Debunking Myths Surrounding Hyperledger

By October 17, 2018 Blog

Since its inception at the end of 2015, Hyperledger has grown from two projects to ten, and the adoption of the Hyperledger platforms and tools has spread across a wide range of industries. Even as Hyperledger has become a trusted name when it comes to using blockchain for the enterprise, there are still some misperceptions that we’d like to debunk once and for all.

Myth #1: Hyperledger is a vendor.

Reality: Hyperledger is not a vendor. It is a non-profit industry consortium with a membership-based model. Anyone can use the code, contribute, and even become a core maintainer on any of the projects, whether or not they work at member companies. We do have a growing subset of our member community that offer business blockchain products and services based on Hyperledger projects; you can check the 80+ organizations and offerings in the vendor directory.

Myth #2: Hyperledger is an IBM- and Intel-run shop.

Reality: Though a number of Hyperledger projects were originally contributed by IBM (Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Composer, Hyperledger Cello, Hyperledger Explorer) and Intel (Hyperledger Sawtooth, Hyperledger Explorer), the diversity of the developers working on the projects grows every day. Over the lifetime of all 10 Hyperledger projects, there have been 729 unique code contributors, representing more than 150 organizations. The recent 1.2 release of Hyperledger Fabric featured contributions from 15 companies, including Accenture, BBVA, Oracle, and Blocledger; 22% of the commits came from non-IBM sources. In the Hyperledger Sawtooth project, Bitwise has eclipsed Intel in the maintainer count. We are grateful for the continued resources and support that IBM and Intel provide, and encourage other companies to follow their lead, so that Hyperledger remains a healthy, multi-stakeholder community.

Myth #3: Hyperledger doesn’t support interoperability.

Reality: Hyperledger Quilt, one of the five tools in the Hyperledger greenhouse, offers a way of guaranteeing transactional coherence across two ledgers. And that’s just the start of what Hyperledger can do for interoperability.

An early example of this was the integration between the Hyperledger Sawtooth and Hyperledger Burrow projects last year. As a result of that integration, simple EVM smart contracts can be deployed to Hyperledger Sawtooth using the “Seth” (Sawtooth Ethereum) Transaction Family.

More recently, the  Hyperledger Fabric community began working to create a bridge to the Ethereum community so that developers can write EVM smart contracts on Fabric. The hope is that our community will continue to tighten integration and interoperability across Hyperledger projects and beyond, creating a greater number of options for developers. We hope that even more developers can start to think out of the box, connecting blockchains, and doing it securely. The problem of working with more than one technology stack is no longer a technical one.

Our philosophy has always been that you can write one blockchain that talks to multiple other blockchains at the same time. They’re not hermetically sealed.

Myth #4: Hyperledger isn’t focused on scalability and privacy.

Reality: Hyperledger is working on multiple fronts to improve scalability and privacy. The Performance and Scale Working Group is collaborating on defining key metrics for scalability in blockchain technology. Hyperledger Fabric already has a scalability feature called ordering nodes, which lets you focus a subset of your network on the performance-critical part of it in order to improve performance.

When it comes to personal data, Hyperledger Indy upholds the standards mandated by GDPR. Hyperledger Fabric has support for private channels, which is one of the techniques for providing confidentiality between parties with their transactions on the blockchain.

At the same time, our Hyperledger Architecture Working Group has a working draft of an evaluation of the different Hyperledger projects’ approaches to privacy and confidentiality.

Myth #5: Hyperledger blockchains are one network per application.

Reality: Our vision is that there can be multiple, different applications for each network. The food trust network that is being developed with Walmart, for example, could be applied to trace fish, packaged greens, and consumer products, all at the same time. Plus, we are eager to see the interesting applications that can be built on top of that traceability.

The Hyperledger community keeps growing: We’re up to 277 member organizations, including new members FedEx and Honeywell. While that should mean greater awareness of who we are and what we do, we also want to continue to answer your questions. Are there other myths you have heard or seen? Not sure if something is true or not about Hyperledger and blockchain in general? Feel free to share with us on Twitter @Hyperledger.

We hope you join us 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 or email us with any questions: info@hyperledger.org.