In the first part of this blog series, we introduced the concept of Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) and why & how this model can work for enterprises. In this blog, we shall cover the limitations and advantages of this model and how our CoTrust platform could lead to accelerated adoption of blockchain technology.
Key Limitations of Blockchain as a Service (BaaS)
- Reliability on host provider – BaaS model dependent on host provider as transactions would need to be funneled through the host platform’s blockchain services. Since decentralization is one of the key features that makes blockchain so useful, companies will need to think long and hard as to whether this is the right solution to their problem.
- Restrictions / policy – Some organizations may have few internal policy or legal requirements that require all data is kept on company property
- Lock-in – No control on infrastructure. Total trust in the cloud provider. Organizations may find it difficult to migrate their services from one vendor to another
- Cost – Whilst BaaS removes the pain of a large initial investment cloud computing is often more expensive than onsite when assessed over the longer term. Organizations wishing to use the blockchain should compare costs between self-hosting and BaaS
- Limited control – As the infrastructure is controlled by the service provider there is limited flexibility in the backend infrastructure and the customer can just manage blockchain technology
Advantages of the Blockchain as Service model
Blockchain as a service is fastest way to deploy a blockchain solution since all the necessary infrastructure and initial configuration are completed by the cloud services provider. This means one don’t have to wait for purchasing, delivery, installation and configuration, you are ready to hit the ground running.
- Low-cost access to technology
- No upfront cost - As BaaS is consumed as a service generally there will be no large upfront cost as there would be with self-owned kit.
- Predictable costs – Costs will generally be based on a monthly billing model that can be projected. There should be no unexpected costs such as managing a hardware failure
- Enable massive scalability - The cloud based hosting and monthly OPEX costing model allow projects to be quickly scaled up or down to meet requirements
- Accuracy of deployments - Since most BaaS deployments are template driven they can be deployed accurately and in a repeatable manner with no differences
- Resilient and secure infrastructure - Cloud providers can pool resources and provide datacenters with far greater capabilities than the standard company.
How HCL’s CoTrust Platform enables Blockchain as a Service
HCL has built CoTrust Platform to enable accelerated enterprise adoption of blockchain technology. CoTrust helps creating Blockchain Applications on top of key Blockchain Engines in a faster, manageable, and extendible way.
Blockchain network providers can make use of CoTrust platform from HCL to create Blockchain as a Service for their network. CoTrust reduces time, cost and risk by providing foundational capabilities & scaffolding required for Blockchain implementations. It also brings in reusable business capabilities & domain specific use-cases.
Some of the distinguishing features of CoTrust in setting up Blockchain as a Service:
- Managed Platform – a hosted, ready to use platform for incubating enterprise blockchain use cases with pre-written services common across Blockchain applications
- Frictionless Onboarding – Automated & easy on-boarding for organizations, people and devices on to blockchain; facilitating fast entry of blockchain participant’s
- Blockchain Network Set up & Operations – CoTrust has a Console which is a Blockchain framework for managing end to end operations of blockchain business network by providing insights on the blocks, transactions, channels, chain code, API etc. It is user-friendly web application that helps view & deploy various components of the blockchain Network
- Dynamic Smart Contracts - CoTrust Console enables creating simple contracts without coding and installation. It requires very less programming knowledge and business user could even operate it
- End to End security – ensures sensitive data stored on blockchain applications can be read only by specified parties. Parties to a transaction can limit who is aware of their identity
- Structured API’s – Well defined API’s to interact with information on Blockchain applications in secure manner.
- Secured Channels - CoTrust console would setup CoTrust foundational services on each of the blockchain “nodes”. It also allows to maintain secured channels between specific participants
CoTrust could lead to deeper penetration of blockchain technology across various industry sectors and businesses. Instead of customer creating and running their own blockchains, Business can now simply “outsource” the complex technical work and focus on its core activities.
Key Uses of Blockchain as A Service
In future, several Businesses will use Blockchain as a service to securely maintain customer records, improve stocks, and record possession. It is an enabling solution for so many problems that are lying underneath the transactional processes in the global economy.
Blockchain as a service offers organizations a great opportunity to be able to experiment with blockchain and see how they could harness the technology in their business without large upfront costs, capital investments and employee training. This is where HCL’s CoTrust platform can be a huge enabler for powering the Blockchain as a Service Setup.