IBM lays off 1,700 employees, blockchain division largely unaffected

IBM laid off 1,700 employees earlier this month, but the blockchain division was largely unscathed. According to a report by The Block, only a very tiny percentage of the company’s blockchain team was laid off, an indicator of the prominence the tech giant accords to blockchain technology.

IBM confirmed the layoffs, describing them as a necessary step in its bid to “align its focus on the high-value segments of the IT market.” However, the report revealed that not only had the company spared the blockchain team, it was also hiring aggressively to increase the team.

The report cited sources close to the blockchain team, with one of them stating, “The product team had no layoffs, there was nothing out of development. It was very limited on the blockchain side.”

The VP of IBM Blockchain Technology, Jerry Cuomo also confirmed the report stating, “Blockchain skills are the priority…And we’re full-steam ahead of blockchain. We plan to grow for a very long time.”

Cuomo however declined from revealing the extent to which the layoffs had affected the blockchain division.

The team wasn’t entirely spared, however. Sources revealed that some members of the blockchain team had also been laid off. These were primarily from the company’s blockchain consulting division. Coincidentally, this is its biggest income earner out of its three blockchain pillars. The blockchain engineering division remained unscathed by the layoffs. This is the division that’s in charge of IBM’s blockchain products including its partnership with Stellar, its Food Trust supply chain platform, its blockchain trade finance system and more.

The Big Blue is continuously hiring in the blockchain division, in line with its promise to “hire aggressively in critical new areas that deliver value for our clients and IBM.” Most of the positions, which have been advertised on online job boards, are in the engineering department.

IBM has been one of the biggest investors in the research and development of blockchain technology. According to a report by German IT firm IPlytics, the New York-based tech giant has filed the most family patents related to blockchain technology.

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