Developer Showcase Series: Nathan Aw, NTT DATA

Our Developer Showcase blog series serves to highlight the work and motivations of developers, users and researchers collaborating on Hyperledger’s incubated projects. Next up is Nathan Aw, who is a Digital Advisory & Solutions Manager, of Emerging Technologies & Innovation Practice at NTT DATA.

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

Build software like how we build our houses. Architects draw detailed plans before a brick is laid or a nail is hammered. Programmers and software engineers seldom do – perhaps this is why programs crash more often than houses collapse?

In practical terms, it means… spend a lot of time on writing (thinking) specifications, devising blueprints. For programmers who are building on top of say Hyperledger Fabric, read and understand the protocol specifications. Thereafter write your own specifications for your program. I cannot over emphasize the importance of clarity of thought before one starts building on Hyperledger.

Nathan Aw, NTT Data

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?

I am working on Hyperledger Quilt. I got into blockchain purely by chance. Back in college my favorite Computer Science (CS) modules were distributed systems and cryptography (hashing, digital signatures, public-key cryptosystems). When I graduated, I found myself working on middleware (Integration – SOA, AMQP, OSB, etc). When blockchain arrived at the scene, all the stars aligned – I suddenly found my favorite subjects in school and my experience in middleware aligned.  

What project in Hyperledger are you working on? Any new developments to share? Can you sum up your experience with Hyperledger?

Hyperledger Quilt. Amazing community – full of passionate folks who are willing to lend a helping hand. The mailing list is so responsive.

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

Cross chain interoperability. scalability 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 find the use cases of diamond supply chain and verifiable IDs for refugees most interesting.

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

I hope blockchain can help usher in a new age of trustless paradigm. People no longer need to trust organizations but instead trust the software, the cryptographic proof, the process. Blockchain ideally should bring people closer than before – collaboration and cooperation for the betterment of mankind.

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

I hope to see blockchain deployed in all the major industries, the major sectors and on a global scale.

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

Build Software like how we build our houses!

What technology could you not live without?

Blockchain – To be more specific, Hyperledger. (I mean it!)


Nathan Aw Ming Kun is a Digital Advisory & Solutions Manager with NTT Data whose primary focus is on Blockchain technologies and other fast emerging technologies such as Robotics Process Automation (RPA). In his current role, he designs and delivers blockchain solutions for his clients. He is also an active participant in the open source collaborative ecosystem such as the Hyperledger Project, among many others. His passion is to help organisations quickly identify, adopt and scale digital technologies thereby pushing the digital frontier and capturing its full value. Nathan Aw brings with him 6 years of enterprise software and implementation experience from leading companies such as NTT Data, Accenture and Oracle.