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Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy speaks at re:Invent 2018. (GeekWire Photo / Tom Krazit)

LAS VEGAS — Last year at re:Invent 2017, Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy questioned whether blockchain technology was really something that customers needed to have in their tech arsenal. One year later, he’s changed his tune.

Jassy unveiled Amazon Managed Blockchain on Wednesday during his re:Invent 2018 keynote. The new offering will allow customers that need secure and decentralized transaction processing to use a managed AWS blockchain service using either the Hyperledger Fabric or Ethereum protocols. Several other cloud and enterprise tech companies, such as IBM and Microsoft, have embraced blockchain for a while now as a novel method for solving supply chain issues as the cloud market leader took a wait-and-see approach.

“The culture inside AWS is that we don’t build things for optics,” Jassy said. However, after AWS was asked repeatedly about blockchain last year, Jassy said the company set out to try and figure out what customers actually were trying to solve with blockchain technology.

One of those problems — conducting transactions with centralized trust — AWS realized it had actually solved inside its own operation as part of a quest to log service transactions within its EC2 compute service. It now plans to make that service available to customers as a new database called Amazon Quantum Ledger Database.

As AWS engineer Tim Bray put it:

But when it came to another problem — secure decentralized transaction processing — AWS concluded that blockchain technology was actually the right solution, leading to the development of Amazon Managed Blockchain, Jassy said.

Specific details about the database and managed blockchain service were not immediately available, but will likely be released later on Wednesday at re:Invent, and we’ll update this post as those details come out.

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