Removing Barriers to Contribution with Inclusive Language

By Blog, Working Group

Hyperledger created a Code of Conduct to help make sure that there are clear expectations about how to treat others when you are part of the community. The guidelines in the document are taken seriously, and people in the community are held responsible for their actions.

People are asked to communicate constructively and avoid demeaning or insulting behavior or language. If someone were to use insensitive comments on a mailing list or on a phone call, that would be a clear violation. But what if someone wrote code that included insensitive and hurtful language that followed programming conventions that have been followed for decades? And how would you feel as a programmer to come across insulting terms when trying to contribute?

The industry overall is changing how it views established programming conventions; wording that was once common is understood today to be a barrier for engagement. Take, for example, this story published in the article “Tech Confronts Its Use of the Labels ‘Master’ and ‘Slave’” in Wired

‘A FEW YEARS ago, Karla Monterroso was at an airport when she noticed a glitch in a computer monitor that would normally display flight information. Instead, the screen showed the text “Master/Slave,” repeated at least 10 times from top to bottom.

“I remember freaking out about it and going to [people working in] the terminal and letting them know that I thought that’s really inappropriate,” says Monterroso, CEO of Code 2040, a nonprofit dedicated to racial equality and inclusion in tech. “And they’re like, ‘No, that’s just the technology. That’s what the technology says.’”’

Terminology that is charged is being reconsidered and replaced across a range of open source projects — GitHub has moved to the default branch being main instead of master, the Linux kernel has moved from blacklist and whitelist to blocklist and allowlist and in November of 2020, CNCF began working on replacing biased language with inclusive language. From Wikipedia:

“Inclusive language aims to avoid offense and fulfill the ideals of egalitarianism by avoiding expressions that express or imply ideas that are sexist, racist, or otherwise biased, prejudiced, or denigrating to any particular group of people (and sometimes animals as well).” 

Last year the Hyperledger Diversity, Civility, and Inclusion Working Group highlighted a need for our community to use more inclusive language in the source code that it creates. In response, Hyperledger has been looking into how to move away from language that raises barriers to contribution. While these language changes are small in size, they are outsized in terms of impact. Each use of a non-inclusive term is a papercut – a daily insult to endure while you use a project. Enough of those, and a person will no longer contribute.

Finding Problematic Terms with DCI-Lint

To make it easier for the people to address this problem, Peter Somogyvari, a community member and a maintainer for Hyperledger Cactus, wrote dci-lint — a tool to help find non-inclusive language in any git repository based on terms you choose to look for.

This change is overdue on the part of open source in general, and Hyperledger specifically. At the time of writing, for instance, Hyperledger has 94 repos on GitHub that use master as the default branch, compared to 34 that use something else.

If you would like try DCI-lint, navigate to the webpage:

Put in a repo to check, as well as the terms to check for:

Click “lint it”:

Using tools such as dci-lint, we’re working with the community to find and remove these terms.

If you’re interested in learning more about how other open source projects and companies are creating resources and taking steps to remove harmful language from source code, check out the Inclusive Naming Initiative.

How you can help make the community more welcoming

This change alone won’t make Hyperledger a community where everyone feels included, although it is one example of how to remove barriers to contribution. There are certainly other things that can be done to make Hyperledger more inclusive and diverse and we welcome your input on what else we should be doing. Please feel free to post to the Diversity Civility and Inclusion mailing list, or join our regular DCI calls with your suggestions and ideas.

Weekend Update: This Week’s Round-up of Remote Blockchain Learning Resources

By Blog, Weekend Update

Welcome to the Weekend Update. Our goal with this weekly post is to share quick updates about online education, networking and collaboration opportunities and resources for the open source enterprise blockchain community. 

If you have suggestions for resources or events that we should spotlight in a future Weekend  Update, let us know here using #HLWeekendUpdate. 

Hyperledger Climate Action and Accountability Special Interest Group Guest Speakers:  Tom Baumann and Henry Kim

Join the Climate Action and Accountability SIG meeting for a presentation on “Towards Ontology and Blockchain-Based Measurement, Reporting and Verification for Climate Action.” Climate action accounting, often referred to as measurement, reporting and verification (MRV), has many challenges that digital solutions can help resolve. Although blockchain in combination with IoT and other digital technologies can help to address climate data track and trace in support of climate finance and resources to support climate actions (e.g., climate-smart agriculture), there remains the basic challenge that MRV standards, and the MRV standards system itself, is fragmented and archaic. This is not only a climate issue but is a major problem of “greenwashing” claims. Therefore, digital solutions also need to be leveraged to support a nextgen MRV standards systems. 

For more information on the meeting, which is Tuesday, January 26, 2020, at 9:00 PST, go here.

Hyperledger in-depth: An hour with ConsenSys

Danno Ferrin and Ratan (Rai) Sur of ConsenSys as well as Peter Somogyvari from Accenture will guide a conversation about “What Ethereum is for the Hyperledger Community.” This is your chance to pose Ethereum questions to experts in the field who spend their time building and using Ethereum everyday. Expect a highly collaborative and interactive session with leaders in Ethereum and Hyperledger communities and to learn best practices and gain technical insights into Hyperledger’s Ethereum projects.

Tune on Wednesday, January 27, at 11:00 PST. For more information and to register, go here.

In case you missed the Hyperledger In-depth session with Bosch on “Scaling DLTs with the Perun Framework,” the recording is available here

Hyperledger Telecom Special Interest Group Guest Speaker: Madhusanka Liyanage, University College Dublin, Ireland 

Dial into the Telecom SIG meeting to learn more about the role of blockchain in private 5G operators realization. 5G is a promising technology for supporting different verticals and novel applications such as Industrial Internet of Things IoT (IIoT), smart cities, autonomous vehicles, remote surgeries, virtual and augmented reality and so on. However, these verticals have a diverse set of network connectivity requirements and sometimes it is challenging to deliver customized services for each vertical by using a typical wide area 5Gnetwork. Thus, the operation of Local 5G operator (L5GO) networks or private 5G networks are considered as a viable option to tackle this challenge. However, the deployment of private 5G networks raises various issues and challenges related to the management of subscribers, roaming users, spectrum, security and also the infrastructure. This talk will cover these issues and challenges and propose possible solutions by using blockchain-based platforms. 

For more information on the meeting, which is Thursday, January 28, 2020, at 9AM PST, go here.

Case Study: Kiva launches Africa’s first decentralized National ID system using Hyperledger Indy, Ursa and Aries

Learn more about how the Kiva Protocol is powering fast, cheap, and secure identity verification for the citizens of Sierra Leone, a West African nation of about 7 million people, in this new case study.

Virtual Meetups

See the full Virtual Meetup schedule here

Meet the Hyperledger India Chapter community! – Part II

By Blog, Regional Chapter

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2020 has been a tough year for everyone. The world is now in a new phase, where no one knows when things will return back to normal. It is really bitter and harsh. Yet, despite obvious hardships, the crisis inspired innovations and, yes, encouraged a lot of community contributions.

This Year Saintgits College of Engineering joined hands with Hyperledger India Chapter to organise “Women in Blockchain – a Panel Discussion,” with an objective to accelerate the powerful partnerships of women to lead in the education, development and promotion of blockchain technologies. There has always been a general conception that technology is hostile to women. There are people who believe technology is not feminine. There are people who question the ability of a woman to start a business. They believe women are too risk-averse to start a new business. It’s high time these age-old myths were busted. They need to be busted from their very roots. “Women in Blockchain” was the right platform to bring in amazing women from the field of blockchain technology who have placed their imprints in the technical arena. The event aimed to be a myth breaker demonstrating to the world how successful women have overcome their barriers to be world class leaders in blockchain technology, highlighting their accomplishments in the community and offering actionable tips for “How to start a successful career in Blockchain.

The following female voices were there on the panel.

  • Dr. Jane Thomason, Co-Founder and Chief Inspiration Officer of Fintech Worldwide
  • Ms. Shalini Warrier, Executive Director, Chief Operating Officer and Business Head 
  • Ms. Nappinai N S, Advocate, Supreme Court of India 
  • Ms. Darshitha Gillies, CEO Maanch; Advisor, Impact Investor; Philanthropist 
  • Ms. Sosu Alex, Blockchain Technical Architect at Tata Consultancy Services 

In addition, we also had the privilege of organising the Hyperledger Asia Pacific Study Circle for the course “Introduction to Hyperledger Blockchain Technologies” by the Linux Foundation, which is hosted in the edX platform. Since this is an introductory course, we focused on  nontechnical, business-oriented audiences and students so as to equip them with basics of Hyperledger technologies and eventually prepare them to take the certification exam by the Linux Foundation.

Looking forward to contributing more, and I request everyone who is involved in blockchain space to join our journey.

Aneena Ann Alexander
Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Saintgits College of Engineering-Kerala

Hyperledger turned five this year, a great milestone for Hyperledger and its community. I started this year by getting acquainted with Hyperledger India Chapter (HIRC) and its first event of the year, “HyperHack 2020.” I participated with my team and won the Hackathon as runner-up. It was a well executed event by the community and saw participation from across Asia Pacific. I had been working on various Hyperledger project implementations, but this event got me and many others like me to connect to the India community.

I also got introduced to the “Hyperledger Noida Meetup Group” and became its co-organizer. 

During the middle of the year, HIRC organized the “Blockchain Stories 2020” event. That saw huge participation by industry and academic experts who shared their blockchain journey, solutions and experiences. I myself participated at the event and shared our product and experience with the community. Along with many enthusiasts, I got the chance to volunteer at the event. It was a great success that helped the community membership grow and achieve 1,000 followers and beyond.

In the last quarter of the year, HIRC organized “Blockchain Techfest,” which allowed the community to know about various Hyperledger projects, connect with their maintainers and learn how we can contribute to them. Volunteering at this event and at the “5th year anniversary” got me connected to many other Hyperledger enthusiasts and various meetup group organizers and gave me the opportunity to work with them to spread the word.

I feel that this journey has just begun. I am looking forward to contributing to the community more actively here in India and abroad; and to a better new year for all who live on this Earth, people, plants, animals and birds alike.

Vikram Sharma
Certified Hyperledger Fabric Administrator
Senior Blockchain Architect,  HCL Technologies Ltd.
Co-organizer, Hyperledger Noida Meetup Group
Member, Hyperledger India Chapter 

Every journey starts with a challenge, and challenges become memories and memories become a service. With that said, my exploration started with the Hyperledger India Chapter, and it’s time to share the memories. The year started with small but committed community members sharing their thoughts and answering questions on Hyperledger projects, helping learners to begin their journey. Fast forward to today, and we see a much larger community of members sharing their thoughts and answering questions brought up by new learners.

Many individuals from the India community do participate in Hyperledger project meetings, working groups and special interest groups. I am proud to be part of the Language Translations WG, Learning Material Development WG and Climate Action SIG, as well as the Besu, Iroha, Sawtooth and Indy projects.  

The members have shared their solutions and tutorials to increase awareness and build community participation. The number of blockchain enthusiasts showing their interest in Hyperledger India Chapter activities is remarkable.

While 2020 turned out to be a milestone year, there is more to achieve in 2021. I wish for and I will make every effort to build an even stronger and better community for Hyperledger.

Ravi Vasagam
Blockchain & DevOps Consultant
CTO, ENACT eSolutions

This blog post concludes our series of blog posts featuring the community. The very first event of 2021 is planned to be held in March. HyperHack 2021 will be organized in collaboration with the Saintgits College of Engineering. Reach out to the co-leads of the Hyperledger India Chapter for more information to know how you or your organization can be part of the event.

Special thanks to Amol Kulkarni for laying the cornerstone to the Hyperledger India Chapter. Also, gratitude to Shon Joseph, Ajay Jadhav, Kiran Kalyan Kulkarni, Ankita Patidar, Lakshay Gaur, meetup organizers across the country, event coordinators, poster masters and many more. They have all been a major part of our journey this year!

We would have loved to hear from all of you in this blog series.

Want to join us? Join the Hyperledger India Chapter mailing list, follow us on LinkedIn, chat with us on Rocket.Chat.

Kiva Protocol, Built on Hyperledger Indy, Ursa and Aries, Powers Africa’s First Decentralized National ID system

By Blog, Hyperledger Aries, Hyperledger Indy, Hyperledger Ursa

For the 1.7 billion unbanked adults around the world, access to financial services is extremely limited. Without even a basic savings account, economic opportunity is often limited to informal offerings such as local shopkeepers who extend credit to their customers, microfinance institutions that work to serve the last mile, and community savings and credit associations that are setup by individuals living in the same village.

In the unbanked world, individuals borrow a few hundred to a few thousand dollars at a time, paying back over a relatively short time frame of 12-18 months. But despite excellent credit records, they are unable to receive even similar credit facilities at local banks. This is because the data from their informal transactions is essentially invisible: the banks either do not trust the data sources, or are otherwise unable to verify the provenance of the data.

While this is the state of the world today, it does not have to be our future. Kiva, a US-based nonprofit organization focused on financial inclusion, has built Kiva Protocol to bridge the data disconnect and help enable universal financial access. In 2019, Sierra Leone, a West African nation of about 7 million, launched the National Digital Identity Platform (NDIP) that used Kiva Protocol to enable fast, cheap, and secure identity verification for its citizens.

Kiva Protocol is built using Hyperledger Indy, Aries, and Ursa, and as implemented in Sierra Leone, allows citizens to perform electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC) verifications in about 11 seconds, using just their national ID number and a fingerprint. With this verification, it is possible for the nation’s unbanked to open a savings account and move into the formally banked population.

To find the right platform, Kiva assessed more than 20 software stacks, both centralized and decentralized. Blockchain and decentralized ledger technologies quickly emerged as good solutions for the developing world as they enable data provenance at the protocol level and stakeholders can act relatively independently to enable their various activities in the formal and informal sectors.

After deep consideration, Kiva decided to use Hyperledger’s stack for identity: Indy, Aries, Ursa. While all three projects are closely related, each has a distinct mandate:

  • Hyperledger Indy is a distributed ledger purpose-built for decentralized ID with transferable, private, and secure credentials;
  • Hyperledger Aries is infrastructure that supports interactions between peers and between blockchains and other DLTs; and
  • Hyperledger Ursa is a modular, flexible library that enables developers to share time-tested and secure cryptography.

In August 2019, Kiva launched the beta of Kiva Protocol with a public event opened by the president of Sierra Leone. Since that launch, global regulators have made significant progress in terms of how they are considering digital identity and eKYC verifications. There is a growing global movement towards user-owned and -controlled data, better privacy, and more universal access. 

As of today, Kiva is focusing on building additional ecosystem applications and services to make it easier for all stakeholders to access and use Kiva Protocol. Much of this is being contributed upstream into the Hyperledger Indy and Aires projects, with the remaining components hosted in Kiva’s repository.

Hyperledger teamed up with Kiva on a detailed case study covering the challenges of the unbanked, requirements for a solution that delivers fast, cheap and secure ID exchange, and plans for expanding Kiva Protocols’ use to other countries and other applications. 

Read the full case study here.

Meet the Hyperledger India Chapter community!

By Blog, Regional Chapter

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Like many of us, my interest in blockchain started with Bitcoin. As novel applications started emerging using blockchain and excitement began to reach a high pitch for this technology, my interest grew deep. I realized that this technology can solve many social issues. I have chosen the area of blockchain for my academic project.

At the same time, the relatively new programming languages such as Go, Rust and Swift that are used in blockchain development were in my mind so digging deeper into technology means I can gain much more for the investment of time. 

I have a practical problem to be solved. The problem is how to ensure that the logs generated by various systems are not tampered with. Naturally, blockchain is one of the technology options for solving that problem and, in fact, is an affordable candidate.

I considered Exonum and Hyperledger Sawtooth as they both have Rust SDKs. Meanwhile, I succeeded in installing Hyperledger Sawtooth in AWS Cloud, and, since then, Sawtooth and Rust have become my technical stack. During this installation, I started communicating with the Hyperledger Sawtooth mailing list.

Rust has a steep learning curve but delivers beautiful results. Initially, I depended on Sawtooth documentation, but it was not comprehensive for the early stage of the work. I depended on Rust User-Lang forum, which is a fantastic group, and the Hyperledger Sawtooth mailing list. At this point, Arun S M had responded to my queries. He politely answered my questions. Mr. Arun shared his Rust code, which stood as an example. On glancing this, I got some ideas on using Rust in Sawtooth and developed my code. As I was less busy during Covid lockdown, I spent a lot of time understanding Rust and Sawtooth SDKs, which helped me a lot. In addition, Dan Anderson’s videos helped me.

At last, the project has come up very nicely, and I could demonstrate to find out whether a log generated by a system is  tampered with or not. You can find the presentation in the Hyperledger YouTube channel as part 1 and part 2.

I’m interested in Distributed Algorithms and wish to work towards trustable distributed systems. I’m more interested in subtle things. But you all know, interests mutate along the axis of time. If my health permits, I would like to contribute more, which can bring deep satisfaction to me. 

The technologies like blockchain can certainly solve social problems, and I’m sure these technologies can bring next generation eGov applications and platforms.

S Gopinath
National Informatics Center, Chennai

2020 as a year has been extremely challenging for all of us, for known reasons. However, that being said, there were a lot of innovative and productive actions taken by organizations and individuals across the globe.

Personally this year has been immensely satisfactory with respect to my activities related to blockchain. During this year, I successfully  completed the Blockchain for Business certificate course from Linux Foundations through edX. Also I became a Certified Blockchain Solutions Architect from BTA. I have been actively volunteering with the Hyperledger India Chapter this year. If you don’t know already, the Hyperledger India chapter is a vibrant community focused on encouraging more participation in Hyperledger from this part of the world. As you would have noticed in the accomplishments list, we have done quite a lot  in 2020.

In 2021, we, as a chapter, have some interesting and challenging activities planned like increased student outreach, reaching out to the industry to talk about the success stories, building a strong network, and much more. I hope to continue my volunteering activities in industry outreach. And I would request more people who are involved in building blockchain products and interested in learning and contributing to join us in this journey.

Wishing you all a happy New Year.

Sunitha Chandrasekaran
Engineering Manager, Sabre India

The year 2020 was where we completed a PoC on blockchain and also worked towards moving to production. I started volunteering with the Hyperledger India Chapter this  year, and it has been great to network with several blockchain experts from this region. The weekly meetings provide great insights into several Hyperledger projects and how newbies can join and contribute to them. The Blockchain Stories 2020 series and the Blockchain Techfest 2020 series provided an opportunity to share in depth about business use cases for enterprise blockchain and also knowledge around the Hyperledger ecosystem. These sessions also were great sources of the information on how to deploy/manage a production grade implementation. Julian and Brian gave us all volunteers a warm welcome to celebrate Hyperledger’s 5th Anniversary. They bring in so much energy/enthusiasm and manage to stay  connected with members from different time zones round the clock. I am looking forward to connecting and contributing to the lab projects that the Hyperledger India Chapter has planned in the year 2021.

Rajesh Krishnan
Distinguished Member of Technical Staff and Sr Technical Architect
Dell Technologies

“Tough times never last, tough people do!” ~ Robert H Schuller

This famous quote by Robert Schuller summarises most of our 2020 journey. It was bitter; it was challenging and, obviously, it was a hell of a lot harder than what we expected on new year’s eve of 2020, but here we are. Even through all these struggles, there are certain glimpses of hope or progress that has happened in our lives during this tough year. For me, personally, it was the opportunity to give back to the community.

This year I was given the opportunity to coordinate the student outreach program of Hyperledger India Chapter. Being an active member of various student and professional societies made the task much easier for me. In fact, we pulled together the first iteration of the same in a matter of days, all thanks to Arun S M, Kamlesh Nagavare, and the volunteers from IEEE Computer Society Kerala Chapter.

That being said, I am confident that Hyperledger India Chapter will spearhead a lot more of these student outreach programs and will be an evangelist of Hyperledger and enterprise blockchain among the growing student and professional circuits of the subcontinent.

Make sure you keep watching this space. A lot more is going to happen in 2021.

Athil Gafoor
Head of Blockchain
Phaethon Technologies

In the next blog post, you will hear from one of the Hyperledger members, Saintgits College of Engineering. Aneena Ann Alexander, a pioneer and a role model for women engineers, pens down her thoughts on Women in Blockchain.

Weekend Update: This Week’s Round-up of Remote Blockchain Learning Resources

By Blog, Weekend Update

Welcome to the Weekend Update. Our goal with this weekly post is to share quick updates about online education, networking and collaboration opportunities and resources for the open source enterprise blockchain community. 

If you have suggestions for resources or events that we should spotlight in a future Weekend Update, let us know here using #HLWeekendUpdate. 

Hyperledger in-depth: An hour with…

A new year means a new approach to online events. The biweekly Hyperledger webinars have been reimaged as Hyperledger in-depth: An hour with… and will be conversations hosted by leading players in the blockchain space sharing learnings from their projects and trying to answer all the hard questions about the pains of working with DLTs.

First up: Scaling DLTs with the Perun Framework, an hour with Bosch. Tune in on Wednesday, January 20, at 10:00am GMT. 

Input Needed: Proposed Hyperledger Media & Entertainment Special Interest Group 

Are you interested in how DLTs can solve long-standing problems in the creation, fair distribution and legally appropriate attribution of media assets? Check out the proposal and sign up to help create a Hyperledger Media & Entertainment SIG.

Virtual Meetups

See the full Virtual Meetup schedule here

Removing Barriers to Contribution with Regional Community Chapters

By Blog, Regional Chapter

In a global community it is important to recognize that different people in different areas face different barriers. Perhaps the barriers to entry for English speakers in Silicon Valley with fast internet connections are very low, but what is the contribution experience for others?

Successful open source communities make sure that the barriers to entry and contribution are low. Even if your community has done work to make it easy to contribute and if many people have already gotten involved, there could still be many significant barriers that you don’t know about.  

It can come as a surprise to find out that potential community members may think that your project is not inclusive and is a place where they are not welcome. Identifying and dealing with barriers on a regional level will help create a diverse community that includes contributors from around the globe.

Empowering and supporting people developing local, community-led efforts is the best path to addressing the needs of each region. Hyperledger community members have recently been forming regional chapters that bring together people of a common language, culture or geography to collaborate on activities that are relevant for people in those areas.

In just two years, we have launched the India, Brazil, Latinoamerica, Africa and Italian regional chapters.  This post shares details about how these local chapters have dealt with some of the barriers to contribution that people in different parts of the world face. The structure of these chapters owes a lot to the regional community building that other open source projects, like Mozilla, have done. 

Language barriers

Most people in the world don’t speak English, but most of the meetings, discussions, events and other Hyperledger community activities are conducted in English. This isn’t a barrier for English speakers, but it is a huge barrier for people who speak other languages.

The regional chapters have started to address this by creating material and having discussions in a range of different languages. Hyperledger’s 2020 Annual Report has a nice visualization of the community activities that happened in multiple languages last year, including meetups, training, documentation and more.

Cultural barriers

Hyperledger has created a Code of Conduct to establish what sort of behavior is acceptable and unacceptable in the community. However, there are times when people show up and violate those guidelines, and that is a barrier for people who experience that behavior.  

As virtual meetings became the norm during the pandemic, so did the unfortunate by-product of “zoombombing.” This refers to the unwanted, disruptive intrusion, generally by Internet trolls, into a video-conference call. Unfortunately, we live in a world where some people do not respect people from other cultures, and we have had this happen to some community members.

Last year, members of the Hyperledger community in Africa ran a virtual meetup, and it was disrupted by people who dialed in to harass those who were trying to participate. Verbal abuse and inappropriate comments in the chat transpired, and the event had to be stopped. That meetup was rescheduled, and it went well. However, in the next meetup the same community in Africa organized, there were again people who dialed in and disrupted the event.

Those incidents drained a lot of momentum and enthusiasm from the community members who were organizing those events. In response, we changed how we configured the Zoom accounts used for community calls to filter out people seeking to disrupt events. With these safeguards now in place, the community in Africa is making plans to resume events in 2021. It is vital for Hyperledger to create an environment where these community members can contribute successfully if we are going to be a truly inclusive open source project.

Time zones and technical barriers

Whenever a community discussion happens in real time, whether on a call, at an event or in a chat channel, there will be people who have difficulty participating because of time zones. It is not unusual to be on a call where someone is joining in at midnight their time. There is no time of the day when everyone is awake and working, so this is a big challenge for open source communities. Real-time activities aren’t evenly distributed though, and a bulk of Hyperledger community meetings happen at a time that works well for people in Europe and the Americas.

The India Chapter has addressed the  time zone issue  by creating a wide range of meetings and events that happen at times that work well for the local community. Running these events and also having some community members participate in the global community activities provides an easier way for people in India to contribute and also maintain a bridge to the rest of the community.

Sometimes people can’t join in community discussions or activities at all because access to tools is restricted. Some countries, such as China, as well as some large companies block access to tools that are frequently used by community members, such as Zoom and Google Docs. And there are countries where the Internet infrastructure is not robust and stable, making it a challenge to join a live video call. In these cases, people in a region need to find alternate tools that can be accessed and then find ways to be a bridge to connect local activities with the rest of the community.

Get Involved

The Regional Chapters have become a great way for community members to connect, especially during the pandemic since we haven’t been running local in-person meetups.  Increasing collaboration among areas in different regions has brought about greater participation and diversity to Hyperledger’s community.

Removing barriers to participation and expanding inclusion will always be a work in progress. There may be other barriers to entry in other regions that we haven’t identified yet as well as other examples of success stories. We welcome any feedback, suggestions, and lessons learned you have about how to make our community more diverse and inclusive for community members across the globe.  A great place to share your thoughts on this is the Diversity Civility and Inclusion Working Group’s mailing list.  Please feel free to subscribe to that list, introduce yourself and let us know what you think.

Cover image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay.

Introducing “Hyperledger In-depth: An hour with…”

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Labs

2020 was the Virtual Year (although many of us would prefer if 2020 virtually never happened). So last March, as the world transitioned to its new virtual state, we launched our webinar series. In the 10 months since, we’ve learned quite a lot. 

First, there is amazing content out there that is worth sharing. Our members gave some great talks, and the attendance was incredible. We were really able to make up for the lack of in-person conferences. Second, it didn’t take long for us all to get tired of being on Zoom. There are only so many waking hours in the day and, for many, 70% of those are  spent on virtual meetings, many of which, let’s be honest, do not require our participation. 

How do we get out of this seemingly impossible situation and help our community connect online in a meaningful way? We are introducing a new concept: “Hyperledger In-depth: An hour with… .” In this series, Hyperledger members share learnings from their projects and try to answer all the hard questions about the pains of working with DLTs. It is not yet another webinar: participants will be encouraged to take part, come with prepared questions and voice opinions. Expect live demos and tutorials, stories from the battle field and hopefully some heated discussions. Let’s get out of the Zoom fatigue and engage to share experiences and build a stronger community.

This is exciting! We do think that with more active, engaging conversations, you will find the meetings really useful. We hope you can help us by recommending the program to your friends and colleagues – the more people, the more opinions and the better the discussions! But that’s not all. We are also bringing some more international, non-American centric vibe.

Starting January 20, we will hold webinars in two time zones so that, if you are in APAC, you will still get a chance to participate live and join the discussion. Of course, as always, all sessions will be recorded and available in our VOD library. Finally, we will now be also providing non-English content. We want to celebrate the diverse and vibrant community we have. Some of our most active members are in South Africa, India and Russia We do not want to exclude anyone! It is the host that will decide what language they will be running the session in, and we will work hard to get the slides and summary of the session in English for all of us non-polyglots. 

On January 20, come join us for the first session of the year, which will be devoted to discussing Scaling DLTs with the Perun Framework, led by Bosch. On January 27, ConsenSys will host part one of a mini-series on collaboration between the Ethereum and Hyperledger communities. The session, What is Ethereum for the Hyperledger community?, will be an AMA and a design thinking session. 

The Hyperledger In-depth calendar will be very busy as we will continue to have two events a month. Every first Wednesday of the month you can tune in at 7pm UK/2pm EST/11am PST. On the third Wednesday of every month, join us at 10am UK/7pm Japan time. Below is a sneak preview of the plan for Q1 (it might change as we are still confirming hosts):

To register, make sure to check out the event page on our website and follow us on Twitter

Hyperledger India Chapter in 2020

By Blog, Regional Chapter

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Blockchain technology adoption and the startup ecosystem around it within the Indian subcontinent reached new heights in the year 2020. The Government of India announced a blockchain center of excellence where the technology is being evaluated for adoption across multitude of areas. The Hyperledger regional chapter was inaugurated in early 2019 to bolster blockchain technology in India and rapidly spread its wings in 2020.

Below are a few of the chapter’s accomplishments in the year 2020:

  • HyperHack 2020: The first ever blockchain-run, blockchain-based hackathon to attract teams from across the Asia Pacific region. Prizes worth $10,000 USD were distributed through sponsors.
  • Blockchain Stories 2020: A platform for sharing stories and learning from each other. The event, which drew speakers from over 25 organizations across the Asia Pacific, was spread across five  weeks and had over 1,000 participants.
  • Women in Blockchain: A panel discussion organized in association with the Saintgits College of Engineering with distinguished speakers from the India diaspora. The event also featured renowned names in blockchain technology.
  • Blockchain Hype to Reality: An event aimed at answering the startup ecosystem that echoed the mantra of Vocal for Local. It attracted a crowd of over 1,500 from across the Asia Pacific region.
  • Blockchain Techfest 2020: An opportunity for technology enthusiasts to meet, greet and learn from the maintainers of different Hyperledger projects. The event, held in three sessions across three weeks, covered nine Hyperledger projects..

The year also saw improvement in the way community meetings are run. The chapter adopted a more structured format for running meetings and making decisions as well as an option to hear from everybody in the community, which led to increased participation. LinkedIn engagement also increased with more than 2,300 enthusiasts showing interest in the chapter’s activities in the last year. The chapter has also produced over 25 videos on the Hyperledger YouTube channel.

Members of the India community also have taken on an increasing number of leadership roles with Hypereldger at the global level. We have chapter members actively involved in the Hyperledger technical steering committee, as maintainers and contributors across all the projects within the Hyperledger greenhouse and as noticeable contributors in special interest groups and working group activities.

The community activities have accelerated in the region. One example of the quick pace of activity: The idea of student outreach led to an immediate invite from the IEEE Computer Society Kerala Chapter. While we are still defining quarterly goals for the year 2021, here is the gist of what to expect in the coming year:

  1. Additional student outreach and the possibility of a Hyperledger India Chapter – Student Wing.
  2. Industry outreach aimed at bridging the booming startup ecosystem with the industry experts.
  3. Aligning the blockchain activities with the broader effort to make India an innovation hub.
  4. A second edition of HyperHack, a hackathon with problem statements that are more relevant to the region. Plans include special consideration for student submissions to encourage the participation. There will also be a lineup of learning activities priori.
  5. A 2021 edition of our most popular event, Blockchain Stories, with the aim of increased participation and a new wave of success stories to be shared.

Here is the statement of gratitude from the co-leads of the Hyperledger India Chapter. Arun S M is a senior software engineer at Walmart and also a technical steering committee member at Hyperledger. Kamesh Nagware is a VP Blockchain Technology at Snapper Future Tech as well as an active contributor to the Climate Action & Accounting and Trade Finance SIGs at Hyperledger.

“It is amazing to see how a vibrant and diverse set of people come together for a cause, in this case blockchain technology and Hyperledger. India is a diverse country, and its strength lies in its diversity. We at the Hyperledger India Chapter brought together the finest like-minded people from across the country under one roof.

From running the community meetings once a week as a forum for answering technical questions to having  the weekly trackable activities, it was a long journey. The community stood by us through this transformational path. We did multiple experiments with our activities through the year. At the end, we are happy for what has come out of it.

When it was the time to organize events, we were quick to identify that going virtual is inevitable. Also, the geographical location advantage India provides has made it easy for us to connect with the audiences across Asia Pacific, Middle East Asia and Europe. The continued engagement of volunteers and the  interest shown by the blockchain enthusiasts has propelled us to do even more. This feeling of ours echoed through the feedback, emails, YouTube viewership and the number of times these events were spoken about across the globe.

Hyperledger India Chapter carried the strong bond it built across Asia Pacific region, and it shows up in the continued engagement we have with the enthusiasts outside Indian territory.

On Dec 17th, 2020, Hyperledger marked five  years since its inception. On Dec 18th, Hyperledger hosted an open networking event for the Asia Pacific region as part of its 5th anniversary celebration. The event attracted an overwhelming crowd from across India.

We couldn’t be more proud of what the Hyperledger India Chapter accomplished in the year 2020. It is all possible because of the ever increasing enthusiasm we see in the community. All roads now lead to 2021. We are excited to have more community engagement in the coming year!

 We look forward to having more technical contributions from the region in 2021 and  call on all of you residing in Indian subcontinent to join our weekly calls. Let us build a better future holding hands together.

All of this would not be possible without the help of staff at the Hyperledger. Everybody at Hyperledger has stood by us. Dorothy Cheng and David Boswell specifically have eased most of our jobs.”

“Since the launch of the Hyperledger India Chapter in early 2019, it has been a pleasure for me to work with this inspiring group of volunteers, dedicated to supporting Hyperledger technologies, open source collaboration, sharing information and assisting the India blockchain community. 2020 has been a challenging year. It has been heartening to see the innovative ways the India Chapter has found to share information and support the blockchain community – in India, across Asia Pacific and globally.

In 2020 the India Chapter created and ran engaging events online – from it’s HyperHack hackathon, to the informative Blockchain Stories series, to it’s Women in Blockchain event and much more. It set up exciting programmes in areas such as student outreach and tirelessly worked to meet, communicate with and support the community.

The India Chapter was the first of its kind in the Hyperledger community, and it has inspired the creation of Chapters around the world.

The India Chapter has grown immensely and accelerated its development in 2020. I am excited to see how they build on their successes as we move into 2021 and face the challenges and opportunities ahead. I know they will bring energy, commitment and inspiration to all that they do.

There are so many in the Hyperledger India Chapter who deserve recognition and thanks from the Hyperledger community. I would particularly like to thank Arun S M and Kamlesh Nagware for their great leadership in 2020.

I look forward to working with the Hyperledger India Chapter in 2021.”

From all of us at the Hyperledger India Chapter, we wish you all a very Happy New Year!

In this series of blog posts, you will hear from many of our active volunteers on what the year 2020 and the Hyperledger India Chapter brought to them.

Cover image by motionstock from Pixabay.

Blockchain technology for healthcare data management

By Blog, Healthcare, Hyperledger Fabric

The accelerating digitization of the healthcare sector has led to the creation of large volumes of sensitive data stored online. Swiss eHealth strategy promotes the adoption of the electronic patient record to allow registered patients and authorized healthcare professionals to access medical data anytime and anywhere. To achieve this, a reliable, compliant, and privacy-preserving solution is required to support definition, maintenance, and enforcement of fine-grained authorizations (consents). Convergence of distributed ledger technology and intelligent data management approaches provides a unique opportunity to bring trust, transparency, auditability, and optimization of medical data management and other healthcare processes. 

Recent research works and numerous PoC implementations actively demonstrate the value of blockchain technology for connecting health care stakeholders in order to help maintain a complete history of patient’s health care data, ensure traceability of the data exchange and automate claims and reimbursement processing. Transparent and auditable prescription monitoring may help to avoid incompatibility of the prescribed medications and can provide incentives for writing fewer prescriptions for certain medications such as opioids. In the pharmaceutical supply chain, blockchain can bring traceability to the tracking of pharmaceutical goods, from verification of the producer, to the transportation and storage conditions and control over drugs returned to the pharmaceutical company. Applying blockchain technology in biomedical research may facilitate new ways for patients to contribute with their healthcare data while ensuring privacy and security and  may  speed-up participant recruitment and collection of large and integrated heterogeneous data. When building such heterogeneous datasets, ensuring authenticity of the data and their sources is essential in order to make informed unbiased decisions and get valuable insights from the data. 

What are the important aspects and potential hurdles that deserve attention from practitioners when employing blockchain in the healthcare settings? While domain-specific requirements to the system functionality vary depending on the application, desirable properties of a resilient healthcare infrastructure for management of the sensitive data distributed among multiple sources are: data and process interoperability, privacy, security, and compliance. For instance, in the case of connecting healthcare stakeholders to facilitate management of patients’ history, some of the most important requirements are ensuring patients’ rights to access and share their sensitive data but also to erase their personal data. To achieve these, the system must ensure interoperability (i.e., must have the ability to exchange and interpret the data) and must be privacy-preserving (i.e, the patients must be able to have full control over the sharing/access revocation/erasure of their data). 

Data erasure (i.e., the possibility to erase the data) itself is not an “out-of-the box property” of the blockchain technology. It is challenging to comply with the right of data erasure when using immutable ledger. However, different approaches exist to address this issue including off-chain management of sensitive data, privacy-preserving techniques (such as encryption, zero-knowledge proofs (ZKP), secure multi-party computations (MPC), and data pseudonymization and anonymization. If anonymized data are released, a reliable infrastructure is required to support a trustworthy collaborative environment and to verify that the data were not altered. 

The choice of the appropriate approach depends on the underlying blockchain technology, the number of participants in the network and the sensitivity and volume of the data, among others. Moreover, patient control over his identifiable data and his actions (for instance, providing consent or authorizations) has to be efficiently verifiable and compatible with access to the data in an emergency situation such as when the patient is unconscious.

Hyperledger Fabric is a permissioned blockchain technology framework that has been actively employed in the implementations of blockchain-based systems for healthcare data management. To ensure privacy of data subjects, Fabric mainly relies (i) on multiple channels support, which make it possible to limit the access to the data to certain participants of the consortia, and (ii) on private collections where sensitive data can be exchanged peer-to-peer and stored in the private databases, yet accessible from chaincode on authorized peers and hashed to verify authenticity. Storing only hash on-chain is also used to provide verifiability of vast amounts of anonymized data for data-driven research and applications. In this case, contrary to limiting the access to the data, it is of a high importance to set up a reliable multi-cloud environment and collaborative framework – a step forward towards attaining interoperability. 

Blockchain infrastructure offered by Swisscom provides support for multi-cloud environments. Multiple non-endorsing peers provided by Swisscom are now dedicated to support verifiability of public COVID-19 related data, as a part of the multi-party, multi-source verifiable data sharing platform MiPasa. To address the scale of the problem, the types of data, languages, time-zones and jurisdictions,- many vendors joined forces to strengthen and support this blockchain-based shared infrastructure to unlock the potential of the data and deliver integrated, trusted, and verifiable insights across multiple industries around the globe.