The 2,405th Meeting of the Society

March 8, 2019 at 8:00 PM

Powell Auditorium at the Cosmos Club

Blockchains in Commerce

Ramesh Gopinath

Computer Scientist
Vice President, IBM Blockchain Solutions
IBM Research

About the Lecture

Blockchain technology will fundamentally transform all industries by virtue of it being a trusted and permissioned information sharing platform.  In the traditional model, when companies do business with each other they share information via point to point communication leading to information silos, disputes and reconciliations.  In the blockchain model, information is shared across the businesses on a shared ledger, leading to a single version of the truth.  In addition, business logic can be run in a trusted manner on top of the trusted data with smart contracts.

Supply chains, with the many handoffs that occur, is the perfect place to apply this technology.  Blockchain, together with IoT and AI is a trifecta of technologies for supply chains!  This presentation will show why, with these technologies, supply chains will never be the same, illustrated by two blockchain supply chain solutions that IBM has developed.  The first is IBM Food Trust, a transformative application of blockchain technology for the food ecosystem.  The second is IBM TradeLen, a transformative blockchain platform for global trade.

The lecture will show what it takes to build these transformative solutions:  getting the product right, getting the technology right, convening the ecosystem, getting the governance right, ensuring the right elements are in place for interoperability with other solutions, etc.

Several examples will be described that demonstrate that the value of these solutions grows exponentially as providers and users build and deliver services using these data sharing platforms.  These solutions are laying the foundations for future supply chains technologies in a way that one can say is analogous to pouring concrete for the inter-state highway system or laying cable for the internet.

About the Speaker

Ramesh Gopinath is Vice President for Blockchain Solutions at IBM.  He is responsible for the management and development of IBM’s blockchain technologies and solutions.  Previously he was the global leader for blockchain at IBM Research where he incubated IBM’s blockchain business.  

Raman began his career in IBM Research and over the years he has led the development of IBM products and services in a broad range of areas including cognitive (speech and text), collaboration, mobile and cloud.  He was instrumental in developing the IBM Food Trust blockchain solution to support food safety that is now being used by many of the world’s largest food companies.  And he helped develop IBM’s Global Trade Digitization technology currently being used by Maersk and other companies for shipping supply chain management.

Ramesh earned his BTech at the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai and his MS and PhD at Rice University.