Amazon, the company which is often compared to Bitcoin (as both had their prices spiking during a bubble and then fell later) has been upgrading its blockchain technology.
In late November, Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud computing arm of the company, has unveiled a new service that will let clients create their own cloud-based blockchain using Hyperledger Fabric or Ethereum as a basis.
The new product, Amazon Managed Blockchain, is way more impressive and ambitious than most of the partnerships that the company had with the likes of R3 and ConsenSys before. Now, Amazon has its own blockbuster product for the blockchain tech.
Rahul Pathak, the general manager for big data at Amazon Web Services, which will create and oversee the new project, has affirmed that Amazon knows that the blockchain is not a “panacea”, however, they believe that the technology is very suited for some specific things and they want to make a good product that can help the people who need it.
Another product, the Amazon Quantum Ledger Database, was also showed to the world. This is basically an immutable but centralized ledger. Amazon Managed Blockchain is the decentralized solution for the people who do not like the other product.
The most unique aspect of Amazon’s relationship with the blockchain is this “sense of pragmatism”, as described by Coindesk, which also reported on this story. Amazon knows that some companies simply do not need nor want a blockchain. They do not believe that the blockchain technology will change the world and decentralization will take over everything.
Amazon is simply offering choices for its clients. Do you want the blockchain? Great. You want another thing, then they got it, too.
The CEO Andy Jassy was one to affirm that most blockchains could easily be solved by normal databases. Because of this, the company’s focus is mostly on offering great products for each company’s needs. Both Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum will be used as a basis for the people eager to create their new blockchains on the program.
Partnerships With Blockchain Companies
Amazon recently had two important blockchain partnerships: with R3 and ConsenSys. While R3 offered the Corda blockchain technology to Amazon, which allowed customers from Amazon to develop decentralized apps on top of Corda, ConsenSys offered other products.
Another important partnership was made with a company called Kaleido, which also offered some blockchain solutions for Amazon. All the blockchain products were initially available at the workshop of AWS.
Despite the partnerships, though, the AWS team was 100% responsible for the development of this new product. It was the core team that developed everything, as the company decided that it was a better idea to have its own product (even if it is based on open source blockchain technology) than to depend so much on other companies.
Centralization And Lack Of Trust
While Amazon is offering what can certainly be considered a very solid product now, there are certainly centralization concerns among the clients, especially the ones that are long-time blockchain enthusiasts.
Blockchains are generally decentralized and, while the new product offered by Amazon certainly is, the company obviously does not have the “decentralized interests” of the community. Amazon is, after all, a very centralized company that follows the traditional model.
The company was also criticized for not letting the users operate nodes. This means that the nodes will be run by Amazon. While this makes things considerably easier for users who simply do not want the hassle of running the runes, it can make them too much centralized. Projects could also be hosted at AWS, but critics affirm that more decentralization might still be needed
In short, Amazon’s new product is actually very exciting and can bring interesting things to the table but it is also not decentralized enough in order to appease the most hardcore members of the community.