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Developer Showcase: Richard Phillips

By | Blog

Next up in our Developer Showcase blog series is Richard Phillips. This blog series serves to highlight the work and motivations of developers, users and researchers collaborating on Hyperledger’s projects. Let’s see what he has to say!

What advice would you offer other technologists or developers interested in getting started working on blockchain? 

I would advise developers and others that are interested in blockchain tech to get some understanding of how blockchain and Hyperledger works. Afterwards take a look at what has been done with this great technology and how it’s been used so far.  Then explore different industries and avenues were you can really make some changes happen.

Richard Phillips, Developer

Give a bit of background on what you’re working on, and let us know what was it that made you want to get into blockchain?

Currently I’m working on an application that’s for animal buyers and breeders. This contract will have two alternate flows that sends the animal’s information to the vet’s office designated by buyer and to the buyer’s local authorities to register the animal. At time of purchase this contract will execute.  The idea behind this project is to add some censorship to animal breeding and purchase to limit cruel breeding practices and manage pet populations.

I saw blockchain as an opportunity for me to challenge myself & a way to challenge the status quo.

What do you think is most important for Hyperledger to focus on in the next year?

The most important aspect, I would have to say in 2018 for Hyperledger is to educate as many people as possible. To build a healthy ecosystem of developers to help create that infrastructure with larger tech companies to push change on how companies do business, banking, healthcare and security.

As Hyperledger’s incubated projects start maturing and hit 1.0s and beyond, what are the most interesting technologies, apps, or use cases coming out as a result from your perspective?

I’m really impressed with what Gem.co has done with their blockchain development in healthcare. I think they have made some really big strides and I’m exited to see how it can impact all of healthcare

What’s the one issue or problem you hope blockchain can solve?

Corruption, I wish to make our lives more transparent in everything that we do on a day to day.  

Where do you hope to see Hyperledger and/or blockchain in 5 years?

I hope to see Hyperledger and blockchain being utilize by every large retailer, manufacturer, bank and ordinary people.

What is the best piece of developer advice you’ve ever received?

“As a developer you create digital life, you alone have the power to conceive something that could change the world.”

 

Meet the Hyperledger Summer 2018 Interns Part 2

By | Blog, Hyperledger Composer, Hyperledger Fabric

We first announced the return of Hyperledger’s Summer Internship Program back in March. The program offers students one-on-one mentorship from some of the leading technologists in our community and builds their development portfolio with projects that will feed into the larger Hyperledger ecosystem. The students applied to work on an extensive line-up of internship projects proposed by our community mentors.

In case you missed the first post in this series, it included information about six of our interns. Today, we’d like to introduce the other six interns, see what they will be working on and help you get to know them a bit better. We asked each intern a few questions including:

  1. How did you first become interested in blockchain, and why are you excited to work on Hyperledger and your project in particular?
  2. How do you see blockchain technology evolving over the next five years?
  3. If there’s one or issue you hope blockchain can solve, what is it and why?

Let’s see what they had to say!

Daniel McSheehy

Pursuing a Bachelor’s in electrical engineering at the University of Texas

Hyperledger intern project: Hyperledger Fabric Chrome Extension

1. I was originally intrigued by Etherium and the possibilities of smart contracts. I worked on an Etherium game called EtherStocks based on these smart contracts. A user would use a chrome extension wallet called MetaMask that the website would detect and all the users assets and data would load. The user would never have to login and all the assets were safely stored in the user’s wallet. This is similar to my Hyperledger project, which is to build a chrome extension that can securely access the Fabric network and opt in to allow websites access to certain data. This could make Hyperledger Fabric more accessible but still very secure.

2. Before widespread adoption of blockchain, blockchain technology needs to be more scalable with reduced transaction costs and computational power. I predict there will also be advancements in permissioned blockchains such as Hyperledger Fabric that deal with security and storing sensitive information. Permissioned blockchains could then replace current IT infrastructures such as medical or supply chains.

3. In emerging countries, there is often a problem with a lack of stable currency and available capital. While obviously cryptocurrencies can replace unstable currencies, there’s also an opportunity for regulated blockchain crowdfunding. Startups in emerging countries could be offered funding from thousands of people all over the world. With smart contracts, these startups would be held accountable to continue to receive funding.

Shuo Wang

Pursuing a Master’s degree in computer science at Tsinghua University in China

Hyperledger intern project: Design Effective Operational Platform for Blockchain Management

1. I read the original paper on Bitcoin in 2016 and became attracted by its decentralized way to build trust. It is amazing to keep the whole system working without a centralized third party.

Hyperledger focuses on developing distributed ledgers among parties in an industry consortium. It aims at better performance and flexible smart contracts to support complex applications. I believe permissioned blockchain will change the business models of more and more industries, and Hyperledger is playing a leading role in that era of innovation. My internship project is for Hyperledger Cello, where I will be  building an operational platform to manage blockchain. I feel excited to work on Cello and help develop blockchain as a service.

2. Cryptocurrency has aroused great public interest in the last few years. More importantly, blockchain has introduced us to the philosophy of building decentralized trust, and we are exploring how it can change our lives in various aspects. In the next five years, I think blockchain will achieve higher transaction throughput with lower latency, which is currently a bottleneck to support business applications. Blockchain platforms will become more mature and secure so that companies will have the confidence to handle their business processes in blockchain. Based on this, more novel business models will come forth to change the world fundamentally, and I feel excited to be part of this process.

3. The supply chain is a great application scenario where blockchain can make a significant difference. Different parties in the supply chain share a distributed ledger of business transactions. Blockchain could make the whole process of supply chain more traceable and transparent. In addition, blockchain’s immutability helps the transaction records gain more trust from the financial institution. It is essential to the small and medium-sized enterprise because they could obtain more credit and more loans based on their business operation history in the blockchain.

Dixing Xu

Pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Information and Computing Sciences at the Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University

Hyperledger intern project: Hyperledger Fabric SDK-py

1. During my second year of university, I joined a research team and did some research on cryptocurrency trading with deep reinforcement learning [1]. Although it’s not necessary to learn the technology behind what you trade, I found the idea of decentralized currency fascinating and learned how to implement some test nets to play around with. Later, I participated in a hackathon, and our team used Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Composer to build a decentralized house-renting platform [2]. Hyperledger Fabric is very friendly for developers to build applications with a modular architecture. However, Hyperledger Fabric only supports Java & NodeJS SDK. So I want to help the community develop a Python SDK since Python is very popular among AI researchers and data scientists. I am really excited to see the interaction between the Hyperledger and the data science communities.

2. It is hard to tell where blockchain technology will lead to in five years since the technology is evolving very fast with many talented people are contributing. In my opinion, there will be more efficient algorithms to reach consensus balancing among speed, scalability and finality. More and more developers will get interested in developing DApps or writing smart contracts. I also see an exciting usage named “predictive smart contracts.” An example is GainForest [3], where the team use smart contracts to reward people for saving forestland  and neural networks to predict the deforestation for the area.The reward can be adjusted based on the risk determined by the prediction. Combined with blockchain and AI, the smart contracts formed strategic incentives from data. I think such applications that combine blockchain and other state-of-art technologies are very exciting and we will see more in the next five years.

3. I hope blockchain will solve the issue of inefficiency in value-based transactions and administration of central authority. With distributed ledgers, it is very easy to track records of all transactions and verify the validity of the transaction. There are several reasons for adopting blockchain technology. First, it can reduce the cost and simplify the logic. The ledger is not a new concept, but, with the openness of Internet and the security of cryptography, blockchain provides a faster and safer way to verify key information and establish trust. Last but not least, with smart contracts, one can easily build an autonomous system that improves the efficiency of verification and execution.

[1] Jiang, Zhengyao, Dixing Xu, and Jinjun Liang. “A Deep Reinforcement Learning Framework for the Financial Portfolio Management Problem.” arXiv preprint arXiv:1706.10059(2017).

[2] “DSharing” hackx.org, www.hackx.org/projects/169

[3] Dao, David. “Predictive Smart Contracts” Medium, 23 Nov. 2017, medium.com/@daviddao/predictive-smart-contracts-dc15b9986d8c.

Roger (Meng Kang) Hsieh

Pursuing a Masters degree in management information systems at National Chengchi University in Taiwan

Hyperledger Intern Project: Utilizing Hyperledger Fabric to Develop Supply Chain Application

1. At first, I heard about blockchain and Bitcoin from my friends. I didn’t know much about them. But then the price of Bitcoin grew and grew, and I started to get interested. This is the first time I am studying blockchain. My lab focus has been on fintech. I study deep learning and distributed computation. But we found that we need blockchain to verify whether our prediction results are worthy of trust. So I devoted myself to blockchain. I found Hyperledger Fabric to have many advantages like that it is open source and has a unique mechanism. I am looking forward to building a blockchain application. I am excited to work on my supply chain project. I hope I can succeed in building the project and making myself more proficient in technological and English speaking skills.

2. Blockchain is very important. It can make record immutable and can be anonymous or published. So I think blockchain will become an industry infrastructure norm like the internet. As long as the threshold is  easier. It can be easy to deploy on a server and easy to develop an application. Hyperledger, Ethereum … and so on will compete to become leaders of blockchain industry. Like iOS, Android and Windows.

3. I hope blockchain can accomplish financial information transparency. I hope it can make the government become more efficient and reduce corruption. And make supply chain information open to everyone so farmers, workers and the poor can get what they should get. With smart contracts, we can offer donations and scholarships when the right conditions are achieved. With blockchain we can make the world better.

Ugobame Uchibeke

Pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in computer Science and psychology at University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Hyperledger intern project: Hyperledger Composer Modelling Tools

1. My interest in blockchain was sparked by a meetup I attended in Toronto in the spring of 2017. I was amazed by the potentials of blockchain as demonstrated by a sample coffee seller and grower blockchain network. The talk and demo inspired me to learn more about the technology and start exploring platforms that are built on it. Around the same time, I got a offer to work at the Royal Bank of Canada in the Amplify Program with 54 other students from three countries who were brought into the bank to solve some of the bank’s biggest challenges using the latest and greatest technology. My project used Hyperledger, and we won two  of four awards and $25,000. We also filled a provisional patent. After this, I was hooked. I then went on to do some more blockchain work and wrote a research paper to be presented in the 2018 IEEE International Conference on Blockchain.

2. The original paper by Satoshi was for a network that was truly open and decentralized. This is good for many use cases like for Bitcoin and some cryptocurrencies. However, blockchain technology, the engine driving these cryptocurrencies, has more potential and can change the way we do business by digitally enabling more entreprises to be more robust, secure and profitable. In the next f ive years, I see private and permissioned blockchains being used by many companies to streamline their processes, enhance auditability and compliance, provide transparency and modernize security. For me, this is one of blockchain’s greatest potentials, and Hyperledger is at the forefront of this technological shift and disruption.

3. The fashion industry is full of many innovative and creative people who come up with ideas and design new clothes and trends. Sadly, they often do not get credit for for their work or they have the design copied by large fashion companies. A recent case was a shirt designed by Word, a woman-owned branding agency, to raise money for planned parenthood. Their design was later stolen and mass-produced by Forever21, the big fast-fashion brand. This is sad and I think something can be done about it. I would like to see us being able to store, verify, transfer, revoke and contest our rights to a design on the blockchain. I am passionate about this because my mother was a fashion designer who started with less than $5 and grew her business to many states in Nigeria, trained and sponsored more than 100 women, and came up with new ways to design clothes but did not get credit for her work. It’s personal for me and I would like to see upcoming fashion designers get credit for their work. I am looking forward to a time when we can do this on a blockchain network, and I am eager to continue learning and contributing to the advancement of blockchain technology.

Martin Martinez

A PhD student studying distributed systems, security in IoT and blockchain-related systems at the University of Southern California

Hyperledger intern project: Simulating Hyperledger Networks with Shadow

1. The first time I heard about a blockchain-related system was actually when I found out about Bitcoin. A few years ago, my curiosity led me to search around the web for information about how governments, organizations and even hackers could eventually track any individual who had Internet access. While reading about identity protection and how computer networks work, I came across Tor and how this system makes it more difficult to trace a user in the network. Additionally, I found out that, in order to make online transactions untraceable, users used a cryptocurrency called Bitcoin in this platform. Then, five  years later, my advisor started a blockchain class at my university, and I found out blockchain was the technology behind Bitcoin. The class involved multiple reading assignments about developments that shaped the blockchain landscape, which made me aware of the endless possibilities of this technology. Because of this, and after reading the paper written by Satoshi Nakamoto, I learn that blockchain as a technology had a bright future in lots of different applications.

Particularly, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work on my project, which involves the use of the Shadow network simulation tool currently used by Bitcoin and Tor deployments but not yet for Hyperledger. I believe there is a vast potential for what currently Hyperledger can offer, and I am looking forward to working with David, my mentor, and the rest of The Linux Foundation community to integrate the Shadow tool as a viable solution for simulating and assessing the performance of blockchain deployments in Hyperledger networks.

2. Similar to Satoshi Nakamoto, I believe that blockchain is not just the technology behind Bitcoin but a large-scale platform that will enable advancements in other fields. As a result, I can see advancements empowered by blockchain in fields such as storage (guaranteed immutability and protection of data), supply chain (quality verification of the goods) and even data mining (aggregation and distribution of the training data set). Over the next five years, more and more industries will embrace blockchain due to its properties and, in the long run, this will benefit society as well.

3. I am from Peru and I can see how the agricultural industry is still one of our strongest sources of income. However, at the same time, I consider that sometimes bigger companies take advantage of the small farmers by buying those supplies at a lower rate than what the market has to offer. Therefore, if these farmers could empower their product by showing their high quality and checking this information in a inmutable and distributed way, which is where blockchain can help, this will force bigger companies to offer a fair price for them. It can also help these companies keep track of the quality and ensure and show it to the end customers. Another problem that I see that my country sometimes faces is in the healthcare industry. Sometimes, health records for every patient are not provided during a transfer  from one clinic or hospital to another. This lack of information causes delays or even a bad diagnosis due to missing documentation of previous symptoms. Therefore, I believe blockchain and its immutability property could help patients to be able to transfer all their information between organizations while saving time and, sometimes, saving lives.

That’s it for all of our interns this summer! We look forward to seeing all that they can contribute to the Hyperledger community.

We hope you join them in the effort by contributing to Hyperledger projects. You can plug into the Hyperledger community at github, Rocket.Chat the wiki or our mailing list. As always, you can keep up with what’s new with Hyperledger on Twitter or email us with any questions: info@hyperledger.org.

 

How Blockchain is Reinventing Business Process Management

By | Blog

Guest post: Jesse Chenard, CEO, MonetaGo

When the general population is asked about blockchain, their understanding is often limited to Bitcoin and possibly other tokens. From there, they may associate blockchain with payments. Those with a more sophisticated understanding may understand the concepts of executing logic on a distributed ledger or distributed application platform. However, we know from experience that implementing blockchain within enterprise in the next year or two will likely not be a glitzy process, especially within heavily regulated environments.

One of Blockchain’s best fits in financial services is as a communication layer for Business Process Management (BPM). By leveraging smart contracts and the auditability of distributed ledger technologies, blockchain can facilitate processes involving multiple parties following specific regulatory guidelines. In these scenarios, the technology is being used primarily as a way to share documentation, communicate information, and track different states of transactions. Integration of these systems with existing workflows and back offices provides better visibility among all participants. It is not about pushing everyone to adopt a whole new platform. Instead, it is about enabling simple integration of legacy infrastructure  into new networks which are able to provide improved functionality. This is how blockchain technology based on Hyperledger Fabric is used among competing Indian factoring exchanges to securely and confidentially share information which reduces fraud around receivables financing.  

If blockchain technology provides value in BPM, how is it different than the BPM solutions and services available today? BPM is not new. Traditional BPM services that do workflow management have been around for decades. The difference, however, is that traditional BMP services tend to handle internal workflows within a single organization only. They do not manage the workflow process and information across organizations. If they do, they fall into the same trap that blockchain is helping to move away from, which is having a centralized repository of information controlled by a third party (in this case, the business process or workflow provider). If a third party holds data and is responsible for passing it from one organization to another, there is a risk of resiliency problems that come with that central or single point of failure.

Blockchain technology allows for the creation of a peer-to-peer BPM system that eliminates the central repository of information and allows multiple corporations to exchange information directly with counterparties while guaranteeing the integrity of the process. The system allows for organizations to verify and enforce that specific steps are being taken and performed correctly by any party on the network. This is essential when dealing with regulated transactions that require specific guideline compliance. With blockchain systems, one can code guidelines into smart contracts, and the verification of a party conforming with those guidelines can then be performed by a counterparty as well. As a result, everyone can enforce the rules on everyone else and ensure that the correct steps are being taken throughout these workflows. This is real-time auditing that provides assurances to counterparties that corners are not being cut.

Additionally, allowing the participants and counterparties to maintain control of their own data is another important benefit of using a blockchain for BPM. Even though participating organizations have enforced rules upon them by the network, they still maintain control of their data rather than a third party.

Along these lines, another BPM-related problem that blockchain technology can solve is internal fraud. Consider the recent BNP fraud where a sophisticated and long-running scheme disguising billions of dollars in financial transactions was perpetrated in violation of American sanctions against Sudan, Iran and Cuba. From a risk perspective, a blockchain network enforces transaction rules on a party’s own employees so that they cannot misbehave and circumvent rules and regulations.

What types of organizations today stand to benefit from incorporating blockchain as a communications layer to do BPM? Any over the counter (OTC) transactions which are off-exchange can benefit from a distributed ledger network. Example OTC transactions include loans, swaps, and bank guarantees. Basically, transactions where one person or party is dealing directly with another person or party with no intermediary.

While saying blockchain technology as a communication layer for Business Process Management is a promising use case, it is by no means an out of the box solution – a lot depends on the actual workflow, the use case, and the local laws and regulations. There are a number of different choices based on the varying inputs. However, if blockchain can provide an auditing source among multiple parties for sharing documentation, communicating information, and tracking different states of transactions – all without having to hand over data to a third party – it may just be the beginning of major change in the Business Process Management market.

(6.7.18) CoinDesk: Software Giant SAP Launches Blockchain-as-a-Service Platform

By | Hyperledger Fabric, News

Multinational enterprise software giant SAP has launched a cloud platform that is dedicated to helping corporates develop blockchain applications.

Announced during an SAP event Wednesday, the cloud-based solution aims to provide enterprises with a framework to build business applications on top of blockchain systems such as Hyperledger Fabric, the blockchain platform launched by the Linux Foundation, of which SAP is also a contributor.

More here.

LocalTrail Takes On Farm-to-Table Supply Chain with Hyperledger Fabric and Composer

By | Blog, Events, Hyperledger Composer, Hyperledger Fabric

With the goal of highlighting the value of blockchain beyond payments and digital currency, the Consensus 2018 Building Blocks Hackathon challenged teams of developers to tap into the robust programming capabilities of technologies to build applications with use cases in industries ranging from capital markets trading, food supply chain, digital rights management, new peer-to-peer insurance models, and the internet of things. Participants were able to build on top of any blockchain protocol including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Hyperledger etc.

The Winning Team: Localtrail

The process of establishing a data trail of the food from farm-to-warehouse-to-market-to-retailer is very manual and incentivizes dishonest behavior. There is no effective way of trustlessly knowing if food is coming from the place that retailers say it is. The team behind LocalTrail, Rachel Black, Paco Garcia, Saif Abu Hashish, Piers Powlesland and Kevin Kim took on the challenge of providing transparency in the food and dairy supply chain. They’re aim was to make it possible to track the provenance of groceries and meals, as they reach the consumers’ plate. The end result was Localtrail, a community-first, transparent blockchain solution that tracks produce from farm to supply center to the end user, bringing accountability and trust to the farm-to-fork social movement.

Pictured left to right: Brian Behlendorf, Rachel Black, Paco Garcia, Piers Powelesland, Saif Abu Hashish, Kevin Kim and Tracy Kuhrt

To build the solution, the team used Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Composer and Tieron’s Chainpoint Node API. They coded in React Native and JavaScript.

According to Piers Powlesland and Rachel Black from the Localtrail team:

“Given the task of providing a supply chain system that would connect many small businesses we wanted to minimise the need for expensive infrastructure, and since the target sector was agricultural we also wanted to provide a system that would be easy to learn and use for non technical people. Consequently we decided to make the system available via a mobile app due to the ubiquity of mobile devices and people’s familiarity with them. We used react-native to build the app so that we could target both Android and iOS with a single app, and also have the option of turning it into a desktop web-app with minimal adjustments.”

“For the server-side blockchain implementation we chose Hyperledger Composer. Its user friendly graphical interface, allowed us to dive in and get started straight away, and its modeling language mapped well to our problem domain. It also helped a lot that the perishable-network sample project demonstrated a system very similar to the one we wanted to create. Furthermore Composer’s ability to automatically generate a REST api from a contract, meant that integration with our react native front end was a straightforward and familiar process.”

The Value Chain for Localtrail

The users of the Localtrail application include farmers, who grow the food, package it, and enter data; warehouse employees, who scan, perform QA check and ship to a market; market employees, who scan and perform QA check and sell to retailers; retailers, who scan and perform QA check, and serve food to end consumers; and the end consumers, who view the data from the process.

Congrats to the Localtrail team for creating an application that showed the power blockchain can provide within the food supply chain by improving transparency and trackability. We’re excited to see where they take this application. You can get the Localtrail code at https://github.com/piersy/LocalTrailHyperledgerComposer and https://github.com/rachelyoti/food-app-front-end.

You can also plug into the Hyperledger community at github, Rocket.Chat the wiki or our mailing list. As always, you can keep up with what’s new with Hyperledger on Twitter or email us with any questions: info@hyperledger.org.

Developer Showcase Series: Seth Cohn

By | Blog

Our Developer Showcase blog series returns! This time, we chatted with Seth Cohn about his interest in blockchain and Hyperledger. A quick reminder that this blog series serves to highlight the work and motivations of developers, users and researchers collaborating on Hyperledger’s incubated projects. Let’s see what Seth has to say!

What advice would you offer other technologists or developers interested in getting started working on blockchain?

To start, get your head out of the Bitcoin, so to speak, and recognize that the blockchain is not synonymous with cryptocurrencies, but instead is a technology that supports decentralized verification and accounting. Taking the EdX course ‘Blockchain for Business – An Introduction to Hyperledger Technologies’ is an excellent way to acquaint yourself with distributed ledgers and blockchain technologies being developed by business leaders and poised to have a tremendous impact on the business environment.

Seth Cohn, a consultant and financial analyst

What is the best piece of developer advice you’ve ever received?

The best piece of advice in regards to technology as a whole is to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” For a Type A CPA like myself, it gives tremendous comfort to hear the explicit ability to work with the unknown and pursue the gray area. My first real coding language was Python and so I try to think of coding and software development in a Pythonic sense; being readable, adaptable, scalable, approachable, and ultimately simple. Software products that focus on complexity are not necessarily efficient or effective and certainly are not scalable to a new age of business leaders. Instead, we need to make software and technology as accessible as possible with the intention of encouraging adaptability, scalability, and most importantly approachability within the business community.  

What do you think is most important for Hyperledger to focus on in the next year?

The Linux Foundation is doing a wonderful job at gathering a group of industry leaders, but we also need accountants of all ranks to understand the technology and benefit of blockchains and distributed ledgers, and be aware of the technological innovations affecting our industry. I was recently at an accounting conference and as the topic steered towards blockchains it became immediately evident that a large portion of the room didn’t know anything about blockchains. Even as professionals become aware of the technology, there needs to be opportunities for people to get actively involved, especially millennials who will place a special importance on being able to steer the future of the profession. Overall, for the next year, we need to focus on awareness and ensuring opportunities to get involved.

What technology could you not live without?

Excel.  There are so many incredible advancements to the world of technology, but as of yet, nothing offers me the fluidity and ubiquitousness of Excel. Excel works like a piece of scratch paper for me – I can use it just to start scribing down ideas, analyzing equations, etc. In fact, I think any accounting based software that intends to be widely accepted should incorporate aspects of Excel because it is so approachable for CPAs and accountants that otherwise would reject unknown technology.

** Seth is a consultant and financial analyst who enjoys writing from the perspective of the CPA profession and our interpretation of blockchains as it affects work in both financial accounting and other areas of traditional CPA attestation work.

Meet the Hyperledger Summer 2018 Interns Part 1

By | Blog, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Indy, Hyperledger Iroha

Back in March, we announced the return of Hyperledger’s Summer Internship Program. This year, we have 12 interns, which is more than double what we had last year! We’re very proud of this program, as it offers students one-on-one mentorship from some of the leading technologists in our community, as well as it builds their development portfolio of projects that will feed into the larger Hyperledger ecosystem. The students applied to work on an extensive line-up of internship projects proposed by our community mentors.

Today, we’d like to introduce six of the 12 interns, provide information on what they will work on and help you get to know them a bit better. We asked each intern a few questions including:

  1. How did you first become interested in blockchain, and why are you excited to work on Hyperledger and your project in particular?
  2. How do you see blockchain technology evolving over the next five years?
  3. If there’s one or issue you hope blockchain can solve, what is it and why?

Let’s see what they had to say!

Amar Singh

Pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Math and Computer Science at the University of Virginia

Hyperledger intern project: Algorithmic Dispute Resolution in Construction

  1. A few years ago, a good friend of mine told me that the next iteration of the internet was coming and it was going to be decentralized. At the time, we were both taking a class on internet protocols and had recently attended a lecture on the OSI model (a conceptual model for understanding the different layers for dot com internet protocols). A breakdown of the model revealed inefficiencies due to centralization (for example, the control of domain names), but we had been taught that these inefficiencies were necessary due to the economies of scale of technology companies. The possibility of a new system designed to solve these inefficiencies piqued my interest. After a few months of reading, I decided to fully commit myself to studying blockchain protocols. Since I went down the crypto rabbit hole, I have been impressed by the pace of progress in this space and the quality of output. After spending the past two semesters researching blockchain protocols at the University of Virginia, I was drawn to Hyperledger because of its emphasis on designing modular and interoperable blockchain solutions. Hyperledger’s architecture emphasizes a separation of the blockchain components, thereby enabling developers to build flexible blockchain applications that can easily interface between different consensus protocols, data storage modules, and communication patterns. For my project, I will construct an off-chain dispute resolution framework that leverages Hyperledger’s modular approach. I am especially excited to dive into Hyperledger’s architecture and explore the ways by which applications can optimize performance-security tradeoffs by incorporating a diverse set of tools/frameworks.
  2. Over the next 3-5 years, I expect the internet’s current structure to be overhauled and replaced by blockchain protocols. As brilliant teams around the world continue to collaborate and develop at an impressive pace, I expect that many of the problems that prevent the viability of blockchain solutions will be solved (e.g.., scalability, privacy, custody, UX). I am optimistic about the future of this space and excited to start contributing.
  3. Today, search engines like Google and social media giants like Facebook maintain an overwhelming amount of power and influence over the rest of the world. Even so, many people undervalue privacy as a basic human right, but I expect this to change over the next few years. There’s a Snowden quote that comes to mind: “Arguing that you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is like arguing that you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.” I believe that advances in homomorphic encryption and multi-party computation coupled with blockchain innovation will provide liberation in the form of increased privacy.

Arijit Sen

Pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the Apex Institute Of Technology in Bhubanshwar, India

Hyperledger intern project: Python Library for Hyperledger – Iroha

  1. I came across the concept of blockchain in my college. I found myself attracted to the whole concept of a decentralized system that is void of any 3rd party interference. I am really excited to work on Hyperledger since it addresses some critical business issues regarding blockchain. Also compared to other blockchain ecosystem platforms, Hyperledger had a smaller learning curve.
  2. Blockchain has already taken the technology world by storm. I am pretty sure that we will be seeing most of the current technology stacks shifted to blockchain. However, I am concerned regarding an uncontrolled blockchain system. Just imagine a scenario getting a perfect AI agent, powered to thrive over blockchain and letting him learn and work as much as he can. Maybe he will just develop himself as an unstoppable entity since there is no single server or database to hold him. Too much fiction? Well I doubt it. The growth on both AI and blockchain is exponential. I won’t be surprised if something like that happens.
  3. Blockchain can solve a lot of issues in the world. Just imagine a legal evidence system where all the legal documents and evidence can be put into a secure blockchain platform. Not even the wealthiest criminals could tamper with the evidence or forensic findings. It could power an unbiased law and order system. Or an unbiased voting system where no party can do any discrepancies during the election. Or it could secure payment transaction for overseas without any 3rd party interference. Blockchain opens up a thousand possibilities.

Kuzma Leshakov

Pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at Innopolis University

Hyperledger intern project: Hyperledger Identity WG Onboarding and Auth

  1. The first time I became interested in blockchain was couple of years ago when I heard about the decentralization concept and its implementations in Bitcoin and Ethereum. I am excited to work on the Hyperledger because of the following opportunities:
  • to work closely with community experts and developers to learn the open-source culture and skills
  • to advance knowledge in the distributed ledger design and one of its form, the blockchain
  • to get a teamwork experience with distributed, international colleagues

The project I chose is Hyperledger Indy, a distributed ledger purpose-built for decentralized identity. This project allows getting both practical and theoretical experience in blockchain development under the supervision of leading field experts. In particular:

  • to master skills in both Python and Rust programming languages, cryptography
  • to become familiar with the concept of Decentralized Identifiers (DID) and implement applications using it
  • to learn up-to-date software production techniques
  • to advance in creating and using tests as a professional developer
  • to get code reviews and advices on the best practices of documenting and structuring code

Throughout the internship, I will be making important contributions to the Hyperledger community, the Indy codebase, and the entire decentralized identity ecosystem. It will be an important step for me on becoming a professional software engineer.

2. I see blockchain technology becoming significantly used by public institutions (e.g., banks, universities). Also, I hope it will become more user-friendly and, as a result, more people will get involved in its development. Besides, some improvements should be made in blockchain-based systems (e.g., Bitcoin, Ethereum) with respect to its logs storage, which already takes a significant amount of memory.

3. One issue I hope blockchain can solve is a decentralized identity. Today’s main identification method requires users to login into every application (e.g., Facebook, Amazon) they interact with. Therefore, each user has dozens of login/password sets to remember (which also should be changed periodically). It is important to have a single and decentralized identity, as it will increase user’s security and user’s experience.

A V Lakshmy

Pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering at IIT Madras in India

Hyperledger intern project: Extended Support for EVM and and Tooling in Hyperledger Fabric

  1. I am an undergraduate student in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras), India. Being a Computer Science student, I like to keep learning about new technologies. I first learned about blockchains by reading about Bitcoin, and other blockchain platforms, in newspapers, magazines, and on the Internet. I was amazed at the way blockchains could utilize distributed ledgers to eliminate the need for trusting third-parties in transactions! More recently, my uncle told me about the Hyperledger Summer Internship Program. I viewed this as a great opportunity to work on a project relating to blockchain technology, the talk of the town these days! During this internship, I am going to be working on a small portion of the integration of EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) into Hyperledger Fabric. This project has really interested me because I will get to learn about two different blockchain platforms, Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum, and understand their similarities and differences. Moreover, this is the first time I will be engaging in open source development, and I am pretty sure this will be a great learning experience for me!
  2. Blockchains have the potential to completely change the way businesses, governments and societies function. I envisage a future where money-related transactions will be carried out in real time using blockchains. Tracking the movement of goods in the supply chain will become completely transparent. Each person will have a unique digital ID on the blockchain, which can be used not only for authentication on a global scale, but also to keep personal information safe and secure. But, in order to live up to its potential, blockchain technology will have to deal with challenges such as scalability, regulations, and so on. To incorporate blockchain technology into their current legacy framework, companies will have to do a complete revamp,  which will obviously be very expensive. For widespread acceptance of blockchains, a change in mindset of the public will also be required. If we are able to come up with ways to deal with these problems, blockchains will surely revolutionise the world!
  3. In today’s world, there is a lot of corruption in business transactions. Bribing and under-the-table dealings have become very common. Many times, people who are supposed to receive money don’t actually receive it, as it is pocketed by some middle-man. Blockchains provide a distributed ledger to store information about transactions in a tamper-proof manner. So, blockchains can be incorporated into businesses, making all transactions completely transparent. Every transaction can be seen publicly, which will discourage people from taking bribes, or pocketing others’ money. And, wrongdoers cannot try to cover up their shady transactions by trying to change the contents of the ledger, as they will surely be caught by others on the blockchain during the verification process. Thus, I feel, blockchains may be an effective way to curb corruption!

Ahmad Zafar

Pursuing a Masters degree in Computer Science at Information Technology University in Pakistan

Hyperledger Intern Project: Running Solidity Smart Contracts on Hyperledger Fabric or Vice Versa

  1. After completing my Bachelor degree in computer science, I started working in the industry for almost two years. But my future plan was something else. I wanted to do research in different fields of computer science. I explored different things, which are exclusively demanding related to my field. The specific field that attracts me a lot is blockchain. After discussing with fellow teachers in Information Technology University, I learned about the opportunity to be a Research Associate, working on blockchain technology. It was a great pleasure for me to work on my desired direction. Here I started my research on Hyperledger Fabric, in which I explore many things. My aim is to learn to write smart contracts in an efficient way, so that I can deploy applications on Hyperledger Fabric. The project that I selected enabled me to enhance my skills related to it.
  2. In my country, Pakistan, most of the people involved in the computer science field do not know about blockchain. Until a few months ago, most of the people considered Bitcoin as blockchain. Many think that blockchain is only used for cryptocurrencies. But the truth is, blockchain can deal with storing and transmitting information, automating the purchase process, improving transaction flow, securing the supply chain, etc. Nowadays people are well aware of blockchain through seminars conducted at universities and industry level. And many companies have started working on it. Furthermore, in my university, ITU, a lab is being set up only for blockchain research. 35 to 40 people will be hired including research associates, Phd Students and experts. Blockchain is providing enhanced transparency, greater scalability and better security. For these reasons, people are traversing to it to achieve various innovations to increase profits and strengthen relationships across the supplier. And in the next five years blockchain will be commonly known to IT people.
  3. Nowadays banks are using some middle organizations for getting services from other companies for scalability such as payments of utility bills, loading mobile accounts, transactions among cross banking, etc. For example, banks uses a middle organization for telecom services to recharge the mobile account. Blockchain can eradicate the middle organization from the banking system. We can use Hyperledger Fabric channels, and shared ledger and smart contracts for this purpose. This leads to a decrease in time, extra charges and improves traceability of transactions.

Sanchay Mittal

Pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at BML Munjal University in India

Hyperledger intern project: UTXO Transactions in Iroha

  1. I first heard about blockchain from my brother Sachin Mittal. It’s astonishing features like distributed, decentralised, shared, authenticated, auditable, immutable and many more fascinated me and drove me to understand the very depth of this technology. Learning more about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, I got to learn its limited implementation in the financial exchange. But, with the advent of Ethereum, things changed. Smart contracts showed the pathway of automating and regulating industries on DLTs. But many restrictions such as the principle of hierarchy of any organization were compromised and every network started its own cryptocurrency just to fabricate itself with the name ‘blockchain’. The problem was solved by Hyperledger Iroha, which is a permissioned blockchain with prebuilt commands hence easy to incorporate into infrastructural projects requiring DLTs. My project allows me to understand this very innovative technology and to add a new feature, a UTXO based transaction model that is currently used by bitcoin
  2. We are witnessing the beginning of a new chapter in human history, just like when the internet came along and changed so many aspects to the way we used to live. Based on the current rate of evolution, I believe blockchain solutions could reach their full potential in the next five years. The maturity of blockchain has started to soar, its development is starting to have a material impact on every individual. The true nature of equality is here, which means of power is changing, thinking is changing. Blockchain and its development are starting to have a material impact on everyone’s life. Governments have already stated that they have much interest in blockchain technology and they want to learn more about its development for adapting it to their local financial systems. Unlike the dot-com bubble, I think blockchain technology is here to stay and it will be adopted by almost every field globally. The global leaders in government, finance, banking, IoT, supply chain, manufacturing, technology are acknowledging its potential.
  3. The issue I hope blockchain can solve is our centralized internet and social networks. People, without even blinking an eye, sign and agree to privacy policies that give the mainstream companies the power to use their data in any way they see fit. Privacy and security of individuals depend on their behavioural data which can be hacked (Experian) or misused (Cambridge Analytica). With blockchain, users will be able to choose whom to show their  content to and be able to set their own restrictions while determining how and where it gets distributed. They’ll also have full control of their private data. No more storing it on centralized servers and losing it when these servers go down or when their security gets breached.

We’re happy to welcome such a solid group of young people to the community and look forward to seeing all that they contribute. We hope you join them in the effort by contributing to Hyperledger projects. You can plug into the Hyperledger community at github, Rocket.Chat the wiki or our mailing list. As always, you can keep up with what’s new with Hyperledger on Twitter or email us with any questions: info@hyperledger.org.

Be sure to check back for the second post in this series that will highlight the other six interns we will have this summer!

 

(5.31.18) American Banker: Has Amex found a data gold mine with its rewards blockchain?

By | Hyperledger Fabric, News

American Express’ new blockchain technology could give the card issuer a trove of data on product purchases.

Amex has built a distributed ledger that merchants can use to tie card rewards to products they want to move off the shelf. For instance, if an auto insurance company wants to sell more policies or a coffee shop wants to serve more large coffees, it could offer American Express reward points for the featured items to make them more appealing. A merchant that wants to get people to download its app or join a program could offer the same enticement.

More here.