Hyperledger is a community of software developers and technology enthusiasts who are building industry standards for blockchain frameworks and platforms. Their work is important because they’re the main group shepherding the blockchain industry into the mainstream and commercial adoption. The Hyperledger project is led by Executive Director Brian Behlendorf, who has decades of experience dating back to the original original Linux Foundation and Apache Foundation, as well as being a CTO of the World Economic Forum. So it’s not surprising that Hyperledger has been well received. Many of the top business and industry leaders have joined the project, including Accenture, Cisco, Fujitsu Limited, IBM, Intel, J.P. Morgan, and Wells Fargo. It has also attracted many of the top blockchain organizations.
Hyperledger’s technical steering committees ensure robustness and interoperability between these different technologies. The hope is that the cross-industry, open-source collaboration will advance blockchain technology and deliver billions in economic value by sharing the costs of research and development across many organizations. Hyperledger is identifying and addressing the important features and requirements missing from the blockchain technology ecosystem. It’s also fostering a cross-industry open standard for distributed ledgers and holding open space for developers to contribute to building better blockchain systems.
Hyperledger has a project life cycle similar to that of the Linux Foundation. A proposal is submitted and then the accepted proposals are brought into incubation. When a project has reached a stable state, it graduates and is moved into an active state. As of yet, all Hyperledger projects are in the proposal or incubation stage. Each of the projects is led by a large corporation or startup. For example, Fabric is led by IBM, Sawtooth by Intel, and Iroha by the startup Soramitsu.
The Iroha Project
Sawtooth Lake by Intel is another distributed ledger project in Hyperledger. It’s focused on being a highly modular platform for building new distributed ledgers for companies. Sawtooth Lake does not operate with a cryptocurrency. It maintains the security of the platform by allowing businesses to create private blockchains. These businesses running private blockchains then share the burden of computational requirements of the network. In its documentation, Sawtooth Lake states that this type of setup will ensure universal agreement on the state of the shared ledger.
Sawtooth Lake has taken the basic model of blockchains and turned it on its head. Most blockchains have three elements:
- A shared record of the current state of the blockchain
- A way of inputting new data
- A way of agreeing on that data
Sawtooth Lake merges the first two into a signal process they call a transaction family. This model is best in use cases where all the participating parties have a mutual benefit to having a correct record.