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Developer Showcase Series: Mark Anthony Morris, Tarantula Technology, Inc

By Blog, Developer Showcase

Back to our Developer Showcase Series to learn what developers in the real world are doing with Hyperledger technologies. Next up is Mark Anthony Morris from Tarantula Technology.

What advice would you offer other technologists or developers interested in getting started working on blockchain?

Focus on Hyperledger projects because Hyperledger is all about blockchain in the enterprise. The interest and use of enterprise blockchain is rapidly growing. In the next couple of years, skills in enterprise blockchain will be in great demand.

Give a bit of background on what you’re working on, and let us know what was it that made you want to get into blockchain?

My work in blockchain is multifaceted. I enjoy lecturing on, writing about, training on, hosting meetups for, designing, and developing blockchain technology. Currently, I am working on launching a blockchain-based startup company, which is developing a SaaS for enterprise and government solutions. I am co-authoring a book for O’Reilly Media titled, “Hands-on Smart Contract Development with Hyperledger Fabric V2,” and author and conduct a 90-minutes to Hyperledger Fabric online training through O’Reilly Media. I host monthly Hyperledger meetups and consult for select clients in need of expertise and guidance on blockchain technology, as well as cybersecurity and advanced enterprise and cloud computing.

I became enthralled with blockchain on a quiet Saturday in early 2015 when I downloaded and began reading the C/C++ source code for Bitcoin. I was not excited about the cryptocurrency use case, Bitcoin, because I had already invented a peer-to-peer funds exchange solution. When I reached the blockchain code, everything changed. I immediately saw the potential use in enterprise and government. I realized it had the capability for ushering in a transformational change to process and collaboration. From that moment I could not get blockchain out of my head. I began reading, studying, learning everything I could find on blockchain, including the use case cryptocurrency, which I see as evolutionary for token use, and eventually a replacement for fiat, manifesting the epoch in the historical evolution of money. I armed myself with the knowledge I needed to design, develop, invent, consult, and teach blockchain technology, which I vigorously continue to pursue.

What project in Hyperledger are you working on? Any new developments to share? Can you sum up your experience with Hyperledger?

I design and develop enterprise and government SaaS solutions powered by Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Sawtooth. I am currently developing Fabric and Sawtooth interoperability software while integrating a suite of enterprise applications, like ERP, CRM, CMS, ECOMM, HR, and MRP, as well as AI, AR, IoT, and robotics. My aim is to build a complete enterprise and government SaaS solution targeting complex, diverse, and simple supply chains and marketplaces.

The future for large-scale Hyperledger blockchain technology is bright. I see great interest in the type of SaaS blockchain platform I am developing. For example, I am in early talks and beginning to work with two governments. In one case, the discussions are around a blockchain solution for ecommerce and tax collection. In the other, the focus is on industrial hemp regulation, an agricultural co-op for industrial hemp processing, and a Class 1 railroad consulting company for rail automation. The use cases for blockchain are very diverse, and interest for blockchain solutions will only grow as more and more solutions demonstrate a profitable ROI with a production status.

My experience with Hyperledger began in 2016 when the Linux Foundation first created the project. I immediately founded a meetup I called Austin Hyperledger. It was renamed Hyperledger Austin six months later when the Hyperledger Foundation reached out to me, asking me if I would be interested in running one of the first official Hyperledger Meetups in the world. I graciously accepted, and we now have 750+ members. I was ready because, in 2015 shortly after founding the meetup called Austin Blockchain Technology (2,200+ members), I publicly predicted IBM would announce its formation of an enterprise blockchain initiative within a year or sooner. It was my gut instinct, garnered from a career as independent hired-gun for IBM, Sun Microsystems, Oracle, and the Big 6. Since 2016, I have been lecturing, presenting, developing, consulting, and educating audiences, companies, and entrepreneurs on Hyperledger technology and projects with a strong focus on using Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Sawtooth in the enterprise and government.

What are the main differences between teaching Hyperledger to students and developing Hyperledger applications?

While teaching, I often get lots of questions from students that help me in looking at blockchain development differently. The differences between teaching Hyperledger and developing Hyperledger are contextual. Teaching Hyperledger is all about the fundamentals of blockchain with a focus on how to use blockchain technology in the context of enterprise solutions. Developing Hyperledger is all about applying those fundamentals and extending them to solve problems that only surface in the context of developing real world enterprise solutions. This requires moving far beyond the fundamental and extending the technologies to meet the demands and expectations of stakeholders that will use the Hyperledger solutions.

What do you think is most important for Hyperledger to focus on in the next year?

I think Hyperledger should continue doing a great job promoting enterprise and government blockchain visibility and benefits to the world.

As Hyperledger’s incubated projects start maturing and hit 1.0s and beyond, what are the most interesting technologies, apps, or use cases coming out as a result from your perspective?

I think blockchain interoperability is the most interesting and important work incubating in Hyperledger because we are at a stage of maturity where it is vital for continued growth that blockchain platforms develop the capability to interoperate.

What’s the one issue or problem you hope blockchain can solve?

I hope the promise of blockchain brings transparency, provenance, and trust to our government at the local, state, and national level.

Where do you hope to see Hyperledger and/or blockchain in 5 years?

I hope blockchain becomes ubiquitous like the Internet, a network of networks, and is demanded and utilized by all enterprises and governments across the world.

What is the best piece of developer advice you’ve ever received?

The best developer advice I ever received was from my first mentor, who told me, “write software that reads like a novel. The reader should never have to turn back to a page. Keep your methods, functions, and routines to no more than one page, two pages maximum.”

What technology could you not live without?

I am a software developer and architect, so I could not live without software languages. I need at least one software language, but the more the merry to live the life I enjoy, which is designing and developing software and systems solutions for enterprises and governments.

Added note from Mark: I would love to hear your feedback. If you want to share your questions or comments with me, you can reach me directly via Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/markmorrissupergeek/

Uniting financial market participants: Hyperledger Fabric’s role in creating blockchain infrastructure for digital banking

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

In 2020, Smart Block Laboratory, a Linux Foundation Silver Member, Hyperledger General Member and business partner of IBM, developed a payment solution based on Hyperledger Fabric that allows banks and users to conduct cross-border transfers in real time with low commissions, use cryptocurrency in settlement operations and instantly exchange Fiat for cryptocurrency. The functionality also includes a social network for investors. The solution is a blockchain infrastructure for digital banking called Cryptoenter.

The challenges to a common digital banking infrastructure

Rapid digitalization of the banking sector and distributed ledger technologies have put forward new requirements for banking services. However, there is still no single digital space between individual banking solutions. There are a number of hurdles:

  • Most of the current back office systems are not able to provide complete data describing the client’s activities between digital interactions.
  • Most often, banks use digital solutions of third parties, thereby risking losing control over their customers’ data.
  • IT infrastructure costs are high.
  • Implementing new banking tools and training employees is expensive and difficult for companies.
  • There is competition, often encouraged by regulators, between banks and Fintech  companies operating in areas such as private equity management and lending.
  • Territorial expansion and attracting new users are both complex and costly.
  • Likewise, opening and operating branches is expensive, and those in remote and sparsely populated areas don’t deliver much in the way of profits. 

 Turning to blockchain

We believe that anyone anywhere in the world should have access to quality banking services. Transfers between banks/users should be instant, and the world needs a single payment solution for cryptocurrency and Fiat. To deliver on those ideas, many banks have already started integrating the blockchain and accepting cryptocurrency.

We decided to use Hyperledger Fabric to build a common infrastructure solution. We opted for Fabric for its performance, scalability and trust. The main feature of Hyperledger Fabric is its focus on corporate applications. The platform has been designed to ensure high transaction speed and low cost.

In Cryptoenter, Hyperledger Fabric is used as a distributed database.It processes information quickly regardless of network load. It allows each user to make instant payments for goods and services using cryptocurrency.

Second, Hyperledger Fabric provides a high degree of privacy: due to competition and laws protecting and regulating personal data privacy, organizations dictate the confidentiality of certain data elements, which can be achieved by dividing data into a blockchain. The channels supported in Hyperledger Fabric allow users to transmit data only to the parties that need to use it. In Cryptoenter, Hyperledger Fabric allows users interact with each other both within one bank and within several banks

By using Hyperledger Fabric as the basis of the infrastructure for digital banking, Cryptoenter allows all users of banking services to remain customers of banks, while their data is protected by banking security systems, which increases the level of confidence customers have in our payment service. Therefore banks are validators in the network, acting as guarantors of transactions.

And the use of Hyperledger Fabric made it possible to create a P2P lending mechanism, which allows users to issue loans to each other at favorable interest rates with or without collateral.

Conclusion

Hyperledger Fabric allowed the Smart Block Laboratory team to create a unique infrastructure solution that is relevant for all financial market participants, which will not only bring the level of interaction between participants to a new level, but also create new economic ties.

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

By Blog, Weekend Update

Happy Friday. 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.

Webinar: Delivering the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Securities Lending Platform 

Hear from Blockchain Technology Partners about the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s path to PoC and then forward to production for a securities lending platform built on Hyperledger Sawtooth.

Tune in on May 20 at 10:00 a.m. ET. Register here.

Learn for free: Hyperledger Sawtooth for Application Developers

Enroll today to take part in this 10 week Linux Foundation Training class and learn how to code a Hyperledger Sawtooth sample application.

Go here to sign up. The class is free. Add a Verified Certificate for $169 US. 

Supply Chain Use Cases

The Hyperledger Supply Chain Special Interest Group has a vibrant presentation stream with recordings covering a range of use cases from food trust through trust your supplier all the way to blockchain for transportation.

See the line-up here.

How to Get Involved With Hyperledger

Find out more about how to contribute to the Hyperledger community with this video overview  of all the ways you can dive in and get involved.

Virtual Meetups

See the full Virtual Meetup schedule here.

New to the Hyperledger Labs: Pluggable Hedera Consensus Service

By Blog, Hyperledger Labs

The Hyperledger Labs Stewards recently approved the Pluggable Hedera Consensus Service Hyperledger Lab. The Lab, developed by Hedera with input from Hyperledger Fabric community members and maintainers, enables a permissioned Hyperledger Fabric network to connect to the Hedera Consensus Service running on the Hedera public network. 

For those unfamiliar, Hedera Hashgraph is a public distributed ledger network, operated by the Hedera Governing Council. Council members include Boeing, Deutsche Telekom, DLA Piper, FIS Worldpay, Google, IBM, Magazineluiza, Nomura, Swirlds, Swisscom Blockchain, Tata Communications, and Wipro. The Hedera network supports four publicly accessible network services: Cryptocurrency, File Service, Smart Contract, and the aforementioned Consensus Service.

The Hedera Consensus Service provides an Asynchronous Byzantine Fault Tolerant order of transactions that cannot be manipulated or crash due to the action of any small group of actors. Effectively providing your Hyperledger Fabric network with a verifiable auditable log of all transactions validated by an impartial decentralized network. The plug-in can also enable multiple Fabric networks to receive consensus timestamps from a single, decentralized ordering service.

The plug-in included in the Hyperledger Lab allows the Hyperledger Fabric BYFN (Build Your First Network) sample to connect each Fabric orderer to the Hedera Consensus Service. The orderers submit endorsed transactions to Hedera using the Consensus Service by referencing a common topic ID and independently subscribing to the stream of ordered transactions. The orderers then use the ordered transaction to create a block for their organization’s peer.

Any developer can get up and running with the Hedera Consensus Service today by following the instructions provided in the Lab’s open source GitHub repo: https://github.com/hyperledger-labs/pluggable-hcs/blob/master/first-network/README.md 

It will require a Hedera testnet account, which you can sign-up for at http://portal.hedera.com/. The sample then configures the Fabric network dependencies, connecting the orderers to the public testnet.

We hope that the Hyperledger Lab is only the start of our journey in the Hyperledger community. We’d appreciate any feedback and contributions you have as we look to continue to support users of the Hedera Consensus Service building with Hyperledger Fabric. In the future, we hope to expand upon this plug-in with support for the likes of Hyperledger Avalon and the Blockchain Interoperability Framework.

TSC Approves Hyperledger Cactus as New Project

By Blog, Hyperledger Cactus

Building DLT integration protocol

We are thrilled to announce that the open source Blockchain Integration Framework that Accenture and Fujitsu jointly contributed to Hyperledger Labs has been welcomed as the latest Hyperledger project. With this, the project receives a formal name, Hyperledger Cactus, and also benefits from the resources and promise of longevity that come with inclusion in the Hyperledger Greenhouse.

Key Take-Aways:

  • TSC approves new project – Hyperledger Cactus (formerly known as Blockchain Integration Framework)
  • The move from Labs to the Hyperledger Greenhouse is an important step in the direction towards production-readiness
  • Now is the time for end-user, SI, and vendor developers to participate in defining the architecture of blockchain integration service

In the short six months since entering the Labs, Hyperledger Cactus has attracted significant attention and become a locus of collaboration between developers from our teams at Accenture and Fujitsu, and dozens of others working on DLT platforms both inside and outside Hyperledger. We are very excited to carry this work of establishing an open integration protocol forward, setting our sights on increasing the number and diversity of perspectives and building the community and process maturity in order to graduate from Incubation to Active status as a project.

Why Blockchain Integration?

Innovation in the blockchain space shows no signs of slowing down. This is amazing to see, but when it comes to large scale enterprise adoption today, this rapid pace of change can also be a source of risk. What if the platform I select gets leapfrogged? Or what if I need to conduct business with an ecosystem in the future that’s using a different technology? These questions can manifest in a high stakes decision to choose “the right” solution.

But we live in a world of many networks and databases with differing business requirements. Some need to be fast, some need to store a lot of data, and some need strong resilience properties. As businesses replace traditional infrastructure with multiparty systems, we need blockchain technology to handle a wide variety of possible use cases and requirements. In other words, there will be no “one blockchain solution to rule them all.”

Brian Behlendorf describes this well in his Coindesk 2019 Year in Review: “From here out, the basic business and technical questions – can this be used for real-world use cases?; can competing vendors cooperate on common code and standards? – will be considered more or less answered, with new questions about governance of blockchain networks and interoperability between them taking center stage.”

Enterprises need to be able to confidently move forward with the blockchain platform that best meets their needs today, with the assurance they can integrate, communicate, operate, and transact with any other tech down the road. 

For example, imagine a “fast” blockchain used for processing small-value financial transactions periodically that needs to communicate and even trade with more secure, “slow” blockchains that handle large assets or high-value transactions. Banking-focused blockchains might need to communicate with blockchains that are used to manage real estate. The possibilities and useful applications for blockchain integration services are quite large.

What is Hyperledger Cactus?

Hyperledger Cactus is an Apache V2-licensed open source software development kit (SDK) designed and architected to help maximize pluggability so that anyone wishing to use it to connect any DLT to others can do so by implementing a plugin (please check out the Whitepaper for a detailed technical description). This pluggable architecture helps enable the execution of ledger operations across multiple blockchain ledgers, including Hyperledger Besu, Hyperledger Fabric, Corda, and Quorum available today, with the aim of developers continually adding support for new blockchains in the future.

The beauty of open source, in particular the permissively licensed Hyperledger flavor, means that each entity that writes a plugin can decide whether to contribute it to the community for ongoing maintenance, and to be used by all, or keep it private. In either case, the core Integration Framework will always be available under the Apache v2 license and maintained by the Hyperledger community. Accenture filed two patents on the approach (10,298,585 and 20190253422) and are making the patents available through this code under the Apache 2 license. In our view, the pluggable design combined with Hyperledger governance make this the right solution to the blockchain interoperability challenge.

Why Start in Labs?

We at Accenture and Fujitsu realized the market need for blockchain integration independently and quickly realized the opportunity to collaborate. Accenture began working on the blockchain interoperability challenge in 2018 and realized that long-term success hinged on building a broader ecosystem around the project, which led to open sourcing this work to Hyperledger Labs in November 2019. Fujitsu came aboard as key collaborators at last year’s Hyperledger Tokyo Member Summit and contributed the ConnectionChain codebase in December 2019. Then, the two companies considered a unified architecture based on the two code bases. The results are described in the white paper.

Hyperledger Labs provides an easy way to test the technical and community viability of potential new Hyperledger projects. It’s a valuable initial step to determine interest prior to undertaking the significantly more intense process of proposing a new Hyperledger project.

It didn’t take long for interest in Hyperledger Cactus to emerge. Following our joint presentation at Hyperledger Global Forum 2020 in Phoenix, several people from academia and enterprises expressed interest in working on this project. Thus began the conception (and name!) of Hyperledger Cactus. While it’s always gratifying to hear positive feedback, the real test of a project’s viability is when people roll up their sleeves and make contributions, be they code, documentation, or perspective.

A PhD student pursuing a summer internship at Hyperledger focused their research on the topic of ledger-to-ledger migrations. And developers at Accenture, Fujitsu, and several other organizations are working on converging the code bases into a unified core system. For two independent teams of enterprise engineers (Accenture and Fujitsu in this case) to separately arrive at the need for an open source solution to address the challenges of cross-ledger system transactions validates both the size of the problem space and the veracity of the Hyperledger Cactus approach to addressing it.

What’s Next?

As Hyperledger Cactus joins the other 15 Hyperledger projects in the greenhouse, our number one priority is to grow the community. Always a goal of open source projects, we feel it is especially important for Cactus now so that we can obtain ideas from as broad a cross-section of the blockchain community as possible and get them built into the architecture of the project from the start.

Our first effort as a community will be to finalize our modular, pluggable interfaces so that all stakeholders in Hyperledger (and others outside Hyperledger that wish to participate) can benefit from our solution for blockchain interoperability. A diverse community is an important first step to assuring innovation continues to flourish across this dynamic space, helping it to both scale and achieve its  potential across a global network of ecosystems.

And don’t let the name fool you – the Cactus community is not at all prickly 😊. On the contrary, we are extremely open and all are welcome! You don’t have to ask to ask. Please jump into the conversation on our Chat channel, check out our repo, read the contributing document, attend our meetings, and together we can build a modular, extensible system that makes it possible to easily incorporate and integrate new blockchains as they get developed.

Please take a moment and help us spread the news with this CTT. NEWS: @Hyperledger TSC approves new project building #blockchain integration protocol. Hyperledger Cactus actively seeking #developers to help define architecture, build plugins

Hyperledger Community on Camera: “How to Get Involved” Video Series – Part II

By Blog, Special Interest Group, Video

While the Hyperledger community was gathered in Phoenix at Hyperledger Global Forum, many members took the time to sit down, on camera, and explain what happens in the array of Hyperledger working groups, special interest groups (SIGs) and technology projects. These videos are great introductions to the community-driven activities in the Hyperledger ecosystem. Geared towards anyone looking to take on a more active role in the effort to advance open source enterprise blockchain, the “How to Get Involved” video series provides an overview of the goals, key initiatives and target use cases each for each group or project. The message in each case is that you are invited to join and all are welcome here.

Today we are highlighting the important cross-industry work of three of our SIGs that are addressing topics that are top-of-mind topics these days: healthcare, climate and social impact. These videos will help you find a way to get involved:

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

By Blog, Weekend Update

Happy Friday. 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.

Consensus: Distributed

Consensus: Distributed is the free, virtual version of the annual event by CoinDesk. It runs from May 11 – 15. To join sessions and network, you need to register here. Once you are registered, please plan to stop by the Hyperledger virtual booth to connect with members and staff or to see demos of Hyperledger technologies in action. 

Hyperledger’s Brian Behlendorf will be speaking at sessions on enterprise blockchain and the World Economic Foundation’s “Presidio Principals” for a decentralized future. There will also be a full hour of content on Hyperledger as part of the Foundations track, a new program at Consensus designed to put the spotlight on thriving blockchain ecosystems. 

Read this post on Where to find Hyperledger at Consensus: Distributed for more details.

90 Minutes to Hyperledger Fabric 

This live session class starts with an overview of Hyperledger and then takes attendees through the Hyperledger Fabric development environment, smart contract development, and Hyperledger use cases, benefits and risks.

The class is offered by O’Reilly and runs from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ET on Friday, May 15. For more details and pricing, go here.

Virtual Meetups

The weekly Certification Study Circle, hosted by the Hyperledger Sweden Meetup group, presented a talk by Darrell Flewell from Linux Foundation Training on all of the available Hyperledger training and certification resources and how people can prepare to successfully take certification exams. A recording of the session is available here.

As a follow-up, the group has also launched a Certification Study Circle Slack Channel. Feel free to join: https://tinyurl.com/hyperledgerstudycircle. The next Certification Study Circle session is tomorrow at 9:00 UTC.

Additional upcoming virtual meetups include:

See the full Virtual Meetup schedule here.

How digital identity empowers consumers and producers in a circular supply chain

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

Most of us can relate to wanting to know where our food comes from – if it is safe to eat, ethically sourced, and whether that commodity harms the environment or is produced in a sustainable way. The topics of food safety, recall, waste management and ethical sourcing are justifiably getting a lot of attention. Consumers are demanding a greater level of transparency and assurance.

What if we could empower consumers with more trusted information at their fingertips so they can directly reward and incentivize small scale suppliers around the world that are committed to following sustainable practices? Imagine a future where more people could fully participate in the growing value of the green economy. With a powerful combination of blockchain, digital identity, payments and Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities, we at Accenture believe this is possible and imperative.  

Leveraging these capabilities, we collaboratively developed a solution built on Hyperledger Fabric that generates a new kind of value for producers. We call this capability circular supply chain. 

Here’s how it works: Let’s imagine a coffee farmer, for example. Using an app on their phone, the producer creates a profile, entering basic details like their name, date of birth, and the name of their coffee farm. At their cooperative, their identity is validated, using multiple security protocols.

The farmer’s identifier is then recorded on the blockchain, which acts as an index with links to all applicable data—including things like their payment details so they can receive tips or add attestation that prove their farm’s inspection history and certification status (organic, etc.). This makes it easy to locate, access and share information without the farmer’s personal data being stored on the blockchain.  

The app on the farmer’s phone is multi-factored and authentication-secured; it allows the farmer to generate their own set of public and private keys seamlessly which the farmer can then use to sign data they send to others. 

The farmer is always in control of their data, determining which information is part of their public profile or what details will be linked to a particular product as it moves through the supply chain. They can also use the app as a management tool to keep track of product registrations, check their tip balance, renew certifications and prepare a harvest for shipment.  

When a shipment is ready and registered, a unique identifier is automatically generated, embedding information about the coffee, the farmer and their farm (like its organic certification), and then scanned, captured, and verified at the point of origin.

Sensors can then be added, and registered, to the product at the cooperative warehouse. These sensors can monitor temperature and humidity within the warehouse to ensure product quality. And if the conditions go out of the optimal range, an alert is generated, prompting the warehouse to take preventative actions before the product quality is compromised. 

These details, and each step the shipment takes along the journey, are scanned, added to the ledger and traceable as it moves across the supply chain—from farmers to processors to grocery store shelves and, finally, to end consumers. Now a simple scan not only tells consumers the story of their sustainably-sourced coffee and the farmers that grew it but empowers them to reward the farmer via a secure tip. 

The benefit is a circular supply chain that goes beyond where it started and creates a closer connection between consumers and small growers. Processors, distributors, wholesalers and retailers can trace product provenance, creating market differentiation for sustainability, food security and quality. The hope is that by aligning incentives through an immersive customer experience that fosters informed purchasing decisions, we can empower an inclusive economy that encourages the actions to mitigate environmental impact and benefit people. 

Accenture has created this capability, but it’s just a start. We invite organizations across industries and the globe to collaborate with us as we collectively build a more sustainable and inclusive world. 

Read our report on circular supply chain and learn how to collaborate with us. You may also be interested in joining the Hyperledger Identity WG or Supply Chain SIG to see how others in this space are approaching this digital transformation.

Cover image via Peakpx

Where to find Hyperledger at Consensus: Distributed

By Blog, Events, Hyperledger Avalon

Consensus: Distributed is coming up quickly. This free, virtual version of the annual conference starts on Monday, May 11, and runs until May 15. Sessions will run round the clock to make sure there’s content for every market and every timezone.

Hyperledger will be front and center in discussions around enterprise blockchain. In addition to a Hyperledger virtual booth, members like PwC, Oracle and Cognizant will be available via online office hours for more intimate networking and one-on-one meetings. We will also have a playlist of virtual member demos to check out. 

Further, Hyperledger is part of Foundations, a new program within Consensus designed to put the spotlight on thriving blockchain ecosystems. The focus will be on Hyperledger on Wednesday, May 13, from 3:00-4:00 p.m. EDT. During this session, Executive Director Brian Behlendorf will talk about the State of Hyperledger. Brian will be joined by Arnaud Le Hors, Chair of the Hyperledger Technical Steering Committee (TSC), who will give a brief update on technical milestones. This Changelog talk will be followed by a Q+A with James Wester, Research Director, Worldwide Blockchain Strategies at IDC. 

We’ll then transition the conversation to Hyperledger Avalon, one of the latest projects to join the greenhouse. Avalon aims to address concerns around confidentiality and blockchain transactionality. Dan Middleton, Head of Technology for Intel’s Blockchain and Distributed Ledger program and a member of the Hyperledger TSC, will provide a quick introduction, speak to the traction, and explain how others can contribute to this up-and-coming project. Finally, Jonathan Hamilton from Accenture will join for the last 10 minutes to provide an exclusive peek at a brand new project, just accepted into Hyperledger. He will speak to the intention behind the project, the process of getting it from a lab to an official project in the greenhouse and its future at Hyperledger.

Other Hyperledger sessions you definitely don’t want to miss: Brian will take part on the State of Enterprise Adoption workshop at 2:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 12, and join the panel First Principles for a Decentralized Future for a conversation about the World Economic Forum’s Center “Presidio Principles” at 11:30 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 13.

A 21st Century Model for Collaboration

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

The first two decades of the 21st century have seen enormous challenges on scales never before encountered. Whether a global recession or global pandemic, good information management is an essential tool for decision‐making processes, strategic and operational, at every level. But dramatic changes in news media and the proliferation of misinformation, along with outdated (scientific) research frameworks, are impeding timely use of critical data assets, which are at the center of any effective systemic response. This extends to successful emergency preparedness and response and is as much a human-centric problem as a data-centric one. At heart is this question: how do we share massive quantities of data to coordinate on effective responses to global crises?

Finding good ways to use big-data efficiently for solving real world problems touches almost every industry, from finance to education, and from insurance to supply chain management. With globalized industries now much more reliant on data-driven processes, two pivotal problems have emerged: insufficient infrastructure to securely manage big-data resources, compounded by a “trust gap” in the reliability of that data. In both cases, blockchain and distributed ledger technologies offer meaningful solutions to positively transform information dependent industries, and the ways we collaborate with one another on shared goals.

The exponential growth of fake content and disinformation represents a major trust gap, and points out inherent design issues in the architecture of the Internet that need to be addressed if we wish to safeguard trust and the legitimacy of information resources. Blockchain and distributed ledger technology resolve some of these flaws, offering solutions to security vulnerabilities, privacy issues, and data authenticity. While many blockchain applications tend to center on finance, at Penta Network the focus is using distributed ledgers for data related problems in multi-stakeholder ecosystems. Our goal is to facilitate peer-to-peer and multi-peer collaboration through digital networks based on trusted data.

As a first step towards that goal, we launched a social impact initiative called Trusted Voices in 2018. The Trusted Voices project is based on Hyperledger Fabric and other blockchain technologies to provision a chain of custody for information and media assets. The purpose of the project was to demonstrate authentication of digital content at time of original publication, and subsequent tracking across digital platforms, including social media.  A robust chain of custody enables consumers to track content and trace information assets back to their authors and origins. Content traceability offers a powerful tool to combat the proliferation of inaccurate or unauthorized content, while concurrently protecting the intellectual property rights of the authors. There are broad opportunities for this technology: from flagging and removing fake news and disinformation, to collaborative networks based on shared content. Trusted Voices establishes the possibilities for both, and more. 

As an initial test of Trusted Voices, in 2018 Penta visited one of the Central American migrant caravans sheltering in Tijuana, Mexico. The pilot conducted interviews with refugees and immigration officials, and even filmed the first official interview with the Honduran Ambassador to Mexico from an English language platform. Trusted Voices successfully deployed blockchain technology to provide proof of publication for media content, and then used tracking pixel technology to follow that content across platforms. It also highlighted some key values of using Hyperledger technology, such as verifiable, timestamped event histories. With the success of this trial, Trusted Voices showed how content chain of custody will play an important role in the digital transformation of news media and journalism by enabling consumers to verify for themselves the authenticity of media content. 

Trusted Voices has since expanded, and Penta Network is currently developing related technologies for scientific research. In part, the need comes from academic institutions having delegated citation management primarily to commercial publishers. In response, there is a growing movement for an open publishing model, which seeks to return authorship and citation responsibilities to universities and the public. Blockchain has the capacity to accomplish this, while at the same time fostering innovative models for large-scale collaboration. Without undercutting the commercial interests of publishers, tracking and verifying all inputs to research projects blockchain can safeguard researchers’ individual contributions and facilitate multi-party collaborations. In other words, this approach offers a digital blueprint for crowd-sourcing human collaboration.  

Supporting collaborative work models with blockchain technology has real impact, not just on conducting basic research, but also on the knowledge and products that flow from that research. It offers substantial improvements over current models, where some academic and medical research institutions might hoard their data and results, in order to compete for lucrative grants and patents. Distributed ledger systems can serve as trusted data alternatives to private information silos, inviting pioneering researchers and business innovators into more collaborative efforts to rapidly progress and distribute the benefits of their work. As Covid-19 has shown, microscopic pathogens move much faster than patent law and peer-reviewed research. With blockchain technology comes hope of significantly shortening the time from research to discovery, and from discovery to commercial production. 

Whether facing a global pandemic, climate change, or a worldwide economic recession, 20th century business models that encourage working in seclusion and an atmosphere of competitive winner-takes-all attitudes do not fit with the enormous 21st century challenges we face. Instead, we need to rethink, reinvigorate and re-innovate human collaboration for the new century. 

The Hyperledger ecosystem has an opportunity to play a leading role in creating 21st century models for communication and collaborative work that operate at large scale. By helping to overcome many of the obstacles limiting our ability to work together as global digital citizens, blockchain is shining light on new operating frameworks for peer-to-peer and multi-peer cooperation. Key to their success will be secure, verifiable, and shared information assets. Trust in that information has never been more important, and blockchain empowers all communities to share their trusted voices. 

Cover image taken at a migrant camp in Tijuana, Mexico, December 2018