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Amazon announces a pair of Blockchain services

29 November 2018 23:52

Amazon Quantum Ledger Database and Amazon Managed Blockchain can attract users, but the notion of managed blockchain will be contradictory in terms.

Yesterday, the online retail giant Amazon.com announced the development of two new blockchain services in an effort to offer customers a seemingly better way to store data and cut the cost of developing individual blockchain business platforms.

The Amazon Quantum Ledger database

Announced Wednesday, the Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB) aims to provide customers with a "transparent, immutable and cryptographically verifiable" ledger. Amazon states that customers will be able to use this ledger to develop applications that will provide them with a way to accurately record transactions made by multiple parties within a "centralized and reliable entity" using an immutable transaction log. For example, Smaato, an online advertising exchange, will use QLDB to create and maintain a record of all its auctions and create transparency from the beginning to the end.

According to the press release, QLDB is "serverless", which eliminates the need for customers to "provide capacity or configure read and write limits". Amazon says that all customers have to do is create a ledger and define their tables: the QLDB "will automatically scale to support application requests".

In addition, Amazon claims that by not requiring distributed consent, QLDB is able to process multiple transactions faster than many blockchain platforms and will be compatible with Amazon Managed Blockchain.

The managed Amazon Blockchain

With Amazon Managed Blockchain, the retail giant hopes to convince entrepreneurs who want to implement blockchain technology, but who do not want to accept the challenge and cost of setting up their own blockchain platform.

According to the press release, all customers have to choose their preferred infrastructure: Amazon Managed Blockchain supports both the Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric platforms – adds network participants and configures the member nodes responsible for transaction processing. After that, he says:

"Amazon Managed Blockchain takes care of everything else, creating a blockchain network that can span multiple units [Amazon Web Services] AWS account with multiple nodes per member and configuration of software, security and network settings. For an authorized network, Amazon Managed Blockchain protects and manages blockchain network certificates with the AWS key management service, eliminating the need for customers to set up their own secure key storage. "

In addition, Amazon claims that the new blockchain platform allows customers to easily replicate transactions from the blockchain and place them on the QLDB.

What is Amazon going to do with all this data?

One of the main ideas behind blockchain technology is giving individuals the true ownership and mastery of their data. This does not only apply to individuals, but also to companies. This data should not be owned or managed by a "centralized and reliable authority", such as Amazon. A managed blockchain, therefore, may seem a contradiction in terms.

The online retailer uses data provided freely by customers to market different products and services for people and, according to Amazon's Privacy Notice, shares customer data with affiliated companies not directly controlled by Amazon, service providers third-party companies and companies that offer some promotional offers.

ETHNews contacted Amazon with questions about how Amazon will process data stored on new platforms and whether such data could be used for marketing or financial gain. However, Amazon still has to answer our questions.

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