The Hyperledger Project was launched in December 2015 by the Linux Foundation. It isn’t a company, or a cryptocurrency, rather a collective hub for industrial blockchain development. So, instead of individual companies finding their own unique blockchain solutions, Hyperledger provides a cross-industry modular solution, under which businesses can customize blockchains for their specific needs.
- Open source and modular blockchain solutions
- Backing and coding from significant organizations
- Cryptocurrency speculation is a distraction to achieving its charter
- Strong team who believe in the benefits of community and open source technology
The original goal of Hyperledger was to create an open source distributed ledger framework that could apply across industries and hardware systems to support global transactions. With it, the Linux Foundation hopes to develop an ecosystem where developers and businesses come together to build blockchain frameworks.
Initially, membership consisted mostly of banks and IT companies. However, over time, more corporations caught wind of the idea, and now, its participants cover a wide range of industries, from logistics to healthcare, and even government, all of which have either contributed financially, or through coding and development. At present, the premier members include SAP, Baidu, Intel, Airbus, and Hitachi.
The Executive Director, Brian Behlendorf, announced early on in the history of Hyperledger that the project would not utilize a monetary unit to run the blockchains. This reasoning was grounded in the idea of focusing on building industrial applications of blockchain technology, and separating itself from speculative-mania, which is something that blights all currency based blockchains.
Whilst this is somewhat uninteresting from an investor’s perspective, this strategy clearly establishes what Hyperledger are all about – which is building a global movement that utilizes open-source software only.
Before Hyperledger came into existence, any business interested in blockchain had to come up with their own solutions. Hyperledger intends to bring to the fore an off the-shelf, but customizable, option that benefits from cross-industry collaboration. Their goal is to improve the performance and reliability of existing (blockchain) systems, but be accomplished enough to support the demands of global business transactions across a range of industries, including technology, healthcare, and supply-chain.
The project will assimilate independent open protocols and standards by way of a framework for use-specific modules, this includes blockchains with their own consensus and storage procedures, as well as provisions for identity, access control, and smart contracts.
Let’s talk more about the most significant frameworks.
Sawtooth – a Python based blockchain that runs decentralized distributed ledgers. It operates a new consensus appliance called Proof of Elapsed Time (PoET).
The PoET model sets out to distribute network mining rights in an impartial and random manner. It aims to eradicate the environmental impact of Proof of Work systems by utilizing a fair randomized approach, rather than rewarding the most powerful node.
Not only that, but Sawtooth also provides an immutable record of provenance and lineage, which when combined with the Internet of Things makes for a powerful supply chain solution.
Sawtooth has also been tested with a view to modernizing the financial industry. The developers have designed a UI to track and transfer bonds, with this, users can manage their entire bonds portfolio on the blockchain. This functionality has also been extended into managing digital assets.
Fabric – managed by IBM, Fabric offers an Ethereum base with modular architecture on top of which blockchain applications can be built. Under this system, there is a distinct demarcation of roles between the nodes in the infrastructure, execution of smart contracts, and configurable consensus and membership services. This allows for different components of blockchains to be offered as plug-and-play modules, meaning easily scaling regardless of individual requirements.
A Fabric Network is made up of:
Peer nodes – which execute smart contracts, access the ledger data, approve transactions, and interface with applications.
Orderer nodes – which provide consistency of the blockchain and deliver the approved transactions to the network peers, and authentication of transactions and membership.
Burrow – a permissioned smart contract virtual machine system developed using Ethereum.
Indy – a distributed ledger built for decentralized identities. It offers tools, libraries and reusable elements for managing independent digital identities. Instead of a Proof of Work solution, it uses blockchain-based identity solutions.
Iroha – a blockchain framework designed to be simple and easy to incorporate into infrastructure projects that require distributed ledger technology. Based on Fabric, but designed to account for the limiting factors of a mobile device.
Brian Behlendorf (Executive Director) – a Physics and Computer Science undergraduate, with experience as a technology advisor, most notably with the World Economic Forum. Brian is passionate about using open source technology to make positive societal change.
Daniela Barbosa (VP of Alliances) – educated in Information Science, Daniela has extensive experience in business development and client solutions. She gained leadership experience through her role at First Rain, a business analytics provider, and now, with Hyperledger, focuses on using data and analytics to grow both organically and through partner acquisitions.
David Boswell (Director of Ecosystem) – a Bachelors in Latin & History, David picked up coding experience during his first job, which involved building websites. Since then he has taken on IT project management, and demonstrated his capacity to build communities through open source technology.
Even though cryptocurrency and tokenization forms a major component of most blockchain projects, Hyperledger stands apart in its drive to concentrate solely on the underlying technology. Its open source backbone demonstrates an emphasis on community and collaboration, which when paired with the biggest and best in their respective fields, makes a potent formula for building high scale industrial blockchain applications.