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CRN Exclusive: Intel's Michael Reed On The Company's Big Blockchain Bet And How Partners Could Benefit

Michael Reed, director of Intel's Blockchain Program Office, sheds some light on the company's recently revealed patent application for a Bitcoin mining hardware accelerator and details efforts with the blockchain decentralized ledger technology.

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For channel partners, is there an opportunity for them in the blockchain/cryptocurrency space?

There is absolutely, especially when you steer your attention towards the enterprise blockchain deployments. And I would just point out, there are several ways resellers and integrators can participate and provide solutions today. I'll just point out a few. One area is in open-source development, and today the largest systems integrators are members of Hyperledger and also the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, and those are two strong bodies for enterprise blockchain solutions development. So that's a great place to put your attention if you're in a position of providing professional services consulting or even developing solutions on top of the open-source blockchain tools that are coming out of those bodies.

Another area they can look to is application development. This could apply to a public blockchain like Ethereum, which has a very rich coding environment built on a language they call Solidity. Solidity is also a tool that's used in enterprise blockchain deployments. And, in fact, there's an open-source project that Intel has contributed to Hyperledger called Hyperledger Sawtooth. It happens to run Solidity contracts in an Ethereum virtual machine built into it, so it can interpret Ethereum code. So that's an area to work on: developing blockchain applications at the smart contract level. Another [way] is delivering hardware and software solutions to customers. The hardware solutions are in the process of getting built right now and [Hewlett Packard Enterprise] announced back in Q4 a relationship with R3 where they're running R3 Corda on HPE server systems, so that bundle has been already integrated and validated between the two companies and is available for sale today. It can work in the cloud as well. Amazon and Microsoft Azure and other cloud service providers, like Oracle, are all building blockchain-as-a-service environments for developers and putting a variety of tools in place to help developers get started. That's another place where solutions can get built and delivered for customers.

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