At its InterConnect conference in Las Vegas this week, IBM is announcing new features for its open source cloud-hosted blockchain service in an attempt to bring this distributed database technology from its initial use of powering Bitcoin to a broader market, including the financial services industry.

Blockchain is a distributed database that maintains a continually growing list of records that can be verified using hashing techniques. Vendors such as IBM and Microsoft are attempting to commercialize it by offering customers a platform for hosting their own implementations. Analysts say the market to do so is just emerging.

IBM has supported blockchain implementations for more than a year, but this week the company is announcing a beta version 1.0 of its service, which is based off the open source Hyperledger Fabric – a Linux Foundation project. It’s available in IBM’s Bluemix Cloud. IBM says Hyperledger can process up to 1,000 transactions per second.

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