Hyperledger, is a blockchain and DLT technology project promoted by the Linux Foundation, together with a huge and varied group of large technology companies that are interested in applying this technology in their different productive spaces, and thus improve security and trust of your processes.
Uno of the most relevant technology projects blockchain within the business world is Hyperledger, which is backed by the Linux Foundation. But what is it about this project that makes it so appealing to companies? What is its true potential to make blockchain an enterprise and industrial reach technology?
Hyperledger, a project to bring the blockchain to all industries
If we want to define Hyperledger in a simple way, perhaps the best sentence would be: "Blockchain for the business and industrial world", and that is precisely what HyperLedger aims to do.
This project was born from the effort of the Linux Foundation and several allied companies to create a collaborative development platform focused on blockchain technology and its potential industrial and business uses. This clearly aimed to create applicable technology in fields such as finance, banking, Internet of Things (IoT), supply chains, among others. And best of all: it was an open source effort where the building of this technology would be available to everyone.
The Linux Foundation unveiled this project in December 2015, and thanks to the initial push, by February 2016 it already had the support of companies and organizations such as Accenture, ANZ Bank, Cisco, CLS, Credits, Deutsche Börse, Digital Asset Holdings , DTCC, Fujitsu Limited, IC3, IBM, Intel, JP Morgan, London Stock Exchange Group, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), R3, State Street, SWIFT, VMware, and Wells Fargo. Without a doubt, the Linux Foundation proposal had caught on, and the industry's interest in the technology was gigantic.
By March 2016, the Board of Directors and the Technical Steering Committee were created for the Hyperledger project, in which the following participated:
President of the Technical Steering Committee: Chris Ferris, Distinguished Open Technology CTO and Engineer at IBM
Members of the Technical Steering Committee: Tamás Blummer, Digital Asset Holdings; Mic Bowman, Intel; Richard Brown, R3; Stanislav Liberman, CME Group; Hart Montgomery, Fujitsu; Satoshi Oshima, Hitachi; Stefan Teis, Deutsche Börse; Emmanuel Viale, Accenture; Pardha Vishnumolakala, DTCC; and David Voell, JP Morgan.
Chairman: Blythe Masters, CEO of Digital Asset Holdings
Members of the Governing Board: Charles Cascarilla, executive director of itBit; Toshiya Cho, Hitachi; Jerry Cuomo, IBM; Chris Ferris, IBM; Dirk Hohndel, Intel; Todd McDonald, co-founder and COO of R3; Robert Palatnick, DTCC; Kireeti Reddy, CME Group; Stefan Teis, Deutsche Börse; Dave Treat, Accenture; Yoshinobu Sawano, Fujitsu; Santiago Suárez, JP Morgan; and Craig Young, SWIFT CTO.
From then on, Hyperledger would continue its training process and the technology development phase would begin.
Blockchain projects with broad purposes
Hyperledger's main goal was not to create a blockchain with a currency and launch it to the crypto market. Its real objective is to design technologies that will take advantage of the structure that Bitcoin had brought, try to separate the currency and take advantage of the way of working of blockchain in other scenarios.
This was promoted as an opportunity to try to improve the efficiency of companies and industries in different settings. In other words, Hyperledger was a blockchain project agnostic to a specific use case, with broad purposes.
For example, one of the main uses where Hyperledger is proposed as a tool is in providing more secure solutions for finance and supply chain systems. For this, the companies that supported the project invested in research and development, and managed to create a framework capable of responding to these needs.
Today Hyperledger is one of the most used technologies to respond to these needs using blockchain. And not only that, it does so in an environment that can be public (like any blockchain), semi-public or private, demonstrating the elasticity of the platform to meet different needs.
But what projects were erected to achieve this feat? Well let's examine some of these projects and understand their impact on the world.
Hyperledger Fabric, the first Hyperledger project
Hyperledger's best-known project was fathered by the computing giant IBM and was christened Hyperledger Fabric. Fabric is designed to be a highly adaptable, scalable platform with great access and permission flexibility.
All these characteristics make it perfect to face situations of high data traffic, intensive and extensive use of access to information and above all, to adapt to customized developments necessary for the industry in its different branches.
Among the features of Hyperledger Fabric we can mention:
Its permission architecture works through unique cryptographic authorizations. Each permission can have granular access to the blockchain data, keeping access to the different parts of it in a controlled way.
Use a modular working architecture, so its capabilities can be adapted or expanded depending on the needs.
It is capable of using different consensus protocols, adapting them for security, speed or privacy as required.
These are very important characteristics to take into account in blockchain thought about interoperability, and more, if you want that interoperability with blockchain as important as Ethereum.
Of course, the development of Fabric has served for many companies to prove how blockchain technology can help improve their work processes. A good example is Accenture, who have used Fabric for their insurance and systems integration solutions with their Blockchain Integration Framework (currently Hyperledger Cactus).
On the other hand, IBM has used Fabric to offer its proprietary enterprise-level blockchain services, IBM Cloud Blockchain, including creations such as that of Trade Lens, a joint project carried out with the logistics giant Maersk.
A very similar situation has also happened with Microsoft, which uses Fabric and other Hyperledger projects for its blockchain cloud platforms.
Sawtooth, taking blockchain-hardware integration to a new level
One of the main problems with blockchain technology is its poor ability to scale today. This is a very serious problem when we think about taking this technology to spaces like the IoT, where we expect billions of devices to be connected at all times around the world and in real time. In those scenarios, the scalability of current blockchains is insufficient.
Faced with the problem, Intel took on the task of finding a solution that would integrate blockchain technology with the most powerful hardware it could produce, at an extreme level. The result of this work is Hyperledger Sawtooth, a project in which Intel achieved two great achievements
Create a consensus algorithm so fast that a single machine would be capable of processing hundreds of thousands of transactions per second. But not only that, the more powerful the machine, the more transactions per second it can make. And, if in addition, there are several connected machines, their power would multiply. This definitely leaves behind the scalability limitation of current blockchains. This consensus algorithm is called Test of Elapsed Time or Proof of Elapsed Time (PoET), an algorithm that we have already talked about in Bit2Me Academy.
Integrate this technology to the point of taking full advantage of the hardware where it runs, and more, if this hardware is Intel. Now what makes Sawtooth as fast as we just described?
Well, it is a consensus protocol that works in conjunction with the processor's instruction set, and is focused on performing verification operations using a simple cryptographic test executed by each CPU.
For this, PoET uses Intel's SGX and Enclave extensions to ensure that it can create a secure execution space and also perform cryptographic tests on that space. As everything is executed at the CPU level, these operations are fast, very fast, and in fact, their speed improves with respect to the potential of the CPUs and the available amount of them.
However, Sawtooth has a very high dependence on Intel hardware to accomplish these feats, and that leads to other very serious problems. Intel processors in recent years have presented a long list of silicon-level security problems that they have not been able to fix. In fact, one of its latest problems is capable of breaking the security of its secure enclave and the SGX instructions that PoET uses to perform its cryptographic tests, making this project something that cannot be publicly executed because it would be a target of the hackers.
Despite this, Sawtooth is a perfect project to be applied in controlled and private spaces, especially due to its other interesting features, among which we have:
It is possible to use different consensus protocols on the same blockchain. This is a unique feature of Sawtooth not seen in any other blockchain project.
It is the origin of the Proof-Of-Time (PoET) consensus protocol. This is a high-speed, low-latency protocol designed by Intel around the cryptographic technology provided by its processors.
It is possible to implement Ethereum smart contracts through integration with Hyperledger Burrow. Burrow is an integration platform designed to link Hyperledger projects with the Ethereum ecosystem.
Allows public (without permission) or private (with permission) execution. Without permission it can be used using another protocol than PoET.
It allows the parallel execution of transactions giving a higher performance. This is another unique feature of Sawtooth that is not present in other blockchains at the moment.
Iroha, DLT for the IoT
Another of Hyperledger's projects with greater differences with respect to its brothers is Hyperledger Iroha, and the reason is that this system is a DLT built from scratch from the ground up, moving a bit away from the concept of pure blockchain from the rest of the projects.
Iroha is designed to meet the computing needs of industrial spaces such as the IoT, financial systems or where information traffic is of a huge volume.
Of course, Iroha is not far behind its brothers in terms of speed and security, and the reason for this is very simple: Iroha is built in C ++, so processing speed, extensibility and stability are its most important points. powerful.
Among the main characteristics of Iroha we can mention:
It is focused on creating and managing custom fungible assets such as currencies, gold, etc.
It has an extensive system for managing user accounts and permissions in a granular way.
It allows the creation of a structure of accounts based on domains in the system, each one with its associated permissions.
It has a system of rights and verification of user permissions for the execution of transactions and queries in the system.
Creation of custom smart contracts with high execution speed.
These characteristics make it very clear that Iroha is designed for critical services and extremely high security spaces. But the most striking thing about the platform is its extensibility using smart contracts.
For this, the project has created the Iroha Special Instructions (ISI), which is a library with a series of programming primitives that are used to program smart contracts within Iroha.
As a result, Iroha is a highly scalable project. In fact, its current version 2 is capable of executing more than 20 thousand transactions per second, and the average confirmation time is 2 seconds.
How much do you know, cryptonuta?
Can HyperLedger technology be used in other cryptocurrency projects?
All HyperLedger technology is feasible to be used in other cryptocurrency projects because it is licensed under free software.
Its impact on the crypto world
The above three examples are the most significant within Hyperledger, but not the only ones. Thanks to being Open Source, a lot of collaborative thinking converges in it, where even the private sector (companies) have dedicated themselves to creating a huge number of blockchain interoperability tools that allow connecting the world of Hyperledger business blockchains, with other blockchains such as Ethereum or Bitcoin.
For example, the project Hyperledger Ursa is a tool designed to facilitate the creation of interoperability bridges between Hyperledger and other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum. It even has support for cryptocurrencies with a focus on privacy, such as Zcash, by being able to make use of cryptography ZKP (zero knowledge protocol).
Thanks to Ursa it is possible that a company that uses Fabric can create a bridge with these other blockchains and cryptocurrencies, and carry out operations without major difficulties.
Another example of the development of Hyperledger can be seen in Hyperledger GRID, a development designed to facilitate the interoperation of blockchains or DLTs designed to control supply chains.
Along with this, given the enormous range of options presented in Hyperledger, this project also has a series of control tools such as Hyperledger Cello, which could be defined as a “blockchain deployment orchestrator”, an extremely useful tool for cloud and Blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) environments.
Another important project is Hyperledger Besu, a consensus multiprotocol Ethereum client, which is capable of interacting with Ethereum and derived blockchains such as PoA or Quorum. One of the greats of the crypto industry, ConsenSys, a company closely linked to the Ethereum world, participates in this project.
All these tools make it clear that Hyperledger's goal is to create open and free tools that allow companies to stay on the evolutionary path of the blockchain, taking advantage of the best capabilities of this technology and applying them to their work environments.