IBM announced a strategic partnership with China’s UnionPay Bank and a US$200 million investment in its Watson Internet of Things (IoT) headquarters to fund various Blockchain developments.

The multi-million Dollar investment in the company’s IoT research and development institute is a part of a larger global US$3 billion project, established to introduce a wider range of use cases in the field of Blockchain technology.

With the new capital, IBM’s Watson IoT business Global Head Harriet Green believes the company will be able to form relationships with Germany’s leading developers and financial institutions to test the efficiency of IoT-based platforms and applications.

Harriet Green stated:

“Germany is at the forefront of the Industry 4.0 initiative and by inviting our clients and partners to join us in Munich, we are opening up our talent and technologies to help deliver on the promise of IoT and establishing a global hotbed for collaborative innovation.”

Blockchain-based Loyalty Platform

In correlation to its IoT investment, IBM secured a partnership with major Chinese banking group UnionPay to build a loyalty platform on a Blockchain network.

Essentially, the IBM-Unionpay Blockchain-based loyalty platform is a cross-institutional network in which consumers can exchange loyalty or bonus points from any of the network’s registered banks rewards.

The majority of financial institutions and banks already offer loyalty programs based on credit card purchases to provide discounts to consumers that spend a certain amount of money on specific retail outlets or large-scale stores.

Variety of Loyalty Offers For Bank Consumers

Considering the wide range of loyalty systems being offered by banks today, consumers will enjoy a variety of loyalty-based discounts and offers without being committed to a single establishment.

For instance, if a HSBC credit card holder spent x amount of money and was eligible to receive 100 loyalty points in the cross-institutional Blockchain network, the user can avail promotional offers of their preference from other major banks in China such as UnionPay.

“The joint research efforts between China UnionPay E-payment Institute and IBM Research has enabled the successful exchange of bonus points among banks using Blockchain technology, which embeds trust into transactions,” stated Electronic Payment Research Institute of China UnionPay director He Shuo.

UnionPay's E-payment Research Institute and IBM have completed successful pilot tests of their joint Blockchain network with several Chinese financial institutions.