Companies seeking to explore new digital currency alternatives beyond the BitCoin phenomenon now have an opportunity through Red Hat. The Linux giant is offering so-called blockchain support.

“Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) has already displayed commitment to the growing variety of blockchain solutions through its participation in the recently announced Hyperledger Project, an open governance project centered around advancing blockchain technology through an open, decentralized platform,” the Hatters said.

“Through this upstream work, Red Hat is contributing to the development of distributed ledger technology that is well-suited for a variety of industries including: finance; manufacturing; banking; insurance; and the Internet of Things.”

The new offering, Red Hat explained, is called the OpenShift Blockchain Initiative.

It is “designed to help financial services industry customers build hosted blockchain solutions, while Red Hat manages container application deployment and support through OpenShift Dedicated,” which Red Hat rolled out in December.

Noted Ashesh Badani, vice president and general manager of OpenShift at Red Hat:

“As enterprises begin to explore the use of blockchain application software, OpenShift Dedicated can provide a well-suited platform for a streamlined, more secure development environment. The hosted container application platform environment, combined with Red Hat’s support and enablement training, offers partners and developers interested in building blockchain applications greater confidence that they can move toward these cloud-based services.”

Earlier, Microsoft announced its own blockchain initiative, unveiling plans to work with a consortium of some 40 financial institutions to “develop, test and deploy blockchain technologies to modernize decades-old processes and streamline operations, potentially saving billions of dollars from back-office operations.”

Here’s how tech news site The Register describes blockchain:

“The blockchain is the underlying idea behind Bitcoin – an ever-growing database, or public ledger, that plots every transaction of the crypto currency, or presumably of anything else you’d care to record. While some of the hype around the crypto-currency itself has abated recently, the blockchain concept has garnered serious interest from financial players, tech companies and academics.”