On Amazon, You Can Get Books, Baby Wipes, and Blockchain

Amazon Web Services announced today that its marketplace will offer private blockchain technology created by Kadena, a company spun out of JP Morgan’s blockchain development efforts. Kadena’s blockchain service boasts security and scalability, claiming to have supported up to 8,000 transactions per second across 500 nodes. For comparison, Ethereum can handle about 15 transactions per second, and bitcoin can take on about seven.

The technology is available for basically free on the AWS marketplace under the name “Kadena Blockchain for Enterprise, ScalableBFT: Community Edition” (though there’s an “estimated infrastructure cost” of $0.10 per hour for using Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud). It supports up to four nodes per user and 2,000 transactions per second, offering features like contract governance, trust-free escrows, and bug detection. The paid version (which you have to directly contact Kadena to use) will support more nodes and deliver on that maximum 8,000 transactions per second promise.

The new Kadena offering won’t be AWS’s first push into blockchain. In November at Amazon’s AWS re:Invest conference, the company announced Amazon’s Quantum Ledger Database (a blockchain-esque centralized ledger) and Amazon Managed Blockchain, an Amazon-owned interface layer that businesses can use to navigate their own blockchain networks. Kadena will not integrate with either of these products, Kadena CEO Will Martino told BREAKER. He’s more concerned with his company’s technology integrating with cloud application stacks such as Oracle, so as to better serve enterprises looking to integrate with “normal [aka, non-blockchain] databases.”

So why did the company decide to offer its product on the AWS marketplace? AWS had more than one million active enterprise customers at last public count, which was in 2017, and Amazon as a whole has millions more. Unsurprisingly, Kadena’s services are on Amazon for the adoption, Martino said. When asked who would be adopting Kadena now that it’s on AWS, however, Martino was a bit vague, citing the industries of some of their current clients (he believes insurance and healthcare will be the earliest users) and the general need for scalable, private blockchain solutions for enterprises.

At JP Morgan, the technology that preceded Kadena, called Juno, ran internal international payments between London and Tokyo through the U.S. “Banking was the first group to really try out blockchain technology and experiment with it,” said Martino, but he believes bankers will be “the last to adopt it.” Putting Kadena’s services on AWS gives other industries the chance to use this technology that might otherwise languish at banks.

Don’t let the admittedly boring nature of this announcement fool you. Amazon continues to shill more and more products every day, increasing its breadth to the point where it can name customers belonging to any demographic, in any vertical. If you can now buy your blockchains on Amazon, too, will people even remember the technology’s freeing promise of decentralization, especially when the best-known public blockchains have a lot less to offer in terms of scalability? Or will they forget that they could use open-source technology to create their blockchains, just like they’ve forgotten they can venture out to a physical store to buy toothbrushes?