Taking stock of global accomplishments and looking to transitions ahead
– Passing the Baton by Brian Behlendorf, General Manager, Open Source Security Foundation, Linux Foundation
– Writing the Next Chapter for Hyperledger by Daniela Barbosa, Executive Director at Hyperledger and General Manager, Blockchain, Healthcare and Identity for the Linux Foundation
In December of 2015, 30 firms from around the globe and representing a diverse range of industries came together with the Linux Foundation to found and kick-start the Hyperledger project. The project began with a vision of creating a global open source community that would use the concepts from the emergent public blockchains to build enterprise grade, open source, distributed ledger software to solve real-world business challenges.
Now we head into the 4th quarter of 2021 with six graduated projects, 11 incubating projects, over 75 projects in our lab, a growing community of hundreds of members, thousands of lines of code contributions, and hundreds of thousands of library downloads. Today, more than 350 companies have participated in contributing code to Hyperledger’s projects.
We had an early goal, written into our mission statement, to engage with the leading members of the ecosystem. We all knew that it was very early in the development of the “internet of transactions” and that we should be open to ideas and contributions from the best and the brightest. And we have had major contributions of code from the leading inventors in this space, including long standing enterprises and major technology firms, as well as startups and fintechs and even interested individuals. As a result, Hyperledger’s prolific code projects include solutions that support the most secure, private, multi-party ledger networks as well as solutions that work with the largest public networks, and most of the space in between. Even in this new and emerging ecosystem, multiple recent surveys and reports have shown that Hyperledger has leading market share among major enterprises that are implementing DLT solutions.
With Hyperledger projects being deployed around the world, in every industry, we are learning about new ways the technology is being leveraged, literally every day. Much of the intelligence comes from presentations at Hyperledger events about the new ways that our projects are being used – adding visibility to the shipping and food industries, tracking the provenance and journey of diamonds, securing digital rights for music and distributing royalties and many more. Some recent examples that have gotten attention include:
- Mitsubishi’s Americas trading business used Skuchain’s Distributed Ledger Payment Commitment (DLPC) functionality, built on Hyperledger Fabric, to purchase metals worth US$43mn from a mine in Peru, with payment made through Mizuho Bank.
- The Global Shipping Business Network, built on Hyperledger Fabric, went live and now handles one in three containers shipped around the world. Fabric nodes are hosted in both international and China territories.
- BondEvalue launched the world’s first fractional bond exchange with Hyperledger Sawtooth.
- Nornickel launched Hyperledger Fabric-based tokens backed by nickel and copper.
- Europe’s largest insurer, Allianz, went into production mid May with a Hyperledger Fabric based solution to streamline international motor insurance claims.
- The Open Insurance Data Link platform, a project built on Hyperledger Fabric, launched to reduce the cost of insurance reporting and create a standardized insurance data repository using distributed ledger technology. Members of this network include AAIS, Travelers, The Hannover and The Hartford along with state insurance regulators like the Insurance Department of Connecticut.
- The state of New York rolled out the Excelsior Pass, built on IBM’s Digital Health Pass, which is itself built on Hyperledger Fabric, to let state residents record and show their COVID vaccine status.
- Over 40 airlines, including Air France, British Airways, Emirates, Etihad, Korean Air, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic, have publicly announced trials of the The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass, which leverages Evernym products built using Hyperledger Indy and Hyperledger Aries.
- Palm introduced an NFT platform using Hyperledger Besu that has supported some large NFT launches in 2021. Palm blockchain is 99% more energy efficient than common proof of work systems.
- GSMA eBusiness Network, built on Hyperledger Fabric, and led by six major telecom providers, announced commercial readiness to support settlement of payments for wholesale roaming across networks, ensuring readiness in the 5G and IoT era.
This progress is the result of all the prototype work of the past few years. We are now seeing the same ramp up of experiments and pilots in the game changing category of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Many of the central banks around the world are researching the best approach. While the full solution is still evolving, the common starting point for many of the global central banks is a secure, enterprise grade, open source, DLT platform, and Hyperledger projects have emerged as a leading solution. Some of the recent CBDC developments announced include:
- Production launch of Bakong by the National Bank of Cambodia on Hyperledger Iroha
- Central Bank of Nigeria’s choice of Hyperledger Fabric for its eNaira CBDC
- A recent demonstration by Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Bank of Thailand, People’s Bank of China, and Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates of the potential of using digital currencies and distributed ledger technology (DLT) for delivering real-time, cheaper and safer cross-border payments and settlements using the Project Inthanon-LionRock prototype built on Hyperledger Besu
- Monetary Authority of Singapore’s selection of ConsenSys/Visa submission with Hyperledger Besu, IBM submission with Hyperledger Fabric and Soramitsu submission with Hyperledger Iroha as finalists for its CBDC challenge
- Release of Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) pilot retail CBDC, “DCash,” on Hyperledger Fabric
I would also like to point out the ongoing effort that Hyperledger has made to expand the expertise within our community, and, especially, to increase the diversity of the membership of the community so we build solutions that provide value to everyone without built in, or unintended limitation. More than 30% of our Hyperledger member companies have less than 50 employees and more than 50% of them are outside the Americas. Additionally, we have a worldwide calendar of meetups, a growing network of regional chapters and ongoing translation efforts. And we are working at the grassroots level with different universities and student groups as well as organizations like AnitaB.org to grow the diversity of our contributor community.
This progress, from early experiments that have moved to production, to broader integrated solutions and on to larger challenges like CBDCs are the clear indications of a new inflection point on the growth of DLT. We are now at the start of the next chapter: enhancing and strengthening the core technologies and improving and even standardizing the integrations and interoperability of solutions. The focus for the first years of Hyperledger was naturally getting the best expertise to execute the vision, develop the projects and get them production ready, and build the brand to be on the shortlist of any evaluation of DLT platforms. By any measure, these first years have been as successful as any DLT project, and certainly the most globally successful of any enterprise DLT platform. Now, as the focus shifts to supporting and enhancing the project base, expanding the community engagement, strengthening governance, and working with different industries on the next level of solutions, it is also a natural point for a leadership transition.
Brian Behlendorf, who has been the executive director of Hyperledger since shortly after its founding, is moving on to help start a new project in the Linux Foundation that will focus on the security of open source software. He will continue to be a senior advisor to Hyperledger and his new work will certainly include and benefit our community. We wish him the absolute best in his new endeavor, but we are also heartened that he will not be far if needed for guidance.
Daniela Barbosa, who has been Hyperledger’s Vice President of Worldwide Alliances, will move into the Executive Director seat and bring her strengths, enthusiasm and deep history and experience of working in industry to the job. In particular, her experience leading strategic initiatives and driving partnerships will be critical skills for success as she takes on building our community, bringing the many diverse perspectives and development models closer together and driving new solutions and new capabilities that will accelerate the adoption of our technologies. We are very excited for this next chapter.
The Governing Board and I look forward to working with new leadership and the rest of the member community on transforming and even creating markets with Hyperledger technologies:
“I’m pleased to welcome Daniela Barbosa as the new Executive Director for Hyperledger. I want to personally thank Brian Behlendorf for all he has done in this role. The Hyperledger community is going strong and we are excited for the next chapter with Daniela at the helm.” – Archana Sristy, Senior Director, Walmart Global Tech
“Glad to see Daniela recognized for her leadership. Her depth of experience will provide great continuity for Hyperledger and all the blockchain projects.” – Chris Ferris, IBM Fellow, CTO Open Technology
“There is no bigger champion for enterprise blockchain than Daniela Barbosa. She has been building and shaping this market for years. That work is showing up in deployments around the world. Her leadership will ensure that we, the Hyperledger community, will be the driving force in developing and deploying technology to power increasingly large and complex multi-party systems.” – David Treat, Senior Managing Director, Accenture
By Robert Palatnick, Managing Director and Global Head of Technology Research and Innovation, DTCC, and Chair of the Hyperledger Governing Board