As we turned the page to 2023, the developer community and Hyperledger Foundation Governing Board selected this year’s Technical Oversight Committee (TOC). Recent updates to the Hyperledger Foundation charter renamed the committee providing governance to the Hyperledger technical communities. The transition of Technical Steering Committee (TSC) to TOC reflects Hyperledger Foundation’s shift to a full umbrella project.
The name change was accompanied by some adjustments to the election process as well. The TOC is now composed of 11 members with all maintainers (or similar technical role in a supported project) who have been active in the past year eligible to vote for their choice among TOC nominees. The top six vote getters become TOC voting members. To ensure diversity and relevant expertise on the TOC, the Governing Board selects the additional five voting members of the TOC from among the TOC Nominees. Once the TOC is selected, its members elect a chair and vice chair.
The 2023 TOC named Tracy Kuhrt of Accenture as chair. She served as chair in the last term of the TSC as well. Arun SM of Walmart Global Tech was named vice chair. He is the first person from an end user contributing company to take a technical governance leadership role.
Read on for Tracy’s and Arun’s takes on the role of the TOC, the year ahead, what technologies they are excited about and the value they see in being part of the Hyperledger community.
What are the key responsibilities of the TOC? Of the TOC leaders?
Tracy: The Hyperledger Foundation charter documents the stated responsibilities of the Technical Oversight Committee (TOC). In addition, the TOC has documented the expectations for the TOC members, chair, and vice chair at: https://toc.hyperledger.org/toc-responsibilities.html. In short, the TOC is responsible for oversight of the Hyperledger Foundation technical communities, including approving new proposals for project lifecycle changes, establishing community norms, workflows, or policies that are not within the scope of any single project, and resolving technical matters that affect multiple projects.
Arun: First off, all content and views solely are my own and do not represent any of my employers. Now for my take: In addition to all the points Tracy covered, this is the time to remind ourselves of the recent commitment from the Hyperledger Foundation to the community through charter changes. Hyperledger Foundation hosts a wide range of technical projects related to blockchain technology and multiparty systems. The charter changes give freedom to an ever-growing suite of projects and those who want to bring in their projects to the foundation. While TOC guides and prepares new projects to thrive in open-source, each of these projects are free to then set up a governance charter around them that best supports the project’s growth.
What are your priorities for the TOC in 2023?
Tracy: From my TOC nomination statement,
Communities are stronger when:
· Everyone is welcome and people feel like they belong.
· There is a diverse set of opinions.
· We push each other out of our comfort zones.
· We listen and learn from others (be those others in the community or outside of the community).
· We have shared goals.
As the TOC chair, I want to be sure that the TOC is bringing their diverse voices to the conversations that we have and that we respectfully listen to each other to develop shared goals for what the TOC will be focused on in 2023 with the intent of making the Hyperledger community stronger.
Arun: My 2023’s priorities will be to bridge the voices of sister open-source community groups and encourage projects that will accelerate the technology adoption. Anything we do, I will see to it there is respect for individuals, empowerment for those who build and encouragement for new contributors.
Hear more from Tracy and Arun in these conversation from Hyperledger Global Forum:
What are some of the challenges you see in the coming year?
Tracy: There are a couple of items that came up in the last Governing Board meeting that will be topics of discussion that the TOC will need to revisit. The first is related to formalizing and documenting security practices. The TOC kicked off a security task force in December 2021. This work must continue to ensure that projects within the Hyperledger Foundation enact consistent security practices. The TOC will be instrumental in formalizing these security practices. I invite members of the Hyperledger community with a security background to bring their voices to the conversation.
The second item that was discussed with the Governing Board is how we best represent the health and status of the projects within the Hyperledger Foundation. Today our project lifecycle is one in which projects only move forward through the different stages. In past TOCs, we have talked about whether this should change and whether we should instead represent the state of a project with some form of badging to allow people to be able to quickly determine the health and status of a project. This conversation has probably happened at least once every term that I have served on the TOC. As such, I would expect that we will have this discussion again hopefully with a resolution that satisfies both the projects and the Governing Board.
Arun: All the points Tracy made as well as a few more: The year 2022 was remarkable and saw extremes at both ends. High value investments poured into the technology at the same time established business setups closed due to their working models. As with any emerging technologies, there’s a lot of noise that still needs to diminish. Only then can the true potential of the technology be seen. Academia collaboration is key to increasing awareness and bringing in the necessary research in open areas. This is an area we can look into for potential collaboration opportunities. Educating the technologists, providing them with all the information necessary to make decisions, adding best practices and security checks, curating the documentation and content for individual roles, and following standard release practices all play a key role.
What emerging technologies or trends are you excited about or see as new opportunities for growing the Hyperledger ecosystem?
Tracy: As a Hyperledger Lab Steward, I am among the first to see some of the interesting things that the community is thinking about and developing. Almost a third of our top-level projects started in Hyperledger Labs (Ursa, Cacti, Bevel, FireFly, and Solang), and I expect that we will see more in the future. Some areas that I have heard discussed as possible areas to grow the Hyperledger ecosystem include centralized ledgers, zero knowledge, and data segregation. If you have any code that you would like to contribute to the Hyperledger Foundation, please consider creating a project proposal or lab proposal.
Arun: Opportunities are plentiful within the Hyperledger ecosystem. There’s a lot we can do on multiple fronts from core technology research to leading the standards bodies and creating additional tools for easier adoption of these new technologies. There have been several tooling project proposals in the labs recently. I am personally looking forward to the collaboration that is possible across projects within The Linux Foundation umbrella, especially tapping into the expertise in CNCF .
In addition, the identity ecosystem has found its sweet spot in Hyperledger Foundation. The mass adoption of blockchain technology is influenced by confidentiality and scalability. It is a matter of time before proposals like the Perun lab become mainstream. There’s also space for rollup technologies. If you’re someone looking for ideas to start working on, consider developing a debugging framework. There’s a lot of potential in verification/validation.
In your experience, what is the value of being part of the Hyperledger community?
Tracy: I have been part of the Hyperledger Community since 2015 – first as a user of Hyperledger Fabric, followed by a stint with the Linux Foundation as a Hyperledger community architect, to my current leadership roles as a Hyperledger Lab Steward, TOC member, and the TOC chair. During this time, the thing that I value most are the relationships that I have formed with other members of the community. I have learnt a lot from the interactions that I have had with each of them, including being mentored on my first code contribution, working with other community members to develop better solutions and best practices, increasing my knowledge on decentralized identity, and understanding what other people are interested in and working on within the enterprise blockchain space.
Arun: It is difficult to quantify or compare the value of being part of the Hyperledger community. The Linux Foundation has one of the best open-source processes, standards and governance. That’s of extra importance when it comes to the Hyperledger Foundation as the problem statements that the community here solves are not simple. Adding zero-trust and decentralization to the distributed computing domain is an uphill task. As you can imagine, the people we meet in everyday interactions are the finest in their domain. What more can one expect than having a group of all finest people in one place. There’s a lot to learn from everyone, be it a new contributor or an experienced maintainer of the project. I have gratitude towards all of the developers, architects, and leaders I met in the community. The energy in the community is unparalleled. It makes us strive to do more and be better than yesterday.
Here’s the full list of the 2023 Hyperledger Foundation TOC:
- Arnaud J Le Hors, IBM
- Arun S M (vice chair), Walmart Global Tech
- Bobbi Muscara, Ledger Academy
- David Enyeart, IBM
- Jim Zhang, Kaleido
- Marcus Brandenburger, IBM*
- Peter Somogyvari, Accenture
- Stephen Curran, Cloud Compass Computing*
- Timo Glastra, Animo Solutions*
- Tracy Kuhrt (chair), Accenture
- Venkatraman Ramakrishna, IBM*
* New committee members
The TOC meets weekly and all are welcomed to join the conversations. To get the details on TOC calls and communication channels, go here: