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ABCs of Open Governance

By Blog, Hyperledger Burrow, Hyperledger Cello, Hyperledger Chaintool, Hyperledger Composer, Hyperledger Explorer, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Indy, Hyperledger Iroha, Hyperledger Sawtooth

Today, most people understand the concept of Open Source – certainly we expect most readers of this blog understand it. View the code, use the code, copy the code, change the code, and, depending on the license, contribute back changes or not.

What many people don’t get, and something we here at Hyperledger and The Linux Foundation pride ourselves on doing well, is Open Governance.

The Linux Foundation, and all of our 60+ open source projects, are not-for-profits building the greatest shared R&D investment in history. Open Governance is central to this promise.

Open Governance means that technical decisions -– which features to add, how to add them and when, among others – for a given Open Source project or projects are made by a group of community-elected developers drawn from a pool of active participants. It is as close to the ideal of pure technical meritocracy as one can get and we strive continuously to reach that ideal.

Hyperledger recently concluded the 2017-2018 Technical Steering Committee (TSC) election, and so we thought it an opportune time to explain the ABCs of Open Governance. Please note that this is one Open Governance implementation and clearly not the only way to do it, but rather one proven and effective way.

What does the Hyperledger TSC do?

The TSC charter spells out the group’s responsibilities.

The TL;DR is that the TSC is the ultimate authority on technical decisions. This includes which new projects are admitted to Hyperledger , which current projects graduate from Incubation to Active , and the rules by which each Hyperledger project will operate.

Participation in Hyperledger through becoming a Contributor and/or Maintainer is open to anyone.
Hyperledger Charter Section 4C

As a developer or maintainer, this translates into one thing: trust. You know how decisions will be made and the process by which people will be selected to make these decisions. Hyperledger is vendor-neutral and technical contributions are based on meritocracy. We will always remain immune to the commercial interests of any single company.

The TSC election process consists of three simple steps:

  1. Identification of eligible participants
  2. Nominations
  3. Voting

Who is really eligible to be on the TSC?

The charter spells out that the TSC voting members shall consist of eleven (11) elected Contributors or Maintainers chosen by the Active Contributors.

So, how do you determine an active contributor, you may ask? As part of the current election, every project maintainer and Working Group leader was asked to provide a list of all the people that have contributed to their work in the past year. In addition, a review of all code and other contributions was conducted.

This year, 424 active contributors were identified as eligible to participate in the TSC election process.

Bring It (your nomination that is)

The Linux Foundation maintains an expert staff with decades of combined experience managing the operations of large scale, Openly Governed Open Source projects.

For Hyperledger, the Sr. Program Manager Todd Benzies ensures the trains run on time.

Below is Todd’s email calling for TSC nominations:

This nominating process produced 32 candidates for the 11 TSC spots. These 32 come from 20 different organizations, across a spectrum of industries, from technology vendors to foundations to end users from a variety of industries. They include people who work at Hyperledger members and non-members and some are standing as individuals.

A policy whose importance is hard to overstate is that anyone elected to a seat on the TSC is elected as a person unbound to the company for which they presently work. Should any TSC member during their tenure leave an employer for another, this would have zero impact on their standing as member of the Hyperledger TSC.

Cast your vote

Here is Todd’s email sent to the same list announcing the nominees and opening voting.

The arrow highlights one of the things that we’ve learned along the way as a trick to the trade of running open governance well. The voting system has to be unquestionably secure and fair (something by now truly everyone can relate to…).

We use the Condorcet Internet Voting System to safeguard the privacy of this election and voting process. CIVS can only be accessed by authorized voters, who receive a unique URL tied to their email address. Voters rank a set of possible choices and individual voter rankings are combined into an anonymous overall ranking of the choices. One vote is allowed per IP address.

Results

This process yields a fairly and openly-elected technical decision making body pulled from the community that cares about Hyperledger. We know they care not because they said so, not because the company they work for has joined Hyperledger, but because they invested their time to make contributions to Hyperledger code bases. Or, as Hyperledger Executive Director Brian Behlendorf says, “it’s a do -ocracy.”

Meet the New Hyperledger TSC (listed in alphabetical order)

Arnaud Le Hors
Baohua Yang
Binh Nguyen
Christopher Ferris
Dan Middleton
Greg Haskins
Hart Montgomery
Jonathan Levi (new)
Kelly Olson (new)
Mic Bowman
Nathan George (new)

If you’re interested in learning more about the Hyperledger TSC and its elected members, we’ll be kicking off a “Meet the TSC” blog series in the coming weeks. Be sure to look out for it!

You can plug into the community at github , Rocket.Chat the wiki or our mailing list .

Developer Showcase Series: Andy Berti, Tradeix

By Blog

Our Developer Showcase blog series serves to highlight the work and motivations of developers, users and researchers collaborating on Hyperledger’s incubated projects. Next up is Andy Berti, CTO at Tradeix.

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

Have a goal. Look for how blockchain can help your business idea, rather than how you can mould your business idea around blockchain. I believe that developing technology for technology’s sake is rather futile. You need to have a strong business idea to execute and while doing that leverage the advantages that a great blockchain solution gives.

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?

We at Tradeix are managing a trade finance platform, called TIX which allows organisations and developers to create their own trade finance eco-systems. We utilize blockchain to provide the irrefutable source of truth for our digital assets (invoices). My first blockchain experience was with Bitcoin where I dabbled with proof-of-existence models. The thought of stamping obfuscated or encrypted content into a public blockchain was a bit of fun. After I lost out in the MtGox debacle, my thoughts turned to blockchain for the financial services industry and how permissioned ledgers in particular could be utilized.   

Andy Berti, CTO at Tradeix

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

Low barriers to entry are important. We can all sometimes get lost in the details especially when we are on the leading edge of technology. With Hyperledger being successful it is important to be very easy for the average developer to pick up and use as well as simple for the average business person to understand.

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

Voting. It may take a while, but the path toward a secure, irrefutable, electronic voting mechanism for all our democracies would be a beautiful thing. No more paper ballots, hackable machines, just vote from your phone and you’re done.

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

Think of the poor devil who has to support this code.

 

[VIDEO] Hyperledger Interviews Makoto Takemiya, Soramitsu

By Blog

We spoke with Makoto Takemiya, Co-CEO of Soramitsu. The benefits of being a member of Hyperledger for Soramitsu include the networking capabilities and the sharing of information with many other companies.

In 2017, Soramitsu is using Hyperledger technologies to create real life systems as well as prototypes. According to Makoto, blockchain will affect their customers by increasing possibilities with throughput and data analysis. Blockchain will also change the way they do business with their customers by allowing them to create more decentralized platforms where they can all play at the same level.

Makoto says the main reason to join Hyperledger is for the connections you can build but also the ability to have a say in how this emerging technology is built.

Watch the full video here:

Congratulations to the Hyperledger Interns and Mentors on Completed Summer Internships

By Blog, Hyperledger Cello, Hyperledger Iroha, Hyperledger Sawtooth

As part of Hyperledger’s mission to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies, we strive to foster talent globally. One way we do this is through a summer internship program.

The Hyperledger summer internship program pairs talented university students with blockchain experts from the technical community. Each intern takes on a specific project that will benefit the Hyperledger community and his or her mentor provides guidance to help the intern be successful.

This month, interns from Mexico, Hungary, Italy, and India have completed their internships and will be returning to their university communities to use and share what they have learned.

  • Attila Klenik from Hungary, mentored by László Gönczy from Quanopt and Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BUTE), returns to BUTE. Attila worked on contract-based business process execution.
  • Ezequiel Gomez from Mexico, mentored by Makoto Takemiya from Soramitsu, returns to Boston University. Ezequiel worked on anonymous transactions in Hyperledger Iroha.
  • Indirajith Vijai Ananth from Italy, mentored by Baohua Yang from IBM, returns to University of Rome Tor Vergata. Indirajith worked on improving and implementing features in Hyperledger Cello.
  • Nikhil Chawla from India, mentored by Jiang Feihu from Huawei Technologies, returns to Northern India Engineering College. Nikhil worked on deploying Hyperledger Fabric on Kubernetes using Hyperledger Cello.

Here’s a snapshot of our accomplished interns across the globe:

In upcoming posts about interning at Hyperledger, we’ll share details about the projects and advice for students considering an internship in open source software. We’ll also discuss the important role of mentorship.

Meet the New Hyperledger Technical Steering Committee

By Blog

We’re pleased to announce the results of Hyperledger’s Technical Steering Committee (TSC) annual election! The nomination period was held from August 10 to August 16. The voting period ended on August 23.

Please join us in welcoming the following new or returning members to the TSC (in alphabetical order):

  • Arnaud Le Hors
  • Baohua Yang
  • Binh Nguyen
  • Christopher Ferris
  • Dan Middleton
  • Greg Haskins
  • Hart Montgomery
  • Jonathan Levi (new)
  • Kelly Olson (new)
  • Mic Bowman
  • Nathan George (new)

The main objective of the TSC is to drive technical governance for Hyperledger. The TSC helps support the overall mission of Hyperledger to create an open source, technical community to benefit the ecosystem of Hyperledger solution providers and users, focused on blockchain and shared ledger use cases that work across a variety of industry solutions.

The TSC will elect a TSC Chair, who will also serve as a voting member of the Governing Board, and is expected to act as a liaison between the Governing Board and technical leadership of Hyperledger. Once the TSC chair vote is finalized, it will be announced to the community.

Specifically, the TSC is responsible for:

  • Coordinating the technical direction of Hyperledger;
  • Approving project proposals in accordance with a project lifecycle document to be developed, approved and maintained by the TSC;
  • Designating top level projects;
  • Creating sub-committees or working groups to focus on cross-project technical issues or opportunities;
  • Coordinating technical community engagement with the end user with respect to requirements, architecture, implementation, use cases, etc.;
  • Communicating with external and industry organizations concerning project technical matters;
  • Appointing representatives to work with other open source or standards communities;
  • Establishing community norms, workflows or policies for releases;
  • Discussing, seeking consensus, and where necessary, voting on technical matters relating to the code base that affect multiple projects; and
  • Establishing election processes for maintainers or other leadership roles in the technical community that are not within the scope of any single project.

We plan to kick off a “Meet the Hyperledger TSC” blog series where we will introduce each TSC member individually and explain what they’re working on and their role in the community. Be sure to keep an eye out for it in the coming weeks. Finally, you can plug into the community at github, Rocket.Chat the wiki or our mailing list. You can also follow Hyperledger on Twitter or email us with any questions: info@hyperledger.org.

 

 

Hello World, Meet Seth (Sawtooth Ethereum)

By Blog, Hyperledger Burrow, Hyperledger Sawtooth

Guest post: Adam Ludvik, Bitwise IO, Casey Kuhlman, Monax

One of the dreams of bringing multiple distributed ledger projects together under a single roof at Hyperledger is that we would find ways to collaborate, learn, and grow to the benefit of all projects involved. To this end, an initial proof-of-concept integration between the Hyperledger Sawtooth and Hyperledger Burrow projects was recently completed. As a result of this integration, “simple” EVM smart contracts can now be deployed to Hyperledger Sawtooth using the “Seth” (Sawtooth Ethereum) Transaction Family.

The Seth family consists of a new client, `seth`, that is used to construct and submit transactions to the network and a new transaction processor, `seth-tp`, that runs the Burrow Ethereum Virtual machine. Thanks to the modular design of Hyperledger Sawtooth, getting the Hyperledger Burrow EVM running under Hyperledger Sawtooth was relatively easy. Transaction processors run in a separate process and communicate with the validation process over a network interface. The Hyperledger Burrow EVM code was wrapped in an adapter but was otherwise left unmodified.

While working together on common ground, a cross-pollination of ideas took place to the benefit of both projects. Hyperledger Sawtooth gained an EVM implementation and added plans for the following new core features:

  • Core and family-defined Events
  • Transaction execution receipts
  • Batch injection
  • On-chain block validation rules

These core features will enrich the toolset available to application developers and enable Hyperledger Sawtooth to move the Hyperledger Burrow EVM integration past the initial proof-of-concept phase. The next step in this integration is enabling developers with existing web applications and smart contracts to seamlessly transition their work to the Hyperledger Sawtooth platform. A major part of making this transition possible will be the creation of a `seth-rpc` server that supports the Public Ethereum and Burrow JSON-RPC interfaces. The architecture of the integration after this step is shown below.

Hyperledger Burrow benefited from the integration in two major areas. First by working with the Sawtooth team and leveraging its capacity to offer parallel processing of transactions the effort represents the very first iteration towards non-serialized processing of EVM based transactions. Within the EVM community it has long been understood that one of the most important aspects of scaling is the need to move beyond strictly serial processing of transactions. The Hyperledger Sawtooth-Burrow integration is the first tangible code which addresses this giant need within the community of EVM users.

Secondly, Hyperledger Burrow has long been positioned to provide a core EVM that would then be utilized by other Hyperledger projects. This integration validates that positioning and establishes a strong upstream-downstream relationship between the Sawtooth and Burrow projects. Successful open source endeavours are community driven, collaborative efforts and this linkage between the Hyperledger Sawtooth and Hyperledger Burrow teams reinforces that ethos.  

If you’d like to learn more about Seth, visit: https://github.com/hyperledger/sawtooth-seth or join the discussion on Rocket.Chat. Also, the documentation for Seth can be found at Seth Developer’s Guide. As always, we encourage developers to join our efforts on these projects. You can plug into the Hyperledger community at github, Rocket.Chat the wiki or our mailing list. You can also follow Hyperledger on Twitter or email us with any questions: info@hyperledger.org.

[VIDEO] Hyperledger Interviews Ozgur Akdeniz, ANZ Bank

By Blog

We spoke with Ozgur Akdeniz, Head of Transaction Banking at ANZ. By being an active member in the Hyperledger community, ANZ is ensuring that Hyperledger has the best chance at developing an underlying code base that is fit for enterprise use. ANZ believes the Hyperledger community will produce the platform technologies of choice for the finance industry in the future.

ANZ has used Hyperledger Fabric for a successful nostro reconciliation POC with Wells Fargo. According to Ozgur, being able to leverage the expertise within the Hyperledger community and problem solve issues as they arise in POCs gives ANZ the ability to move faster, and continue to experiment and learn about this new tech to deliver business value. ANZ is focused on two areas with distributed ledger tech: expanding  their nostro reconciliation POC with Wells Fargo in terms of scope and number of participating banks. They also want to expand use cases because most have been focused on internal issues to date but they want to tackle external issues with trade guarantees, trade finance etc.

Watch the full interview:

You can visit this page to watch all the videos in this member video testimonial series, as well as follow us on YouTube.

Blockchain-based digital identity: How Hyperledger is helping to turn hype into reality

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

Guest post: Andre Boysen, Chief Identity Officer, SecureKey Technologies

Identity has never been easy, but it’s particularly tricky in the digital age. For too long we’ve been forced to use outdated processes to prove who we are when we’re trying to get things done. It shouldn’t take a half-day off work and a trip to a government office to renew a passport, or an entire evening to update a smartphone plan, yet we’re being forced to do so because companies need controls to prove we are who we say we are and the gold standard for doing this today is a counter visit.

Thanks to blockchain, that’s changing. Distributed ledger technology is giving us the opportunity to do what we haven’t been able to do so far – prove with greater certainty that you are you, to immediately access the services you want online, in person or on the phone. Utilizing this approach, we can develop a digital identity and attribute sharing network designed to allow consumers to use digital credentials they already have with organizations they already trust (like their banks), and verify their identity quickly to access services from trusted institutions (like telcos, government services, even sharing economy companies) instantly and with certainty. No more need to create another username and password combination that will be easily forgotten, or dedicate hours on end to perform a simple task, like updating a driver’s license, setting up a new phone or checking your credit score.

SecureKey changed consumer single-sign-on for the better when we introduced the concept of triple-blind authentication with SecureKey Concierge. The simple idea was that using a single credential could actually increase privacy, because none of the transaction participants got a complete picture of the user’s transaction. The bank does not see your online destination, the government does not see which bank you used or your account details and SecureKey does not know who you are. The challenge for us when we moved beyond accessing services to registering for new ones was how to implement the triple-blind model for identity information.

While it was technically possible to do this with public key infrastructure (PKI), there were some difficulties. For example, if the receiver had to check the signature on the data for verification, the blinding broke. A possible solution to this was the introduction of a key exchange that effectively blinded the receiver. However, this created a fourth factor in the transaction system, which increased complexity and made it much harder to trace a transaction in the event of a compromised account.

Enter blockchain. The advent of this technology adds some key capabilities and allows us to solve our service registration challenges.  Among its many benefits, blockchain  allows us to implement triple-blind attributes, data signing for service integrity and resiliency to mitigate against a single point of failure.

The benefit goes beyond the individual citizen to the businesses they choose to use. In an age where everything is hackable and millions of customer records are stolen or dumped online every month, organizations are realizing that one of their most toxic assets can often be customer records. Organizations that can confidently verify the identity of their customers quickly without the need to store that customer’s data on their own networks experience a twofold benefit: not only is there a real world cost savings for their IT infrastructure, but there is also a massively reduced risk of being financially accountable in the event that bad actors attempt to steal their customer data, namely because the data never needs to reside on their servers in the first place. This greatly reduces the risk of customer data becoming toxic and negatively impacting a company following a breach or leak – something we’re seeing become much more frequent each and every month.  

We’re still in the early days of blockchain, but through communities like Hyperledger Fabric, hosted by The Linux Foundation, we’re seeing how its applicability can be endless. From currency to identity and further afield, blockchain is moving quickly beyond the buzzword stage and becoming critical to the evolution of services in the digital age.  There is a lot of blockchain hype to be sure, but for identity blockchain is going to be really helpful.

Developer Showcase Series: Aram Barnett, Vergo

By Blog, Hyperledger Composer, Hyperledger Fabric

Our Developer Showcase blog series serves to highlight the work and motivations of developers, users and researchers collaborating on Hyperledger’s incubated projects. Next up is Aram Barnett, Blockchain Engineer and Managing Partner at Vergo.

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

First, identify why you need blockchain. With all the hype surrounding the technology, it’s easy to think you can capitalize on the hype by sprinkling some blockchain into your app. Without a well-defined plan on how and why you are going to apply it, you are simply wasting your time and money.

Second, I want anyone interested in the technology to commit to learning about the details surrounding the progress blockchain has made rather than just the media hype that surrounds it. According to Gartner Hype Cycle, blockchain is at the peak of the technology hype cycle, and soon blockchain will be transitioning into the “trough of disillusion” where people outside of the development community will think that all of the promises of blockchain are not possible. However, unlike many new technologies on the hype cycle, blockchain will quickly escape the trough of disillusionment and grow exponentially when businesses realize the value of private ledgers. It’s is not easy but with enough dedication and a thorough understanding of the fundamentals, a developer can contribute to the blockchain community and create world changing applications. Third, get familiar Go and Javascript.

Hyperledger Composer, the tool that we use to rapidly build and test business networks, uses Javascript to enable the creation of business actions. Once you dive in the technology, be mindful of the difference between permissioned versus non-permissioned ledgers (a.k.a. public versus private blockchains, respectively) and what they offer. We will soon be releasing our own teaching resources for developers get up to speed on Hyperledger and the best practices on developing blockchain based business networks.

Aram Barnett, Blockchain Engineer and Managing Partner, Vergo

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?

I first heard about blockchain when I purchased my first bitcoin in 2011. I was so infatuated with bitcoin I dedicated 3 years of my life to running an alternative asset management fund that exclusively traded cryptocurrencies, learning everything I could about bitcoin and blockchain. I always knew that the real value of bitcoin came from the blockchain and in 2015 I began focusing all of my efforts on developing smart contracts on ethereum and coming up with business use cases.

I am currently working on Vergo, a company I co-founded to create blockchain-based business networks for open source and enterprise use.We’re working to make existing corporations more efficient by cutting excess expense associated with business transactions. To further support this community, we are open-sourcing some of our business logic to help other developers learn about this unique technology. We believe that this technology will allow developers to create turnkey businesses in which open-source business logic is easily deployable. This will increase access to entrepreneurship around the globe and empower people to start their own businesses.

More importantly, we believe we have the ethical responsibility to help transition the world to this new era in a responsible manner in which participants understand the consequences of enhanced business network efficiency and automation. We strive to ride the new wave of technological innovation by giving equal attention to corporate efficiency and social well-being.

If you look at  the Gartner Hype Cycle, mentioned earlier, blockchain is at the peak of public hype about its potential. This new wave of technology is scary to some and at peak hype it can seem like anything is possible. I made the choice to ride the blockchain wave. Since I first got involved with bitcoin and subsequently blockchain in 2011, I knew that it would be a promising technology that needs to be developed and implemented globally. We are currently at peak hype, so public interest will decline in the next few years. However, the underlying technology will still be revolutionary and over time the corporate sector will realize how truly valuable it is to their networks.

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?

The most interesting project to come out of is Hyperledger Fabric. We are excited about the progress of Fabric 1.0 and what it has to offer to large and medium enterprises. I met with the lead developers at the Hyperledger hackfest in Washington DC to learn more about Fabric and help contribute to the project. Vergo is very interested in this because we see the long-term impact that Fabric will have on how companies deploy blockchain solutions. We are very excited to be building applications and business logic on top of the Fabric ledger that these talented developers have built. We are currently discussing the possibility of cooperation between Vergo and some IBMers to display our business applications running on the IBM z mainframe. Another exciting application called Hyperledger Composer, the application we use to model, build, and test our business networks very quickly using their  business development language. After speaking with  Simon Stone, one of the maintainers of Hyperledger Composer, we are very excited for the future of Composer as a development tool and the services they plan to integrate into it.

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

Blockchain has the ability to solve a lot of problems. The ability to capture the nature of “businesses” and their “workers” and digitizing those relationships could lead to efficiency increases across almost every industry.

I think what I am most interested in, in regards to public-facing blockchain solutions, is the possibility of interoperability between chains and the assignment of an identity to every person. For instance, imagine from the very day you are born you were assigned a bank account, a verified identity and trackable health records all stored on a government ledger. From here, your financials, health records, and identity would be immutable and secure and would follow you over the course of your life. The interoperability between your identity and your financial records, for example, would verify you exist while not disclosing your personal data every time you make a transaction. By solving the problem of identity, many other possible solutions arise.

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

Let me answer your question with another question: Where do I not see it?

Blockchain-based business networks are inevitable. I think there will be varied solutions for individual businesses and sectors that provide accessible solutions to problems associated with the analysis of big data and efficiency of transactions. Blockchain will be easier to collect and analyze data, which will enhance our understanding of business practices and markets.

Additionally, I hope that turnkey businesses will emerge across the world using open source logic developed out of the Hyperledger framework. The ability to replicate businesses with extreme ease will increase access to opportunities for economically disadvantaged peoples. I hope that the pool of open source logic is such that it allows anyone with enough emotional intelligence and work-ethic to provide a valuable product to a customer even without understanding underlying business logic.

[VIDEO] Hyperledger Interviews Ram Komarraju, CLS Bank

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

We spoke with Ram Komarraju, Chief Architect at CLS Bank. CLS Bank is a founding member of Hyperledger. Having an open source initiative that is industry wide like Hyperledger is vital to the adoption and success of distributed ledger technology (DLT), according to Ram.

CLS Bank’s major focus is to work with the Hyperledger community to make sure the design of Hyperledger Fabric meets the requirements and needs of the enterprise including resiliency, security and scale. Ram believes a key value of being a part of Hyperledger is building an open source DLT solution that is accepted across industries for a wide variety of use cases including financial services and others.

Watch the full interview: