BaaS: The Blockchain-button Enterprises were looking for?

Just when we thought that the tsunami of adding ‘aaS’ to everything from software, network, platform and infrastructure etc. was over; we are staring at a new kid on the block: BaaS or Blockchain-as-a-Service.
But why should anyone be surprised? With every technology that needs some heavy-lifting – from cloud backyards to the whole nine-yards of ERP, enterprises have always been given the option of letting someone else take care of the back-end so that they don’t have to struggle with a new technology from the scratch.
Yet, it is surprising to see the blockchain version of it sprout and grow in such a short time. BaaS providers are now up and around you to help you do anything and everything from setting up blockchain connected nodes on your behalf to making the gory part of working and maintaining a chain invisible. You just plug in and play, and of course, pay.
This foray has tempted everyone in the industry already. There are the usual suspects like Microsoft (that had come up with BaaS modules to the cloud-computing platform, Azure), IBM (with the Hyperledger BaaS system based on the Bluemix Cloud Platform), Oracle (that had put this as part of its overall Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) portfolio and started efforts strongly with Oracle Platform for Open Banking as well as Oracle FLEXCUBE), Hewlett-Packard (announcements in the HPE Mission Critical Blockchain family with Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and SAP (with a cloud-based blockchain service SAP Leonardo). Note, that Amazon Web Services has joined the race recently with Blockchain Templates that claim to allow customers to quickly deploy Ethereum or Hyperledger Fabric frameworks enabling sharp and easy focus on just the application and nothing else at the back of it.
And there are also newbies like Ardor (for child chains to bring BaaS into the front of the equation), Baidu (BFSI-heavy) and Tencent.
So, yes, if you were complaining about enterprise-inadequacy and too-much-work with the spades in going ahead with Blockchains, you have BaaS options now. But remember, the good old asterisk of control and visibility would come into play here like all other aaS choices. To add to that, there is the question of centralisation if that matters to you. Blockchain was supposed to be quintessentially decentralised but if a vendor is taking care of the strings for you, well, you have something to think about.

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