Hyperledger Sawtooth: A Milestone for Blockchain Technology
Sam Dean | 28 March 2018
Blockchain technology — which encompasses smart contracts and distributed ledgers — can be used to record promises, trades, and transactions of many types. Countless organizations, ranging from IBM to Wells Fargo and the London Stock Exchange Group are partnering to drive the technology forward, and The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project is an open source collaborative effort aimed at advancing cross-industry blockchain technologies. Recently, the project announced the arrival of Hyperledger Sawtooth 1.0, a major milestone for the Hyperledger community, which represents the second blockchain framework that has reached production-ready status.
In conjunction with the release, Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director, Hyperledger, and Dan Middleton, Intel’s Head of Technology, Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Program, hosted a webinar, titled “Hyperledger Sawtooth v1.0: Market Significance & Technical Overview.” The webinar is now available as a video replay (registration required).
“For us, version 1.0 is a very special milestone,” Behlendorf said. “It’s a signal to developers that this code is ready to be used in production environments with live digital assets. Anyone can use the code for free — it’s under an Apache license.”
Middleton noted where key resources for using Sawtooth reside and encouraged looking through the demonstrations and examples:
- Code: https://github.com/hyperledger/sawtooth-core
- Demos: https://sawtooth.hyperledger.org/examples/
- Documentation: https://sawtooth.hyperledger.org/docs/
He also delved into the design motivations for Sawtooth, and described how anyone can develop applications with it. “Blockchain is a new kind of database that is special in several ways,” he said. “It’s distributed, and is optimized for use in enterprises. We’re especially focused on use cases in enterprises for business-to-business scenarios. With Sawtooth we have focused on making sure that businesses can take this technology and efficiently replicate it across their networks. We have ensured that multiple companies can efficiently read and edit the same database. There are a whole lot of use cases out there, ranging from the financial sector to supply chain management to access control management that have this requirement.”
Middleton noted that, among other design motivations, Sawtooth is designed for use at scale. It is able to keep distributed ledgers distributed, able to keep contracts safe, and is easy to use. He highlighted many features, including: parallel execution, multi-language support, supply chain management, permissioning; and on-chain governance.
The Sawtooth announcement post delves into new features in more detail, highlighting the following:
- On-chain governance – Utilize smart contracts to vote on blockchain configuration settings.
- Advanced transaction execution engine – Process transactions in parallel to accelerate block creation and validation.
- Support for Ethereum – Run smart contracts and integrate with Ethereum tooling.
- Dynamic Consensus – Upgrade or swap the blockchain consensus protocol on the fly.
There are also plans to streamline performance and enhance privacy. Within the core, maintainers are looking to add consensus options for those planning to run small networks. On the privacy front, contributors are investigating both trusted execution and zero-knowledge cryptographic approaches.
The Hyperledger project incubates and promotes a range of business blockchain technologies, including distributed ledger frameworks, smart contract engines, client libraries, utility libraries, graphical interfaces, and sample applications. Case studies and training resources are available from Hyperledger.org.
Stay tuned for the next Hyperledger webinar coming up on April 17, 2018. In this presentation, Hyperledger’s Tracy Kuhrt and David Boswell will demystify the nine different Hyperledger projects and provide pointers on how to navigate the various frameworks.
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