Mainframes Required to Make Blockchain Mainstream

by | Apr 11, 2019

According to Gartner, Blockchain passed from peak Hype Cycle to the Trough of Disillusionment in August of 2018, but they are still bullish. Bitcoin peaked at $19,800 in December 2018 and is down 80% since then. Not surprisingly, interest in the blockchain search term also peaked in December 2018, and according to Google Trends, is down 75%. Despite the drop-off, Gartner makes the point that the hype was not misplaced.

One report says that the majority of Fortune 500 Companies are pursuing blockchain initiatives, so while the hype is down, projects are up. Use cases include payments, supply chain, logistics, healthcare, food safety, and smart contracts. We need to remember that these use cases are not complete solutions, they are merely applications of blockchain to execute transactions and store the results on a distributed ledger. Transforming them into true solutions requires integration with existing legacy systems.

For example, if a bank wishes to track Bitcoin holdings for customers, the legacy systems need to pull data from the Bitcoin ledger. If they want to execute transactions, it becomes even more complicated. This is because not only must the transaction be executed, but obligations to prevent fraud, along with anti-money laundering (AML) and knowing your customer (KYC), are still required. With 70% of the Global 500 and 90% of the top global banks relying on mainframes as the system of record for the foreseeable future, legacy integration is a must for blockchain to move from test projects to mainstream production.

This is not easy.

While blockchain applications have APIs, it’s very difficult for legacy applications to call blockchain APIs. Legacy COBOL and PL/I applications were not designed to make outbound API calls, so creating this ability typically requires a major programming effort. Calling into the legacy application is just as difficult. This also typically requires significant custom programming to create a reusable high-level API that can be used by other applications.

Fortunately, GT Software’s Ivory Service Architect makes it snap.

Cloud or enterprise-based calls from legacy programs to an API for Blockchain or any other modern service-based API, can be accomplished easily through the use of Ivory. Ivory, with its drag-and-drop, no-code interface, handles the heavy lifting of calling the API and converting the results into a form that the legacy system can understand. What’s more, Ivory can also create REST and SOAP APIs that can be accessed from any modern service-based API for blockchain or other web-based applications.

This allows functions such as:

  • Executing a blockchain transaction
  • Calling an external system to identify fraud
  • Calling an external system for KYC compliance
  • Allowing blockchain applications to initiate transactions on the legacy systems

This powerful combination allows you to easily maintain accounts and execute blockchain transactions from existing systems.

Given that blockchain is an emerging and rapidly changing technology, it is also imperative that API development is also easily adaptable. Ivory is the perfect solution for this problem, since it not only allows existing teams to create new APIs five to ten times faster than writing code, it allows APIs to be easily modified to keep up with new requirements. In short, it helps transform blockchain projects to real-time, real-world applications.

-Steve Hassett, COO of GT Software