Exploring Two Key Hyperledger Projects

Rohan Pinto

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

Hyperledger’s Iroha project is building on the work completed in the Fabric project. It’s meant to complement Fabric, Sawtooth Lake, and the other projects under Hyperledger. Hyperledger added the Iroha project to incubation because the other projects didn’t have any infrastructure projects written in C++. Not having a C++ project severely limited how many people could benefit from the work on Hyperledger and the number of developers who could contribute to the project. In addition, most blockchain development at this point has been at the lowest infrastructure level, and there has been little to no development work on user interaction or mobile applications. Hyperledger believes that Iroha is necessary for the popularization of blockchain technology. This project fills the gap in the market by bringing in more developers and providing libraries for mobile user interface development. At the time of this writing, Iroha is a very new project and has not integrated with Fabric or Sawtooth Lake. Hyperledger has plans to expand functionality to work with the other blockchain projects soon. Its iOS, Android, and JavaScript libraries will provide supportive functions like digitally signing transactions. It will be very useful for commercial app development, and it will add new layers of security and business models only possible with blockchain technology.

Sawtooth lake

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.

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Meet the Author

Rohan Pinto

Co-founder of 1Kosmos

Rohan is the co-founder of 1Kosmos. He is a go-to security and identity management expert and the founder of several businesses that have made considerable advancements in blockchain and identity management.