmart, Nestlé, Kroger and Unilever. Its global payment customers include Visa, the Polynesian payments company KlickEx, EarthPort, Nab, BBVA and CIBC. And in trade finance, IBM’s customers include Societe General, WeTrade, HSBC, Unicredit, and Santander.

They’re not the only ones rushing towards the blockchain, either., the Amazon of China, is launching a project to put high-end beef imports on a blockchain so that its customers can see where their meat has been.


The problem I have with this is:

It reminds me of when I was heavily into PC gaming.

When you play in an enclosed environment just with your friends you can have a great setup and do a lot of cool things, and even think you’re good at the game.

But when you expose yourself to the rest of the world (excuse the phrase), you soon find out that your only job is to stay alive long enough to be able to think about more than just staying alive.

Bitcoin is like the Daddy of the blockchain gaming world - it’s battle hardened from being attacked from many angles for many years.

These companies that are playing blockchain in their own sandbox will find out the hard way - that they’re like a noob gamer who thinks he’s good, but then the proper gamers tear him a new one.

We all know that big companies are terrible at keeping data secure - and if they try and use this technology but ignore the security side (PoW etc.), then they’ll find out the painful way why Bitcoin has PoW.


Interesting perspective Lenny, Im actually concerned about the opposite. All the corporate players want to stay centralized. Then literally blackball other folks. Which means advancement of blockchain will only happen within the corporate world so that will stall our technology until something truly disruptive comes around. It’s a double edge sword with both good and bad outcomes for crypto


I hear you. But I think that ultimately flexibility, privacy and freedom will prevail and people will choose open systems wherever they have the chance. A bit like when Ethernet started - Token Ring was there but IBM controlled it and wanted to determine what people could do - so Ethernet which was more open and flexible won out.

Our job is to not let them pull us down while we stand there holding the “freedom this way” sign for people, while the big players are trying to convince them that their matrix is even better than being free.

We need to be prepared to helped people go down the rabbit hole. Strong Hands and open hearts.


The juggernaut emerges. Several more still to come, counting out established tech companies in favor of questionable startups doesn’t work out well most of the time. Let’s see how acquisitions will work for token holders…the short end of the stick coming?


LOL I find this a bit amusing as the NASDAQ and Citi have been using blockchains far longer than many here have been in this space or want to acknowledge. If you know financial instituitions like I do you know that even though this article was written in 2017 the project had started no later than 2015, more than likely pushing 2013 or earlier.

Since the topic of the day seems conspiracy theories or at least the convo’s I have been involved in, ponder this. Central governments and Banks want to digitize everything because it means the doors can be closed at some point. In order to do that you need to start with money/wealth. They create Bitcoin give it everything that we think we want. Down play it ban it and un-ban it to make the people think do not want them to use it or that they are afraid of it. Allow trading of it while secretly siphoning it and using the data and wealth siphoned from the public to perfect their own blockchain. And we happily are doing it hehe. I have no proof but it would be a truly diabolical plan get us the ones rebelling to pay for our own chains.




not particularly a fan of IBM or any of the other companies listed above, however they do all employ some very smart people

many large companies have been running PoCs on various flavours of decentralised ledgers (public/private/permissioned/permissionless), smart contracts, proof of identity, proof of ownership, shipment tracking etc etc

they recognise that there may be some benefits, cost savings, competitive edge

IBM are making a rather broad claim to its investors that 400 customers are “on its blockchain platform”

the fact that IBM feel that this is what their shareholders want to hear is a good thing imo


Hi Team,

As I alluded to in another post, these companies are using Blockchain to store digital documents.

It makes perfect sense, swap documents ea silly and in a verifiable manner, using a cheap datastore that is proved and battle hardened.

Stay Fishy


One major problem with digital document archive is the hidden maintenance cost with the technology upgrade cycle: OS upgrade, hardware architecture change and storage limits…

A future CTO of a certain company will walk into a digital relic nightmare in ten years and will be even more shocked that only IBM is capable of upgrading the system with an unreasonable fee.

That is how profitable the IBM mainframe system consulting is nowadays.

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I do enjoy your conspiracy and believe Bitcoin might be an invention of the establishment. But here is why I think it is not the case:

Decentralisation of established power:

It is one of the main target of the Bitcoin design (in fact it is the target of all peer-to-peer technology). Bitcoin aims to keep the payment process between just you and me without an third party ‘authority’ (a central bank) that is able to corrupt or is already corrupting the monetary system. Mainly, Bitcoin gives the minting back to the people.

Established power does not need blockchain internally:

I really don’t see the difference between a distributed database and a blockchain implementation within a single company. Employees do not demand to ‘take back’ the control from the management at all. And the employer also holds basic trust to the employees’ work ethics. A blockchain based financial system only guarantees the immutability of the digital records but never the correctness of the records, even if the record authenticity can be implemented by digital signatures of every employees. No technology can prevent people from making honest mistakes. Plus, a company with a centralised leadership shall always insist a third party involvement between the two parties for an important transaction to eliminate honest mistakes.

Between different companies, public blockchain (Bitcoin) can be used for instant settlements. Actually, Ripple might good enough if both companies prefer Ripple’s centralised control of all nodes among different banks behind corporate firewalls to the public blockchains where banks’ privacy can be at risk. Maybe Monero will eventually win in both use cases?

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This is exactly what Jed Mcaleb was talking about. It has stellar written all over it. IBM is helping stellar connect to Banks and major partners and players. Interesting stuff.

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