What is blockchain middleware?

We know what blockchain is by now.

Blockchain is an immutable distributed ledger system for maintaining a permanent and tamper-proof record of transactional data as a decentralized database that is managed by computers belonging to a peer-to-peer (P2P) network.

So what is blockchain middleware?

Blockchain middleware typically refers to software functions designed to bring together various interrelated instances and elements of blockchain data… it can also encompass software designed to combine different blockchain implementations within a unified interface for ease of use and (often) as a route to achieving scalability.

Blockchain middleware can also be used to apply blockchain to use cases in specific industries that are not well served by existing blockchain technologies.

Tibco Software CTO for EMEA region Maurizio Canton points out that while the [business] case for harnessing blockchain may be watertight, as ever the implementation can be a deal breaker if the full benefits are to be reaped and the value optimised.

“Setting up this technology comes with an inherent complexity. As a concept that is underpinned by partnership and collaboration, the need for middleware that supports integration, correlation and analytics as well as driving security and governance must be a major consideration of any project,” wrote Canton, in a blog post linked above.

Canton says that crucially, many different data sources must come together with the rest of an enterprise architecture in real-time.

“Blockchain is continually generating technical and business information that can offer valuable insights from fraud detection to the behaviours of users throughout the blockchain, so tools that can visualise these become a core ingredient for quick and simple data gathering and enhanced predictive capabilities,” added Tibco’s Canton.

Use case example

One example of a blockchain middleware platform is Omnitude, the British tech firm has partnered with multi-vendor e-commerce platform CS-Cart to build single identity capabilities into the retail experience using blockchain.

CS-Cart powers more than 35,000 websites worldwide, where multiple vendors can sell their goods through a single marketplace. Omnitude ID (OID) technology will be natively integrated into its software, providing unparalleled levels of trust and convenience and helping to reduce the risk of fraud.

Customers with an existing OID will only need to enter their identity and preferences once, then each time they transact with a vendor they will be able to use the identity and preference information already stored in the blockchain.

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