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Hyperledger welcomes the Climate Action & Accounting Special Interest Group

By Blog, Special Interest Group

Hyperledger has launched the Hyperledger Climate Action & Accounting (CA2) Special Interest Group (SIG) to facilitate focused technical, business and global-level conversations and projects related to appropriate use cases for blockchain and compatible emerging digital technologies across the climate sector. 

For several years now, climate science has had an unequivocal consensus that global emissions should peak by 2020 and take a sharp decline to zero by 2050. 2020 is now here and yet we are nowhere near this goal. At a critical inflection point in the history of this planet and the global effort to prevent irreversible climate damage, this Hyperledger SIG is launched in an outmost timeline fashion to help bridge action between planet, policy, technology and economy.

SIGs gather community members from an industry segment to work on domain-specific problems and create an environment for open discussion, document co-creation and solution proposals. Hyperledger now has nine SIGs, including ones focused on healthcare, telecom, trade finance, supply chain and social impact.

Climate change is recognized globally as both a crisis and an opportunity requiring transformational change to attain sustainable societies and economies. Urgent action at a global scale is crucially important to achieve the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement (i.e., UN global climate accord). Five years later, the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Risks Report 2020 highlighted “Climate Action Failure” as the top risk – ahead of all other major risks such as war and trade conflicts. Concerted action is often fraught with mistrust and lack of transparency among the scope of actors (countries, subnational governments, companies, individuals) due to uncertainty of distributed responsibilities and clashing incentives at the short-term level. Whilst the Paris Agreement is a globally encompassing framework to prevent warming above 1.5oC (relative to pre-industrial levels), it still lacks a clear mechanism enabling actors to “speak the same language” when recording and governing the use of climate-relevant data and verified actions. 

Distributed ledger technology (DLT) and other emerging digital solutions have the potential to provide trusted record-keeping processes, data consensus and rules automation — crucially needed components in order to align actors, accelerate mitigation and adaptation action, and mobilize the trillions of dollars of finance required annually. Hyperledger’s ecosystem and DLTs are central to the creation of a global and open climate accounting system that helps integrate all actors and actions under the same planetary goal. The Climate Action & Accounting SIG has launched to leverage Hyperledger frameworks and the Linux Foundation’s know-how for the development of an open source and decentralized climate accountability network that both operationalizes transparency (i.e., Article 13 of the Paris Accord) whilst enhancing each actor’s personal privacy, security, and control.

The scope of the SIG is defined by the terms climate action and climate accounting:  

Climate Action is a broadly encompassing term that involves all climate-relevant actions (e.g., policies, programs, technologies, goods, services) taken by actors (e.g., states and non-state actors such as businesses, cities, individuals). This covers the range from emission generating activities to the broad set of actions encompassed within climate mitigation and adaptation and its associated finance mechanisms.

Climate Accounting, on the other hand, is referred by the SIG as the encompassing term that involves all processes of recording climate-relevant information/data. This ranges from the physical state of the planet to the list of all climate actors, their broad set of climate actions and agreements in respect to the shared account of the climate challenge.

In other words, whilst climate action occurs in the real world, climate accounting is recorded in the digital world.

Through open and participative discussions, the SIG will help build the relationship between both climate domains and consolidate technological tools to do so.

The new SIG is led by two co-chairs: Martin Wainstein, PhD, and Tom Baumann. Martin is the founder and lead researcher at the Yale Open Innovation Lab at the Center for Business and the Environment at Yale and manager of the climate & energy finance projects at the Digital Currency Initiative of the MIT Media Lab. Tom Baumann is the founder and co-chair of the Climate Chain Coalition, co-chair of the INATBA Climate Action WG (International Association of Trusted Blockchain Applications), former international chair (2014-2019) of ISO’s climate change standards committee, as well as co-founder of several start-ups including Xpansiv, Adaptation Ledger, ClimateCHECK, GHG Management Institute, Collaborase, and NovaSphere.

The mission and goals of the Hyperledger CA2 SIG is to foster a collaborative network of climate, DLT other emerging technology organizations (i.e., universities, NGOs, government, startups, corporations, multilateral development banks, etc.) that can create a center of gravity around the role of DLT and open source software to address challenges in the global climate action, policy and digital accounting space. 

A focus point of the SIG would be to turn this network into action under a common open source project that defines shared protocols, standards, and platform tools for a globally integrated climate accounting system to be operationalized, and meet requirements by emerging initiatives like the FSB TCFD (Task Force for Climate-Related Disclosure). This open climate project can act as a shared initiative where participants can contribute value to and share explorations in the use DLT alongside other emerging technologies such as IoT (Internet of Things), big data, and machine learning to address the challenge of keeping a transparent climate accounting system towards the climate targets set in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The SIG community will take initiative to specifically address and develop:

  • Compile completed, ongoing, and proposed future activities related to blockchain for climate action & accounting
  • Create a directory of organizations and initiatives involved with blockchain and the climate space (map of organization location, contact person, description, website, etc.)
  • Consolidate the architecture of an integrated system, involving multiple blockchain mechanisms connected through shared protocols, allowing contractual automation in the link between finance and climate value flow based on the agreed physical parameter of the Earth system
  • Identify Hyperledger tools and frameworks to develop and maintain a single record-keeping ledger with global consensus (i.e., a ‘ledger of ledger’ where all parties agree)
  • Propose and define shared protocols and standards to allow interoperability across the climate accounting system and integrated platforms
  • Compile of best practices, lessons learned, and recommendations to stakeholders (policymakers, technology developers, etc.)
  • Support events (e.g., at blockchain and climate conferences such as COP) and related activities for collaboration among members and stakeholders.
  • Propose, discuss and define a longer-term strategic vision of an open innovation consortium that can help steward, fund, and maintain an open source climate action and accounting project and system

We welcome your participation. If you would like to join the Climate Action and Accounting SIG, please subscribe to the mailing list and join the chat channel where online meeting details will be announced. The CA2 SIG wiki page contains links to resources, activities, meeting minutes, project details and the active member directory. Find a list of all Hyperledger community meetings, including the Climate Action and Accounting SIG, on the Hyperledger Community calendar. We look forward to your active involvement and valuable contributions.

Introducing the Hyperledger Diversity, Civility and Inclusion (DCI) Working Group

By Blog, Working Group

At Hyperledger, “All are welcome here!” That is a message that we want all current and prospective open source contributors to hear. As open source software (OSS) becomes more prominent, the communities that surround it become more important. Having a community that has a culture of encouraging people to voice their diverse opinions is crucial for the long term success of the project. With the motivation of creating an ecosystem that enables many diverse views, the Hyperledger community with the support of the Hyperledger staff has started the Diversity, Civility and Inclusion (DCI) Working Group (WG).

The journey to creating this WG started at the Hyperledger Member Summit in 2018 in Montreal. Hyperledger is the fastest growing project in the Linux Foundation’s history. Despite that, discussions at the Montreal event raised issues about obstacles to participation. Current processes could make it difficult for newcomers to integrate and participate, and some of the processes do not always promote inclusiveness. Newcomers do not always know where to go to find information or ask questions, and conversely active members have difficulty monitoring all the avenues people can participate (e.g., mailing lists, channels on rocket chat, wiki). Geography sometimes also presents a barrier as meetings and correspondence are optimized for certain time zones over others.

Motivated by the observations at the summit, community members along with Hyperledger staff began discussing how to improve the inclusiveness and in turn increase diversity. They wanted DCI initiatives to be community driven and tracked openly. The DCI WG was created to give interested community members an open forum to investigate, collaborate on solutions, and provide visibility to the DCI issues found in the community. The charter for the DCI WG includes collecting data on various metrics, suggesting possible improvements based on those metrics to the TSC or projects, and, if actions are taken, measuring the impact of them.

Diversity, Civility and Inclusiveness can cover many different community health issues. In order to be the most impactful, the DCI WG decided to focus our efforts and tackle a subset of issues first. One of our first goals will be to collect metrics across as much of that breadth as we reasonably can. We are launching a survey to help baseline the current community. Without that data, it is difficult to know where we need to place our emphasis. One of the small pieces of data we do have today suggests a gap in gender representation. After much discussion, the working group has chosen to make that an initial focus and use what we learn through that process and the survey to expand into other aspects of DCI. 

Within the Hyperledger ecosystem, the DCI WG is looking to collaborate with other working groups, SIGs, and projects to analyze and measure diversity. We are also looking to work with groups such as CHAOSS. We encourage everyone to participate, give their feedback, and voice their opinions!  One of the ways to participate right now is taking our survey. Regardless of your background, the projects or WGs you work on, we want to hear your ideas and feedback. The DCI WG meets bi-weekly and can be found on Hyperledger Community Meeting Calendar. We also have a mailing list and a chat forum. We welcome all contributors!

Conflict minerals and child labour: Enabling better business with blockchain traceability

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

The hidden costs of raw materials

How much do you know about the making of your phone? How important is it for you to know where all the materials came from?

There are now over 3 billion smartphones in the world and the growth in numbers is expected to continue. This, along with demand for other electronics like tablets, laptops, electric vehicles, even vacuum cleaners, is driving a huge need for raw materials such as cobalt, tin, tungsten and tantalum. Cobalt is used in every lithium-ion rechargeable battery on the planet, while the 3 Ts, also known as conflict minerals, are found in all manner of electronic goods.

Conflict minerals have been classed as such due to their sourcing in conflict areas such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Militias will frequently seize control of a mine and force people to work in dangerous conditions for minimal or zero pay. With weak law enforcement in these areas there are many examples of slavery, theft of natural resources, environmental damage and human rights abuses.

The other issue that is rife here is child labour. The Guardian estimates there are more than 255,000 creuseurs (diggers) mining cobalt in the DRC, at least 35,000 of whom are children, some as young as six. These children will spend an entire day digging up enough cobalt-containing heterogenite stone to fill a sack, which they will then try to sell to Chinese traders for about $0.65.

Traceability-as-a-Service

For a long time. people have been talking about blockchain and how it is a technology looking for a problem to solve. Circulor is one of the first companies to build a solution using Hyperledger blockchain and artificial intelligence that provides traceability and transparency across the supply chain where it is really needed – conflict minerals, rare earth minerals, toxic and polluting waste, child labour-based production, to name a few. 

Responsible companies need to know the answers to the questions:

  • To what extent is your supply chain traceable?
  • Are you confident in the provenance of your raw material?
  • Can you prove the provenance?
  • What impact are you having on people and nature?

With extractive industries, true traceability requires reaching far upstream and being able to track material flows through refining, amalgamation and manufacture. Circulor addresses two core challenges – reliably creating a digital identity for a physical commodity at its source in the field, as well as connecting the inputs and outputs from a manufacturing process to enable that identity to be inherited. 

In order to make the identity reliable and digital, Circulor’s solution gives a commodity a dynamic identity, or dynamic twin, so that it can be tracked along the supply chain journey, from source to consumer, even if the commodity changes on the way. Then through the material journey, we use machine learning tools to identify anomalies or fraudulent activity.

With their entire supply chains mapped out for the first time, manufacturers are able to definitively prove responsible sourcing and sustainable production. In relation to conflict minerals and child mining, there are a number of controls in place to enable this. Artificial Intelligence is utilised for facial recognition, ensuring only authorised people are involved in the process, while anti-GPS spoofing measures guarantee that transactions are only done at accredited facilities.

One of these measures is tags that can only be used in a specified geo-fenced area, such as a mine site or production facility. This is an important safeguard because, especially with the case of tin and tungsten mining in Rwanda, the current tagging system is insecure, and tags are frequently traded on the black market. If a commodity has one of these tags, even though it holds no real information on location or identity, that is often enough for it to pass any security checks. Circulor’s tags are linked to specific locations and individuals.

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Photo by Hasin Hayder on Unsplash

Enabling better business

In partnership with Kumi, Circulor recently completed a successful project with Volvo Cars, using Hyperledger Fabric blockchain technology to trace the cobalt in the company’s forthcoming electric vehicles. Volvo Cars is leading the way in its industry to conduct responsible production, not just in its own operations but now in all of its suppliers as well. It recognised the importance of being able to prove to its consumers that it sources raw materials ethically and sustainably.

There is no doubting a current consumer trend towards a greater concern for our impact on people and the environment. Last year, the UK spent over £83bn on ethical goods with the continued growth driven by increased environmental concern, showing that more consumers than ever are looking for ways to shop that help people and the planet. Businesses are taking note – Circulor has just signed on with another automotive company to conduct a similar project and there are various examples of opportunities in other industries, such as waste, recycling, agriculture and more. In partnership with Kumi and other forward-thinking organisations, traceability provides huge potential to enable better business.

Sources:
https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-conflict-minerals-funded-a-war-that-killed-millions/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/theworldpost/wp/2018/04/19/conflict-free/

Cover image courtesy of Circulor

Looking ahead to Hyperledger Global Forum 2020: A preview of key topics and themes

By Blog, Hyperledger Global Forum

It’s 2020 and blockchain is well and truly in production. If you have any doubt, take a look at the schedule for the Hyperledger Global Forum 2020.

Whether you are a seasoned developer, business executive or relatively new to the world of enterprise blockchain, you will be well catered for in Phoenix, Arizona, from March 3-6. The conference features an exceptional range of keynotes, case studies and workshops. 

Here are a few key themes that the Hyperledger Global Forum schedule reveals about the state of blockchain in this new and exciting decade…

Self-sovereign identity (SSI) is here to stay

Self-sovereign identity technology removes the tireless friction of maintaining multiple digital identities and empowers users to control the data they share across platforms. Hyperledger Indy, Aries and Ursa provide enterprises with the tools and libraries required to create meaningful business and humanitarian solutions using this powerful technology. 

At the Hyperledger Global Forum you will learn how SSI is 

  1. Reducing the cost of KYC compliance across a consortium of banks across South Africa.
  2. Enabling the Province of British Columbia, Canada, to ascertain the provenance of Greenhouse Gas emitting energy resources in their efforts to modernise their energy grid and support their decarbonisation efforts.
  3. Enabling non-profit Kiva and the Central Bank of Cambodia to issue digital identifications to unbanked populations, creating better opportunities for credit for traditionally underserved communities as well as helping developing economies grow and better align with the larger global economy.

Innovators are realising the value of blockchain in supply chain 

Blockchain or distributed ledger technology is arguably best described as a database architecture that enables trust between multiple parties. Verifying provenance within a supply chain is therefore one of blockchain’s most natural applications.

A wide range of Hyperledger technologies – notably Hyperledger Sawtooth – is being implemented to harden global supply chains and develop new relationships between customers, suppliers and vendors.

Learn how…

  1. Unilever is leveraging Hyperledger Sawtooth to trace the provenance of pork meat so that millions of customers can scan their food packaging using a mobile app to learn the end-to-end provenance of their meat from farm to vendor.
  2. Quantum Materials Corp uses Hyperledger Sawtooth and DAML smart contracts  to bring their nanoscale quantum dot technology to market to ensure absolute product identification within critical and high value supply chains.
  3. Volvo is tracking the provenance of cobalt to develop a more environmentally responsible and efficient supply chain for the manufacturing of their EV batteries

Blockchain interoperability, both public and private, is evolving…

Open source technology is essential to ease systems integration and drive digital transformation. The interoperability of blockchain technologies is an important challenge that needs to be solved to unlock its full potential. 

Hyperledger technologies are principally permissioned, or private, blockchain technologies. The permissioned space has often been characterised as distinct from, and even adversarial to, public blockchain networks, such as Ethereum. 

A much anticipated panel discussion featuring representatives of ConsenSys, Microsoft and IBM will discuss how both Hyperledger and Ethereum can collaborate to achieve their common goal – the global adoption of blockchain.

Summary

This is just a sample of the sessions on offer at Hyperledger Global Forum 2020. In addition to compelling keynotes, there will be more than 50 sessions covering business and technical topics as well as case studies and demos during the first two days of the event. These are followed by two days of workshops where you can deep dive on topics of specific interest, for example, Accenture and the World Economic Forum are jointly leading a half day session aimed at business leaders to help them understand how to properly evaluate blockchain use cases for their organizations.

For more information or to register, visit the Hyperledger Global Forum 2020 website.

The Social Impact of “being”

By Blog, Hyperledger Indy

To be or not to be is not a question nowadays. To the normal citizen, you have your birth certificate that enables you to have an identity, a driver’s license, a passport and voilá: You are.

Even that digitally seems quite common and straightforward. Most of the western citizens have not one but many digital identities with them: a Google account, a Microsoft account, a Facebook account, etc. 

This is not the case for a large segment of mankind: A group that has no identity, knows little or nothing about their roots and cannot provide any proof of them. By not being able to prove their identity, they cannot open a bank account, access healthcare or enroll in university. They cannot have a “normal” life. Unfortunately, for this group, it is easier to buy a pizza using Bitcoin than to prove their names, origins and history.

This happens because we lack a common ground for identities. Governments have strong agreements on how each of them will “understand” documents issued by other nations. Internal conflicts, commercial disputes or other political situations make it hard for some countries to be part of such agreements and they end up being left outside. In some cases, those excluded countries are the ones facing issues that force their populations to migrate. Without an identifying document recognized by their host countries, these migrants become “nobodies” in their new home.

Self-Sovereign Identity, Interoperability and Trust

Hyperledger Indy, a distributed ledger built for the purpose of decentralized identity, will be a powerful tool to overcome this issue. It will do so by being a carrier of trust.

Distributed Ledger Technology (a “blockchain”), in an identity management scenario, enables everyone in the network to have the same source of truth about which credentials are valid and who attested to the validity of the data inside the credential, without revealing the actual data.

Through the infrastructure of a blockchain, an identity verifying party does not need to check the validity of the actual data in the provided proof. Instead, the verifier  can use the blockchain to check the validity of the attestation and attesting party to determine whether to validate the proof.

For example, when an identity owner presents a proof of his or her date of birth, rather than actually checking the truth of the date of birth itself, the verifying party will validate the government’s signature who issued and attested to this credential to then decide whether he trusts the government’s assessment about the accuracy of the data.

Hence, the validation of a proof is based on the verifier’s judgement of the reliability of the attestor.

But trust is not the only issue we face. Most of the identity credentials issued by an institution are particular to that institution. There’s no standard on those schemas. Through Indy and standards such as Verifiable Credentials (whose Data Model 1.0 was recently published as a W3C recommendation) interoperability between institutions and different identity management systems might be achieved.

Using this technology, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) can help those “invisible people” gain access to services and expedite the humanitarian process. In the future, it may even enable NGOs to  issue some sort of universally verifiable digital identity credentials to refugees. Credentials that refugee host countries could “understand” and accept because they use the same interoperable digital identity standards and trust the NGO that issued the credentials. This would allow refugees to fully access services in their host countries. They would be able to be included in society, open bank accounts, rent houses and be productive as any other citizen. 

The key is interoperability and the decentralization of trust.

Hyperledger Indy

Hyperledger Indy is still quite young with a lot to be discussed and done. However, it  has an engaged community around it, researching, asking questions and working towards the maturity of the ecosystem. The main tool to start using Indy is Indy-SDK. An SDK (Software Development Kit) is a “kit” that brings all-you-need tools in one library.

Today the solution still relies solely on said SDK. That can be tricky as it carries a lot of heavy-weight assumptions like using ZeroMQ, which browsers are not compatible with because of RAW TCP usage, to communicate with the node. That usually requires more recent mobile devices to work. Also, being a kind of all-in-one library it carries functionalities not always needed to everyone that uses it. 

To be the solution for the problem that plagues 1.2 billion people around the world who do not have an identity, the current technology still needs improvements. It has to be easier to use on basic phones, easier to integrate and easier to develop. It still requires users to have powerful smartphones to hold wallets. It’s not possible to run on a browser. And, we are challenged with little and sometimes confusing documentation on the technical side.

There are a lot of initiatives tackling those issues. Hyperledger Aries, which is making it more modular, Indy-crypto, indy-vcx and other projects are working to make this tech more democratic, transparent and easy to use. 

A lot of independent programmers are also experimenting with it, successfully creating, for example, a nodejs indy request that made a “sdkless” call to the node. I would personally love to see an HTTP with encrypted body request work over an Indy node and other “think outside the box” kind of tools.

Overcoming those issues will not be easy, but when we, the entire digital identity community, position ourselves in a united front to fight these problems, there’s a huge chance to succeed. 

The Value of Attending Hyperledger Global Forum 2020

By Blog, Hyperledger Global Forum

We are a community working together to build tech that will ultimately impact industries all around the world. Of course, we all have our own individual motivations, many of them commercial and many of them underpinned by specific technologies incubated by Hyperledger. Fundamentally, however, we are all sold on the value of blockchain technologies. 

At the Hyperledger Global Forum in 2018 in Basel, Switzerland, the community was still responding to the conflation between blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. In July, the Member Summit in Tokyo showed that the market has come a long way. As Gartner describes it, the hype has dwindled and we are now in the ‘trough of disillusionment’ – terms that may sound discouraging but actually signify the period when meaningful technological adoption begins. 

Across Hyperledger, blockchain projects are increasingly moving into production and generating genuine business value, from the recent announcement of Salesforce’s low code blockchain platform to Walmart’s leveraging of blockchain to build a food traceability system. 

At this stage, it is an excellent time to engage with the community and showcase the progress we are making. While many of you are seasoned road warriors with your feet barely on the ground before being whisked off to the next conference, I want to explain the value of attending the Hyperledger Global Forum in Arizona 2020.

1) The conference really embodies the spirit of open source. Hyperledger Global Forum genuinely encourages open discussion and conference attendees, whether members or not, have the opportunity to talk with the Hyperledger Technical Steering Committee. It is an opportunity to ask questions and meet the engineers you may collaborate with daily, whether you work for a corporate giant or a start up.

2) You always come away with a new perspective and a new market to explore. With over one thousand attendees from all over the world, Hyperledger Global Forum really is that – global. We came back from Basel with new leads from markets as far flung as Russia, Singapore and Israel – connections that, as a start up, have shaped our direction

3) Hyperledger Global Forum generates real outcomes. Conferences are not an insignificant investment, particularly for a start up. However, the relevance of the tracks and the relationships we developed meant attendance was absolutely worthwhile. Whether this be a collaborative effort with other contributors to solve a common problem within a project or an introduction to a company whose problem we are trying to solve, Hyperledger Global Forum always generates actions.

Many in the community are equally as enthused about Hyperledger Global Forum 2020 and the value this extended, global conversation about all things Hyperledger:  

“The Hyperledger Global Forum is a great event for professionals working in the business of blockchain to participate in. I was proud to represent SecureKey at the event last year and to stand alongside some of the most notable technology professionals. We look forward to our continued work with Hyperledger and highly recommend like-minded organizations take part in this excellent event.”  Dmitry Barinov, CTO – SecureKey Technologies

“The Hyperledger Global Forum attracted leaders from around the globe last year and allowed us to have a number of face-to-face meetings with clients, colleagues and, for me, as the co-founder of the Social Impact Special Interest Group, an in-person meeting with group members from Mexico to Timor-Leste. The global make-up of the conference is just one more reason why Accenture will be the diamond sponsor again this year.” Alissa Worley, Global Marketing Director – Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies at Accenture

“The conference really embodies the spirit of open source. Hyperledger Global Forum genuinely encourages open discussion and conference attendees, whether members or not, have the opportunity to talk with the Hyperledger Technical Steering Committee. It is an opportunity to ask questions and meet the engineers you may collaborate with daily, whether you work for a corporate giant or a start up.” Dan O’Prey, CMO – Digital Asset

Mentorship in Action: Hyperledger 2019 Summer Program Recap – Part 2

By Blog, Hyperledger Summer Mentorship Program

When we hear about internships and related projects, we often think of the resulting technical contributions. However, when such a project takes place in the context of an open source and international ecosystem, like Hyperledger, the code artifacts are just part of the journey. Accordingly, in this blog post, I would like to focus on the participants and the community aspects of the Hyperledger Summer Mentorship program.

The first thing I would like to emphasize is that this is not just a summer job for the interns. During the internship, they had a chance to get to know the intricacies of different Hyperledger projects. They also worked closely with mentors who guided them throughout their work. But above all else, they became part of an open source community.

If you consider all these aspects, it is a challenging journey in two months. I think this is where the mentorship program of Hyperledger shows its strength. It gradually eases you into a (seemingly) complex environment. And the main goal is not just to get the job done, but to give the interns a toolset that allows them to stay engaged with their project, even after the internship is over. 

The opportunity for interns to present their work during a Hyperledger event (like the Global Forum) is in line with this goal.

Attila Klenik, Hyperledger Summer Intern Program alum and current mentor

Let me share a bit of personal experience with you. I also participated in a Hyperledger internship project in 2016. I was in the mentee role back then, and I was already looking into some Hyperledger projects that could prove useful for my Ph.D. research. However, open source development was new territory for me, and it was a bit intimidating at first (technical skills aside). 

But then I got to present my project work on the next Hyperledger event. That was my first close-up experience with the Hyperledger community, and it opened up a world of possibilities. I met the maintainers of many projects, we exchanged ideas, and they answered many of my questions. And suddenly the open source Hyperledger ecosystem wasn’t intimidating anymore. 

It is safe to say that this whole experience put me on the track to get more involved with specific projects, and later becoming a maintainer of Hyperledger Caliper. And, as the next step on the road, I had the pleasure to mentor a Caliper-related internship project this year.

Of course, with the new role came new challenges. Although I have mentored students before, the setup was different this time. I expected that working around the 8 hours time zone difference will not be easy. However, the fact that Caliper was under active development during that time was an even more significant challenge. The most important lessons (and skills) I learned as a mentor was the proper compartmentalization and scoping of tasks. These insights also shaped the further development of Caliper, intending to make it more contributor friendly. So mentees are not the only ones who learn new things during the internship.

Hopefully, this blog post gave you some ideas about the vital role the Hyperledger Summer Mentorship program plays in the open source community, as well in the development of projects themselves. However, don’t forget to check out the other side of the coin, the technical project results from the latest participants to complete the program:

2019 Summer Mentee Project Update: Design Effective OS to Manage Blockchain Networks

By Blog, Hyperledger Summer Mentorship Program

The 2019 Hyperledger Summer Mentorship program has come to an end. During this program, my project was Design Effective OS to Manage Blockchain Networks. It was an amazing experience to work and get involved with the Hyperledger community and the Cello community. I had a wonderful time working with my mentors and the community members, who were all really helpful during the whole course of this internship.

Goals of Project

This project aimed at:

  • Implementing a new governing module to join blockchain networks together
  • Adding advanced capabilities to manage blockchain networks, including life-cycle, chaincode and permission
  • Developing other open objects that align with the existing roadmap

What was Accomplished

During the internship duration, we were able to implement a fully functional agent that makes Cello even more versatile than earlier. We were able to 

  • Create a base for an operator agent for Fabric in the Cello codebase
  • Create custom resources and APIs for CAs, peer and orderer
  • Implement the operator controllers for CA, peer and orderer
  • Integrate the agent with the Cello API and dashboard
  • Generate documentation for the new agent so that it can be used by the users

Project Progress

During my project, we successfully created an agent for Hyperledger Cello that can be used to create peer, CAs and orderers for Hyperledger Fabric. This agent can handle user inputs from the frontend as well as the certificates needed for running these nodes. The agent was developed using Kubernetes and uses the Operator SDK Framework to create Kubernetes Operators. 

The agent has been linked to the frontend and APIs and documentation has also been created to make sure that it is ready to be worked upon.

What I learned

  • The project used Kubernetes and Golang for its creation, and it was really good to learn the tools needed to complete my projects.
  • I learned to collaborate in an open source project, working remotely and successfully communicating with other members of the community.

Future Plans

  • I’ll be continuing my work with the Cello project, contributing code in the future to help with the other parts of the project.
  • This project has laid the groundwork for additional features that can be added to the agent and Cello itself, which can make it fully ready for the production usage.

For the full details, see my complete project report here.

I am very grateful for the support from my mentors, Baohua Yang, Haitao Yue, Tong Li and Jiahao Chen, as well as Hyperledger and for the opportunity to learn and contribute to open source Hyperledger projects.

I will also be speaking at Hyperledger Global Forum 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona, talking about my project and work and also Hyperledger Cello. Please do come if you’re attending the conference.

2019 Summer Mentee Project Update: Git signing with DIDs Hyperledger Indy

By Blog, Hyperledger Summer Mentorship Program

This year, I had the opportunity to contribute to the open source Hyperledger Indy community as part of the 2019 Hyperledger Summer Mentorship program. This experience also helped me collaborate with other open source communities, mainly the git community.

Project presentation

Currently git supports signing/verifying commits and tags using GPG only. The goal of this project is to make the git signing interface compatible with external signing tools and with DIDs (Distributed Identities) using programs such as bettersign, for example.

This project is the continuation of the work already done by David Huseby on the subject. His previous work is here:

This project’s working fork:

The main sections of the project are updating the user configuration and the command handling when a signing or verifying operation occur. 

Another aspect of the project is getting the changes accepted in the git community:

  • The request for proposal has been sent to the git mailing list and can be tracked here.
  • The commits that will be submitted as a patch can be found here.

What was accomplished

Milestones

The project had many steps involved:

  • Updating the git code base with a new generic signing interface
  • Sending the first RFC to the git mailing list and receiving feedback
  • Incorporating the changes depending on the received feedback
  • Sending a second RFC to the mailing list
  • … Still waiting for feedback
  • Creating wrapper tools for signing (Indy signing tool and a template script)

Challenges

Getting to know the git code base from scratch and figure out which parts needed changing was a challenge at first. But the primary challenge we faced was getting the proposal pushed upstream in the git community. We have sent two RFCs and are still waiting for additional feedback.

Technical Overview

The following figure illustrate modification of git and the expected outcome of the project:

image2019-10-29_17-56-22.png

What comes next

This project can open the door to future signing tools integrations and maybe extended to projects other than git.

The mentorship project can be extended in many ways:

  • Create wrappers for additional signing tools like signify for example
  • Write a wrapper for the Assuan protocol to add support for tools that use the Assuan library (like GPG & GPGSM for example)
  • Broaden the project idea to tools other than git (Docker image signing for example)

David Huseby will be creating a Hyperledger Lab for the continuity of the project. It will be used to track future milestones and help other persons contribute and broaden the project perspective.

For more details, please see my complete project report here.

2019 Summer Mentee Project Update: Hyperledger configuration for project management in construction

By Blog, Hyperledger Summer Mentorship Program

Project Description

Construction management configuration of blockchain is a project of the Hyperledger Summer Mentorship Program 2019 that provides a way to apply Hyperledger technologies to construction and engineering (C&E) since literature research and practical simulation prove Hyperledger Fabric as one of the best platforms for C&E. 

This project was conceived to test the potential of blockchains. To do this, a prototype system is used to model real-world commercial process by defining the properties of participant attributes superimposed with algorithms that describe their trading relationships. These are implemented using so-called smart-contracts that make use of the latest features of Hyperledger Fabric  and Hyperledger Composer to model commercial relations between traders in a trust network.

Using Fabric delivers a variety of benefits. For example, the scheduling, confirmation and commissioning of installed components at a construction site can be recorded and, therefore, managed. But management of a Fabric network is a demanding job and good design is essential to allow confidential trading to take place. The access control list (ACL), included within Composer, provides the tools to create, read, update, or delete elements within the commercial network’s domain model. The project has advanced this control by making use of an application programming interface (API) to connect to Web servers that in turn can provide analysis and management applications. This links to common project management tools, notably Gantt charts and other projects metrics such as individual work rates, cost and budgetary items that can be used in reports and figures. 

Tools: Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Composer, Node.js, javascript.

Analyze real construction process

System architecture

Access control for participants

Accomplishments

  • Created a system design for a construction management blockchain implemented on Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Composer.
  • Built an access control list for manipulating access rights of individuals in the blockchain system.
  • Developed an API for connecting Hyperledger Fabric with web services.
  • Built a website for easily making transaction from customer and exchanging information.
  • Created algorithms that are able to analyze data inside a blockchain and represent results in the form of statistics figures such as Gantt chart, line chart and pipe chart.
  • Developed a tutorial on github for installing and using the system.
  • Wrote science publications.

Plan for the future

  • The project is only implemented in localhost for testing functions of blockchain system because of limited budget and computer power. If the project is funded for a free account of cloud and computers, a blockchain system can be deployed on a cloud by using docker and tested in real conditions.
  • With detailed documents and source code, the project would equip developers to convert business needs to algorithms and implement them to chaincode, generate APIs for exchanging data between user and blockchain system, create user interface, make statistics and apply machine learning algorithm for data in transactions. Furthermore, the project’s system architecture defines a method  to combine blockchain, statistics and machine learning based on smart contracts, which would be helpful for Hyperledger to develop extend modules.

For more details, please see my complete project report here.