The Linux Foundation helps hyperledger build the fastest growing open source ecosystem for business blockchain technology
Blockchain technology powers distributed ledgers and smart contracts and gained initial prominence as the public networks behind cryptocurrencies. However, business applications of blockchains differ from what you’ll find in Bitcoin or Ethereum. Most enterprise blockchain applications are built on permissioned networks and rely on real world trust relationships, wherein the goal is to set up a set of participants in an ecosystem with the needed insurance that the boundaries are flexible enough to bring in more participants in the future.
Participants on a permissioned network are known to one another, and therefore have an intrinsic interest in participating in the consensus making process. This community of participants want to share data with a greater degree of security. Without needing to run proof of work mechanisms, they can resolve more immediate problems than on a public cryptocurrency blockchain. Blockchains can be used to record promises, trades, transactions or simply items we never want to disappear. Mirrored exactly across all nodes in a given network, it allows everyone in an ecosystem to keep a copy of the common system of record.
Nothing can ever be erased or edited. All businesses participating in a commercial ecosystem need a ledger to contain a record of transactions. It is vitally important to know that your copy of the ledger is identical to others’ in the network.
Delivering on the full promise of blockchain across industries and use cases requires openness, trust and common building blocks, all hallmarks of an open source, community development model. The economies of scale, transparency and shared infrastructure of a multi-vendor, multi-stakeholder approach has proven to be an optimal way to address enterprise scenarios with widely varied requirements for decentralization, trust, continuity, and confirmation times.
The Linux Foundation recognizes the importance of expanding blockchain and advancing it across many industries. In December 2015, Hyperledger was seeded with 21 founding members, some of whom had internal efforts that needed the kind of home that The Linux Foundation could provide.
Similar to the Linux Foundation, Hyperledger takes a modular, “greenhouse” approach to hosting projects. At the top level, the Linux Foundation and Hyperledger provide the infrastructure for open development to occur. This includes technical, legal, marketing, and organizational support.
Hyperledger’s greenhouse is made up of DLT platforms, tools and domain-specific projects as well the Hyperledger Labs. The overall strategy encourages developers to reuse common building blocks. There are currently 16 Hyperledger projects as well as more than 20 labs projects.
“The Linux Foundation has achieved an unbelievable feat in bringing together a community of traditionally competitive institutions. To facilitate such extensive collaboration between startups, financial and non financial corporations and technology giants is an enormous win for the whole distributed ledger industry as firms look to leverage mutually beneficial code for the common good.”
– Blythe Masters, CEO, Digital Asset
Five years later, Hyperledger is the fastest-growing consortium hosted by The Linux Foundation. Built under The Linux Foundation’s model of technical governance and open collaboration, individual developers, service and solution providers, government associations, academic and corporate members and end users are contributing in the development and deployment of blockchain technologies for business. Hyperledger brings together organizations and individuals across the globe, industry and competitive lines to establish protocols and standards that improve the performance and reliability of blockchain.
Hyperledger does not see there being one global chain to rule them all. Rather than driving all industries to convert to one chain, the project provides tools for businesses to build their own chains.
In this environment, Hyperledger serves as a trusted source of innovative, quality-driven open source software development, creating modular components and platforms. Hyperledger is incubating and promoting enterprise-grade, open source business blockchain technologies, on top of which anyone can develop and deploy solutions to meet their business needs. Additionally, to support the fast-growing adoption and deployment of its platforms, Hyperledger established a service provider certification program. To date, 20 companies from markets around the world have completed the rigorous process to become Hyperledger Certified Service Providers.
With common distributed ledger technologies that are shared, transparent and decentralized, the possibilities are endless. Much like the Apache web server project drove people to build their own websites, rather than encouraging everyone to just use one big site. The goal for the best-run open source projects isn’t just to solve some technical problem in an open way, but to be a long-term bedrock foundation for a software ecosystem. This is what the blockchain community needs today, and that’s why Hyperledger exists.
More than 200 member companies are backing Hyperledger, spanning several industries, including technology, financial services, manufacturing, supply chain, healthcare, real estate, and retail. Hyperledger’s global membership is balanced across North America, Asia Pacific, and Europe and the Middle East. More than one-quarter of the project’s members are based in China.