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How to get started with IBM Blockchain now (04/2020)

By Stephanie Wilkerson posted Thu October 15, 2020 11:13 AM


April 8, 2020 | Written by: Aishwarya Badanidiyoor

With the release of IBM Blockchain Platform 2.1.3, we have now expanded the platform’s capabilities towards greater network flexibility, security enhancements, enhanced developer experience and more.

As IBM Blockchain Platform continues to prove itself as an end-to-end solution for various use cases and industries, we’ve put together this guide to help you get started quickly and easily, no matter where you are in your blockchain journey. It will go into the tactical aspects of where and how to deploy networks, and also touch on some ways that IBM offers support to kickstart your journey.

Your first step is to figure out if you want to use the IBM Blockchain Platform on IBM Cloud or use our software to deploy in multicloud environments.

Deploy the IBM Blockchain Platform across multiple environments


IBM Blockchain Platform on IBM Cloud

If you are sticking to IBM Cloud, there are few options for you to try based on your unique needs.

“I want to try building blockchain networks for free”

Preview the IBM Blockchain Platform for free for 30 days when you link your IBM Blockchain Platform service instance to an IBM Cloud Kubernetes free cluster.

To get started:

  1. Go to the Catalog > Standard Plan.
  2. If you have not already, enter your credit card information (you will not be charged).
  3. Click on Create > Let’s Set Up.
  4. If you already have a free cluster, click on Next.
  5. If not, click Create an IBM Cloud Kubernetes Cluster > Free Cluster.
  6. Continue with the set-up process.
  7. Once you launch the console, use the sample network tutorial series to build your first network.

Please note that IBM Cloud will delete your Kubernetes cluster after 30 days and you cannot migrate any nodes or data from a free cluster to a paid cluster. Performance on free clusters is limited by throughput, storage and functionality.

“I want to quickly and easily build smart contracts for free”

The IBM Blockchain Platform VS Code Extension is free to use, contains tutorials and code samples, and is open source. Build smart contracts on an extension that is fully compatible with IBM Blockchain Platform and any Hyperledger Fabric network.

To get started:

  1. Install Visual Studio Code.
  2. Install the IBM Blockchain Platform Extension from the marketplace.
  3. Install your prerequisites — you can check which ones to install by pressing “Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + P and typing “prerequisites” to query your local machine.
  4. Learn how to develop smart contracts with the extension.
  5. Use our tutorial to develop smart contracts on the IBM Blockchain network you built.
  6. Get involved with Stack Overflow using the ibp-vscode-extension tag and contribute through

“I want to start building production-ready networks”

Follow the same steps as you would when trying the platform for free but this time, select at least a 4×16 IBM Kubernetes Services cluster with one worker node and one zone.

To get started:

  1. Use the sample tutorial series as a guide for best practices when building your networks.
  2. Go through our pricing documentation for guidance on elements of cost and total cost.
  3. Use our extended pricing scenarios for sample production level network resource and pricing requirements.
  4. Monitor your IKS resources and set up usage alerts and notifications with SysDig.
  5. Monitor your HLF component metrics by setting up Prometheus and Grafana for your network.


IBM Blockchain Platform for multicloud

If you are looking into leveraging IBM Blockchain Platform on other clouds or on-premises, keep reading!

“I want to try deploying blockchain networks on infrastructure of my choosing, for free”

Our IBM Cloud offering is a great place to start if you’re still exploring features of our platform, but if you would like the experience of setting up an instance of IBM Blockchain Platform on infrastructure of your choice, you can procure a license to do so for free for 90 days.

To get started:

  1. If you already are in contact with an IBM Blockchain representative, reach out to them for software trial access. If not, get in contact with an IBM representative.
  2. Remember that you are responsible for procuring the infrastructure for this trial experience.

“I am an IBM Business Partner and want to access the platform”

If you are a Business Partner who has purchased the Software Access Catalog, you will be entitled to the product.

To get started:

  1. Get an entitlement key from IBM Software Container Library.
  2. This can be utilized as password with userid = cp.
  3. Follow the standard instructions for install.

“I want to start building production-ready networks”

To get started:

  1. Purchase the product by contacting a representative who will help you with pricing plans, architectural decisions etc.
  2. Set up a Passport Advantage account if you don’t have one already.
  3. View or download .pdf Quick Start guide from Passport Advantage.
  4. Follow the Quick Start guide instructions.
  5. Access entitlement keys via IBM Container Software Library.
  6. Deploy IBM Blockchain Platform with our documentation.


IBM support and resources to kickstart your blockchain journey

  1. If you are a startup or Partner, please visit Startup with IBM or Build with IBM to see if you are eligible for one of these programs offering free trials, cloud credits, and other assistance.
  2. If you are a blockchain startup and/or have an application running on Hyperledger Fabric, you might be eligible for our six-week pro-bono digital mentorship program.
  3. IBM has partnered with Columbia University to provide an eight-week Accelerator Program to support early and late-stage blockchain startup founders.
  4. Read this blog post to learn more!

We hope this guide has been useful, and are excited to discover the exciting, industry-disrupting solutions you will be bringing to life with our platform!

How to get started with IBM Blockchain now

Aishwarya Badanidiyoor

Offering Manager, Blockchain Platform - IBM Cloud and Cognitive Software