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Hyperledger Fabric

Hyperledger 2018 Summer Mentors Recap

By | Blog, Hyperledger Cello, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Iroha

Our interns did some great work on some very meaningful projects this summer. We’ve shared details of their work here. Of course, the program wouldn’t work without the time, effort and input our mentors provided. Many of them went the extra mile and provided their take on lessons learned, what they gained by being a mentor and advice for future interns as well. Here is some of the wisdom they shared:

Baohua Yang, Principal Architect, Oracle Blockchain (Project: Design Effective Operational Platform for Blockchain Management)

Lessons learned:

The intern’s self-motivation is important as is his/her interests with open-source projects.

What you got out of being a mentor:

I was very glad to help new person to get involved into the open-source world.

Advice for those interested in interning in the future:

Knowledge or skill is not the most important thing to learn as an intern. The Hyperledger internship is a great opportunity to help you learn open culture and principles to participant a teamwork.

Dave Huseby, Security Maven, Hyperledger, The Linux Foundation (Project: Simulating Hyperledger Networks with Shadow)

Lessons learned:

The primary lesson I learned is to choose the right size for an intern project. I was ambitious in what I asked my intern to do. It turns out that blockchains are complicated pieces of software and getting them to run under a simulator is difficult. That said, the reduced scope we agreed upon mid-summer was met and we did advance this effort.  I’m hoping that an intern next summer will pick up where my intern left off.

What you got out of being a mentor:

It was interesting to see our community through the eyes of a newcomer.  I got involved with open source communities so long ago that I forgot what it was like to be new.  I had forgotten all of the mental shifts (e.g., don’t ask for permission, just do) and leaps of faith (e.g., here’s my code, please be nice) that a developer has to make to be a successful contributor to an open source project. It takes real courage to contribute code and fully participate in a community where you know nobody. I really enjoyed encouraging Martin when things got tough. More importantly, the best thing I got from being a mentor was a new friend.  Martin is a really good person.

Advice for those interested in interning in the future

Be prepared to work hard. Working remotely is difficult and not a normal way of working. It takes a great deal of self-discipline, and as I said above, it takes real courage to submit code to people you don’t know and be judged by your contribution.  Be prepared to learn. With the right attitude, an intern can get some real rubber-meets-the-road experience. There’s a big difference between a recent computer science graduate and a work-a-day programmer. An internship working on open source software can go along way towards making you a work-a-day programmer.

Jay Guo Software Engineer, IBM (Project: Extended Support for EVM and and Tooling in Hyperledger Fabric)

Lessons learned:

We should set realistic goals for interns, and we should give them enough time to climb the learning curve.

What you got out of being a mentor:

Mentoring requires more than technical skills. I learned a great deal of project management, communication and presentation skills

Advice for those interested in interning in the future:

  • Remote internship is hard and timezone difference makes it even harder. Both mentors and applicants should take this into consideration. Being located in the same city would make life much easier.
  • Communication is a key part of internship. Interns should proactively seek help from mentors, and this is a quality that mentors should pay attention to when interviewing candidates.

Swetha Repakula, Open Source Developer, IBM Digital Business Group (Project: Extended Support for EVM and and Tooling in Hyperledger Fabric)

Lessons learned:

  • Most of my lessons comes from the fact that this was a remote internship. I underestimated the difficulty that comes from both not being able to work together in person as well as being able to finding a reasonable time for everyone involved to be able to speak. Because of this, I think projects that are suggested for this program either have to be very structured and scoped or the project needs to be isolated enough that the intern is able to make progress without other people. The solution to this we found was scheduling regular calls and asking for daily reports on progress to make she was on track.
  • Another thing I learned was making sure our intern felt comfortable asking questions and not feeling like she was alone. Creating that environment was our number one goal because interns shouldn’t feel like they are expected to do everything by themselves. We found that explaining our expectations to her and constantly encouraging her to ask us questions was the best solution to this.
  • My final takeaway was setting realistic goals for the internship. Goals can refer to the actual progress of the project, but I viewed the internship successful if our intern was able to end the program with a skill set she could apply to whatever she planned to do next. Of course our intern produced results, but what I was most proud of was when she understood concepts such as test-driven development or breaking down a project into smaller achievable tasks. Those are the skills that will make her a good developer and, in the end, the goal of this program is to enrich our interns, not necessarily just got some work done for our projects.

What you got out of being a mentor:

  • I have always enjoyed sharing knowledge, and this program gave me the opportunity to do that. My proudest moment easily was when my intern spoke about how the things we taught her during the internship directly applied to her current classes. As I mentioned above, our first goal was to make sure our intern learned enough that she could apply it to the rest of her career.
  • I found though that mentoring someone was not just about teaching but required some managerial skills. That would involve making sure my schedule allowed enough time for me to be available to guide my intern, ensuring she was making enough progress at the correct pace and helping her get the resources she needed to complete her work. This is was a very new experience from me.

Advice for those interested in interning in the future:

  • I recommend that those who wish to intern in the future be honest, whether that is about their skill set, their availability, or their professional interests. Our intern was clear about what she understood or didn’t understand and that really helped make sure the limited time we had was focused on what she was stuck on.
  • Be proud of your current accomplishments. As mentors we aren’t expecting you to necessarily have experience in the topics we are working on. What I look for is someone who is driven and passionate about the work they do. So be able to talk about those accomplishments, regardless of whether it is a class assignment or a huge project you have worked on.
  • Communication is key for anything you work on. Focus on being to explain your ideas clearly as well as relaying what you have done in the past. And, lastly, come with your ideas and questions.

Sheehan Anderson, Vice President/Director of Architecture, State Street (Project: Hyperledger Fabric Chrome Extension)

Lessons learned:

Working remotely brings unique challenges, especially when starting a new project. There were several of steps we took that worked really well throughout the internship.

  1. Have a plan laid out on day one that covers the length of the internship. Understand what parts of the project should be functioning by the end of each week as 12 weeks will go by really quickly. You don’t want to be spending time deciding what to do at the start of each week.
  2. Communication is important. Have regular video conference calls to demo what has been built, discuss any blockers, make sure that next steps are understood, and just to get to know each other. Be available on Rocket.Chat (chat.hyperledger.org) so you can answer questions. Also, encourage your intern to reach out in the various channels when they have a question. It’s a great way to meet other Hyperledger developers.
  3. Be flexible. Chances are that your 12 week plan will encounter at least some roadblocks. Be quick to remove or alter features if they are taking longer than expected to build.

What you got out of being a mentor:

Hyperledger Fabric is no longer a new project. I started as one of the original developers and now spend most of my time writing applications that run on the Hyperledger Fabric platform. I’m surrounded by people with similar experience. Having a chance to work with someone who is both new to Hyperledger and early in their software engineering career brings new perspectives that are important. A risk of working on the same thing for too long is that you get used to the way things are and don’t stop and question why something is done in a particular way and if there may be a new or better alternative. Being a mentor requires you to both be able to explain the existing architecture and answer those “why” questions that you may have ignored otherwise.

Advice for those interested in interning in the future:

The interns that really stood out during the interview process had built projects utilizing existing open source projects. This showed that they had curiosity, determination, and the ability to self-learn and get unstuck when faced with an obstacle. Sometimes contributing to existing open source projects can seem daunting or have a very steep learning curve. Creating your own small project that makes use of an existing open source project can be a great introduction to various open source communities and will also show that you have the skills needed to succeed in a program like the Hyperledger internship.

Salman A. Baset, IBM (Project – Running Solidity Smart Contracts on Hyperledger Fabric or Vice Versa)

1) Lessons learned:

To have a successful internship outcome, a project needs to be crisply defined, have an intern who possesses the necessary background and is excited to learn, and have periodic sync ups with the intern. I was fortunate to have an intern who had background in compilers and was excited to learn both Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric in order to translate Solidity smart contracts into Javascript for Fabric. We leveraged Zoom and Hyperledger Rocket chat for communication.

The key takeaway from the project is that it is possible to write smart contracts for one platform that run in another without making changes to the core platform. Perhaps, a bigger lesson is that there is a need to write smart contracts in a language that can be run on any target platform (similar to Java). Hopefully, next year, we can have a project to develop a smart language that targets multiple blockchain platforms within Hyperledger.

The project is available as open source with Apache 2.0 license and will soon be converted to a Hyperledger Lab. The source code is available here:

https://github.com/AhmadZafarITU/SolidityToJavascriptTranslatorCode

What you got out of being a mentor:

I had the satisfaction of supervising a hardworking intern who was able to create running code for the seemingly difficult idea of running Solidity contracts on Fabric. My hope is that the project does not end with the culmination of the internship and sparks interest among other members of the community.

Advice for those interested in interning in the future:

Asking questions to your mentor and seeking solutions on your own from members of community is very important.

We would also like to recognize the mentors for all the time, effort and input they provided! As always, you can keep up with what’s new with Hyperledger on Twitter or email us with any questions: info@hyperledger.org.

Hyperledger 2018 Summer Interns Recap

By | Blog, Hyperledger Burrow, Hyperledger Cello, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Iroha

It’s suddenly September and so it’s time to check in on our Hyperledger summer interns and mentors. Read on for more about five of the projects our interns tackled. We asked the interns about their summer with Hyperledger.

Here, their own words, are the goals, successes and lessons learned from each intern:

Ahmad Zafar (Project: Running Solidity Smart Contracts on Hyperledger Fabric or Vice Versa)

Project goals:

I was working on Running Solidity Smart Contracts on Hyperledger Fabric Project. The Solidity smart contracts are easy to write and are widely used by developers. The aim of this project was to help the developers to translate the publicly available Solidity smart contracts into readable and, hopefully, functionally equivalent Hyperledger Fabric contracts without writing the contracts from scratch. For Hyperledger Fabric, we chose Javascript language. Our goal was to translate 70-80% of the Solidity grammar/programs correctly into fabric smart contracts that are also human readable to make them easy to understand and change.

Successes:

I have successfully translated approximately 65-70% of solidity code to javascript code for Fabric smart contracts. Examples of language features include types, expressions, functions, events, function modifiers, structs, and single inheritance. Since Ethereum is a public blockchain with notions of Ether (Cryptocurrency) and Ether transfer, I had to provide functional equivalence in terms of Ether transfer on Fabric – (we ignore gas for now).

I have also translated 15 Solidity smart contracts examples to javascript code. These contract have been taken from different places. Some are from solidity documentation, and some are from github repositories, including the ERC20 token format which is used to create ICOs. These contracts were chosen with my mentor to cover a large number of Solidity features.

My translator will work on other contracts as well if the contract has 65-70% of the common components. My translated code and all examples that I have tested are placed on my github repository along with all the other content related to my project, including which components we have covered, how you can run this tool and results of my translated code.

Lessons learned:

For developing a translator from Solidity to Fabric, one has to have knowledge of compilers and has to learn both Solidity and chain code and both frameworks for testing code. Before starting this internship, I worked on compiler construction in my university project. The scope of that project was not big but making a translator for complete language was a massive task for me. Successfully completing that project boosted my skills in writing translator tools for different things. However, before starting this project, I had little knowledge about Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric smart contracts. After this project, I have become skillful enough in writing both Ethereum and Fabric smart contracts. Other than languages, I have learned how to run contracts on both frameworks and their architecture. In short, I learned many things related to Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric. This project will help me a lot to start development in blockchain, especially in Fabric and hopefully other Hyperledger frameworks.

A V Lakshmy (Project: Extended Support for EVM and and Tooling in Hyperledger Fabric)

Project goals:

My project involved the integration of Ethereum events into Hyperledger Fabric. The two key goals of the project were:

  • Implementation of event-related interfaces from Hyperledger Burrow to work with the event framework in Hyperledger Fabric
  • Modification of the JSON-RPC API functions in the fabproxy module to deal with events

Successes:

  • In the initial few weeks of my internship, I wrote some simple test cases for the chaincode evmscc.go. When my patch passed through the review process and finally got merged into the repository, I was elated
  • I also wrote code for an event manager module and modified the API functions in the fabproxy module. These pieces are still under review and will hopefully be merged before the September release.
  • This was my first experience with open-source development and in the exciting field of blockchain. I am thrilled that my work will eventually be included in the source code of a vast project like Fabric!

Lessons learned:

  • I got to study a new programming language, Golang.
  • I learned about Ethereum and Fabric and how to interact with these blockchain frameworks.
  • I got an exposure to version control systems like Git.
  • I grasped good software engineering principles, such as test-driven development.

I am very grateful to my mentors, Swetha Mam and Jay Sir , for patiently guiding me through this project. All in all, this project was an incredible learning experience for me!

Daniel McSheehy (Project: Hyperledger Fabric Chrome Extension)

Project goals:

The goals of my project was to build a Chrome extension that can connect to a Hyperledger Fabric network and provide an easy to use api for websites to send transactions.

Successes:

The Chrome Extension is operational. Through a simple api, a website can easily prompt the chrome extension to send transactions and query the ledger. The extension also requires confirmations from the user, preventing a website maliciously sending transactions.

Lessons learned:

Sometimes the “right” way to do something doesn’t work, so I had to come up with alternative solutions to get things working. Because my project is intended to make things easy for users, I also learned the importance of reaching out to others and receiving feedback.

Martin Martinez (Project: Simulating Hyperledger Networks with Shadow)

Project goals:

We had two key goals for the project:

  • Analyzing the current Shadow tool characteristics to find compatibility with Hyperledger networks.
  • Testing the Shadow tool with platforms such a Hyperledger Sawtooth, Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Iroha.

Successes:

We successfully identified that Hyperledger Iroha is the most suited candidate to use the Shadow network simulation tool.

Lessons learned:

I learn more about the complexity and benefits of working in an open source community. Also, I feel grateful for the support of my mentor as well as the Hyperledger community members that I contacted through different channels such a Hyperledger chat.

Shuo Wang (Project: Design Effective Operational Platform for Blockchain Management)

Project goals:

My internship project focused on supporting dynamic blockchain configuration and integrating Fabric-CA module into Hyperledger Cello to make it more suitable for production environment. For beginners or in the testing environment, we often use an offline tool to generate all the cryptographic configuration artifacts statically. However, it is a centralized and unsafe way for a single user to generate all users’ identities in a real application scenario.

Successes:

I adopted Fabric-CA module and made the generation of cryptographic artifacts dynamic, automatic and decentralized. After users login into an operator dashboard, they could easily connect to a worker node and create the blockchain on it with quite simple configuration of the network type, size and roles in the blockchain. All the orderer nodes and peer nodes will register and enroll their identities from the CA server. Then users could login into a User-Dashboard to install and run chaincode in the blockchain with a newly generated user identity from the CA server.

I will continue to work in Hyperledger Cello Project after internship, and I plan to make the process of Cello workflow more dynamic so that each organization in the blockchain network could change their own settings more freely.

Currently, I am doing my master thesis at the Southern University of California and Tsinghua University. My research is focused on the blockchain consensus. Therefore, I am quite interested in seeing the Byzantine-fault-tolerant consensus used in the future version of Hyperledger Fabric.

Lessons learned:

During the internship, I enjoyed the culture of open source and learned some great tools for open source project development. The most important lesson I learned is to be timely in following up and keep in close touch with mentors and colleagues because people work collaboratively from all over the world. I really appreciate my mentor, Dr. Baohua Yang, and his kind help and guidance. He gave me many practical suggestions and shared deep insight of blockchain industry with me.

As a bonus, we asked for the intern’s take on what they’d like to see Hyperledger do in the future. Here are a couple of our favorite answers:

“I hope Hyperledger offers or organizes hackathons at universities. I think that it could be a great way to get students involved in blockchain and expose them to open source communities. I’m always amazed at the ideas people come up with at hackathons, and think that there could be projects and use cases that have never been thought of.” – Daniel McSheehy

“I hope that Hyperledger continues to give such amazing internship opportunities to students!” – A V Lakshmy

We would like to thank these interns for all their hard work and success. We would also like to recognize the mentors for all the time, effort and input they provided. Many of them went the extra mile and provided some their take on lessons learned, what they gained by being a mentor and advice for future interns as well. We will be posting their reactions and experiences with the program in another blog tomorrow – stay tuned! As always, you can keep up with what’s new with Hyperledger on Twitter or email us with any questions: info@hyperledger.org.

Hyperledger Fabric & Sawtooth Certification Exams Coming Soon!

By | Blog, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Sawtooth

We strongly believe in helping organizations and developers overcome obstacles to blockchain adoption by investing in training and certification courses for Hyperledger. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce that Certified Hyperledger Fabric Administrator and Certified Hyperledger Sawtooth Administrator exams will be released later this year!

Below is more information on the certification exams:

Certified Hyperledger Fabric Administrator

The Certified Hyperledger Fabric Administrator (CHFA) can effectively build a secure Hyperledger Fabric network for commercial deployment. To pass the exam, professionals must demonstrate the ability to install, configure, operate, manage, and troubleshoot the nodes on that network. Completion of LFD271 may help serve as preparation for the CHFA exam, but is not required.

Exam sections will include:

  • Application Lifecycle Management
  • Installing and Configuring the Network
  • Diagnostics and Troubleshooting
  • Membership Service Provision
  • Network Maintenance and Operations

View the full list of domains and competencies for CHFA.

Certified Hyperledger Sawtooth Administrator

The Certified Hyperledger Sawtooth Administrator (CHSA) can effectively build a secure Hyperledger Sawtooth network for commercial deployment. To pass the exam, professionals must demonstrate the ability to install, configure, operate, manage, and troubleshoot the nodes on that network.

Exam sections will include:

  • Installation
  • Configuration
  • Permissioning, Identity Management & Security
  • Lifecycle
  • Troubleshooting

View the full list of domains and competencies for CHSA.

The certification exams were made possible thanks to generous help from the community. Specifically, we’d like to call out and thank the participating individuals for the time they contributed to shape the content for these certifications:

Hyperledger Fabric

  • David Gorman, IBM
  • Dinesh Kumar, Oracle
  • Ernesto Lee, Blockchain Training Alliance
  • Greg Skerry, Altoros
  • Manu Varghese, Greenstream Technology
  • Yaoguo Jiang, Huawei
  • Naresh Thumma and Bhasker Nallapothula, Biarca
  • Ry Jones, Hyperledger,
  • Liz Kline, The Linux Foundation
  • Clyde Seepersad, The Linux Foundation
  • Toki Winter, The Linux Foundation

Hyperledger Sawtooth

  • Dan Middleton, Intel
  • Tom Barnes, Intel
  • Richard Berg, Bitwise IO
  • Ryan Beck-Buysse, Bitwise IO
  • Val Reid, PokitDok
  • Anthony Adkins, PokitDok
  • Gregory Skerry, Altoros
  • Neeraj Srivastava, DLT Labs
  • Jovan Maric, DLT Labs
  • Chris Spanton, T-Mobile
  • Ernesto Lee, Blockchain Training Alliance
  • Tracy Kuhrt, Hyperledger
  • Ry Jones, Hyperledger
  • Wallace Judd, Authentic Testing
  • Toki Winter, The Linux Foundation
  • Liz Kline, The Linux Foundation

Both the CHFA and CHSA exams will be available to take before the end of the year. As with all Linux Foundation certification exams, the exams are completed remotely from virtually any location with a stable internet connection and webcam. Those who fail to pass the exam on their first attempt can retake the exam one additional time at no cost.

But the certifications are not the only thing to be excited about – you can now enroll in a new LFD271 – Hyperledger Fabric Fundamentals training course, which was also announced by The Linux Foundation today. LFD271 is designed for developers. They will learn how business logic is implemented in Hyperledger Fabric through chaincode (Hyperledger Fabric’s smart contracts) and review the various transaction types used to read from and write to the distributed ledger.

The LFD271 course instructor, Jonathan Levi is the founder of HACERA, and one of the early contributors to Hyperledger Fabric. He helped shape the Membership Services (the permissioning layer of Hyperledger Fabric) and was the official release manager of Hyperledger Fabric 1.0. He has built several large-scale mission critical systems that had to be highly available, secure and fault-tolerant.

Be on the lookout for these certifications as well as a beta tester program where we will invite members of the community to take the exams. If someone completes the beta exam with a passing grade, they will become one of the first Certified Hyperledger Fabric or Sawtooth Administrators upon launch of the program.

We hope you join us in contributing to Hyperledger projects. As always, you can keep up with what’s new with Hyperledger on Twitter or email us with any questions: info@hyperledger.org.

Developer Showcase Series: Ian Costanzo, Anon Solutions Inc

By | Blog, Developer Showcase, Hyperledger Composer, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Indy

We return back to our Developer Showcase blog! This series serves to highlight the work and motivations of developers, users and researchers collaborating on Hyperledger’s projects. Next up is Ian Costanzo from Anon Solutions Inc. Let’s dig in!

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

Learn the fundamentals, and then get involved in an interesting open source project.

Working with Bitcoin is one of the best ways to learn the fundamentals of blockchain. The original white paper lays the groundwork in a clear and concise way, and there is a significant amount of documentation and examples available. Once you have a good understanding of the basic cryptography, merkle trees, proof of work, etc, it is much easier to work with more complex frameworks, which tend to layer on additional functionality (and complexity).

Then find an open source project and get involved. No matter what your interest there is probably a existing project in with a need for contributions in a number of areas. Documentation, introductory tutorials and testing are common needs. I’ve been involved in a few projects, and I’ve found there is always enthusiastic support (via slack, rocketchat, telegram, etc.) for new participants.

Also check for local meetups – I’m fortunate that in Vancouver there are a lot of blockchain enthusiasts, many meetups, and I’ve met quite a few interesting characters.

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’m working with the BC Government on their Verifiable Organizations Network (VON) project (https://github.com/bcgov/von) using Hyperledger Indy.  I got involved in a roundabout kind of way.

Originally I was working with a homeless shelter in Calgary (https://www.calgarydropin.ca/) – they had recently implemented a new CRM and were looking at ways they could improve service to their clients by (securely) collaborating with other service providers. Their primary concerns were security of personal information, and respect for the sovereignty of individuals to control their own information, where possible. I did a survey of the technology space, and found that the Sovrin network (and Hyperledger Indy) was a clear fit for their requirement. I was lucky enough to get in touch with the BC group who were working with the same technology, and then fortunate to be able to participate in their project.

I’m interested in how blockchain can be used to help protect our personal information, and give us more autonomy and control over how our information is shared and used.

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

I’m working with Hyperledger Indy, with the BC Government. My role has been to scale up the solution to handle enterprise requirements, including large data volumes and transaction throughputs.  It’s been a fascinating experience, because I get to work with a lot of very smart people in the BC Government, as well as at Sovrin, Evernym and the whole Indy community.  The technology is new, which is interesting, but we’re also exploring new ways in how the technology is being applied, which creates lots of challenges and opportunities.

Specifically I’ve been working on an Enterprise Wallet for the central credential “holder.” I’ve updated the wallet to support multiple identities and millions of credentials, and to run in an enterprise micro-services deployment. I’m excited for the next round of SDK wallet development, which is going to introduce wallet meta-data, native encryption and improved search capabilities, which are all going to support functionality the team is planning to add in the coming months.

I’d also like to mention that the BC team is working in partnership with the governments of Ontario and Canada. In Victoria we work out of the government’s “Innovation Center”, which is focussed on public/private partnerships and support for the open source community. All the work we are doing is open source, available for use, and we welcome new collaborators.

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

Ease of use for new developers, as well as scalability. Ease of use is something that Ethereum (for example) has done a very good job with. Solidity is pretty simple to learn, and you can write very sophisticated blockchain applications without having to get too deep into the weeds. This is why Ethereum is one of the most widely used blockchain platforms. The downside of Ethereum is scalability (Crypto Kitties almost brought down the whole network) but that is something they are putting some resources into.

I’ve worked with Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Indy, and I think anyone will agree that these are very complex technologies!  In order to get more widespread adoption documentation, training and tooling are critical. Their strength is that they are more specialized networks, however they come with a very steep learning curve, and this is something that needs to be addressed.

For Hyperledger Fabric, the introduction of Composer for application development was a huge step forward. Hyperledger Indy (what I am mostly working with now) could use similar tooling. There is work in progress on documentation and developer tools, but the more focus in this area the better!

As a private network, Hyperledger Fabric may not suffer from the same scalability concerns as public networks, but Indy supports a public network (Sovrin) so scalability is definitely a concern.

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

I like to think that blockchain can be used for the benefit of humanity, rather than just providing a living for those of us fortunate enough to be working with the technology.

Self sovereign identity has a lot of potential, putting information under the control of the individual rather than large corporations, allowing us to (selectively) share with our friends and colleagues, without having to worry about our information being mined and mis-used.  Also being able to benefit disadvantaged populations, like refugees and the homeless.

Privacy is another potential benefit of blockchain, having the ability to secure personal information, as well as being able to communicate and transact anonymously.

I’ve seen a lot of other really interesting applications proposed or prototyped, like using cryptocurrency to distribute aid directly to recipients (reducing the risk of graft), or using blockchain to track ethically captured tuna. I’m excited (and hopeful) for the future of this technology.

What technology could you not live without?

I resisted getting a smartphone for a long time, because I have a bit of a technology addiction. (I also don’t own a TV because I would just end up watching it all the time.) Now I have an Android phone, and I’m in constant communication. I always know the answer to every question (thanks Google) and where to go for lunch or the best route to get to the ferry. When I get involved in an interesting technology (like blockchain!) I become a bit of a workaholic and spend far too much time on the computer.

So the best technology for me is sometimes no technology at all. Leave the phone behind and go for a walk, to clear my mind. Sit down with a pen and paper to solve some problems, rather than try to work it out at the computer (This forces me to do some actual programming for a change, rather than just cut and pasting from StackExchange.) Read the newspaper rather than my news feed online.

Until the nervous twitching starts and I have to reach for my phone!

 

Why India is Poised to be a Leader in Blockchain Technology Adoption

By | Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

Guest post: Jesse Chenard, CEO, MonetaGo

There are a number of Hyperledger members that are active in India today including Deloitte, IBM, Intain Fintech Pte, Investrata Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship (IFSE), Kerala Blockchain Academy, MonetaGo, National Stock Exchange of India, R3, and Wipro. The amount of blockchain-related activity in the emerging market is actually not that surprising as there are a number of reasons why India in particular is ripe for adoption.

Government Support

One of the most powerful reasons for blockchain adoption is due to support from the Indian government. Interest would likely be hampered without the regulators and related bodies deciding to explore this new frontier. Indeed, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has made numerous statements about the potential of blockchain. The Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT) engaged with companies such as MonetaGo to understand the functionality which distributed ledgers could provide. Even at the state level, government entities have encouraged entire industries to explore new potential products and their implications. Without this kind of support, it can be difficult for innovation to flourish.

Digital Infrastructure

Given India’s focus on a digital infrastructure supported by both policy and technological innovation, it is not surprising that this is where one of the first enterprise blockchain implementations occurred. The country has been quick in moving toward a digital economy with initiatives like Aadhaar, Demonetization, and the implementation of the new Goods and Services Tax (GST). ResearchAndMarkets.com recently reported that the digital adoption in India is one of the major factors driving Blockchain technology adoption.

Technological Sophistication of workforce

Chandrajit Banerjee, director general, confederation of Indian Industry notes, “Given its size and innovation development, India has the potential to make a true difference to the global innovation landscape in the years to come.” Additionally, ResearchAndMarkets.com notes 56% of Indian businesses are moving towards Blockchain technology, making the technology a part of their core business. As a result, there is increasing demand in relevant blockchain related skill sets which have led to the launch of numerous educational initiatives. The latest to introduce such a program is the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Widespread Fraud

Unfortunately in recent times, India has been rife with frauds and scandals. The most prominent example recently was with PNB Bank and Nirav Modi. This type of incident was a clear example of systems within banking institutions being siloed. Because there was no communication layer between the business units providing the Letters of Undertaking and the banks own treasury, and because there was no Business Process Management (BPM) system in place which could ensure that the risk associated weren’t getting out of control, PNB was defrauded of $2 Billion. Blockchain is precisely the type of technology which is able to help facilitate this type of BPM and provide crystal clear audibility at every step of a transaction.

Of course the Indian market does have its own unique set of challenges that affect business and technology initiatives in this emerging economy. For example, changes in existing regulations may result in some blockchain developers leaving India to move abroad for work on projects in environments with different laws.

On balance, optimism is high with respect to blockchain technology adoption in India. If your organization has made forays into the market, please share your successes and best practices with the community. Stay tuned as MonetaGo and other Hyperledger members report on the ever-increasing momentum of Production deployments in India.

 

(8.20.18) Ledger Insights: Hyperledger could open source your business using blockchain

By | Hyperledger Fabric, News

Hyperledger is the umbrella body for ten open source blockchain projects, all of which are cross-industry. So far, that is. Ledger Insights spoke to Hyperledger Executive Director, Brian Behlendorf, and explored the likelihood of industry-specific open source blockchains. Open source could significantly impact the governance of industry consortia and increase the pace of innovation.

More here.

(8.8.18) JAXenter: Blockchain development made easy: Getting started with Hyperledger Fabric

By | Hyperledger Fabric, News

JAXenter: What are the advantages of using Hyperledger Fabric

Christopher Ferris: Few open source blockchain projects have a development community as diverse and large as Hyperledger Fabric. When selecting an open source platform, it is critical to take into consideration the supporting community and ecosystem that will ensure that the platform will have long-term sustainability.

Additionally, the modularity of the platform, enabling multiplicity of consensus algorithms, privacy enforcement mechanisms, policy enforcement, and smart contract language support gives it greater flexibility for a variety of enterprise use cases.

More here.

Developer Showcase Series: Jean-Louis (JL) Marechaux, JDA Labs

By | Blog, Hyperledger Composer, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Indy

Image: Jean-Louis (JL) Marechaux, JDA Labs

We return back to our Developer Showcase blog series, which serves to highlight the work and motivations of developers, users and researchers collaborating on Hyperledger’s projects. Next up is JL Marechaux from JDA Labs. Let’s see what he has to say!

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

The first advice I would offer is what I give on every single new technology adoption: Clearly identify the business need, and make sure that blockchain is appropriate to meet business needs. Blockchain is not a silver bullet. There are a couple of use-cases where blockchain is absolutely not the right answer. Be sure you assess blockchain applicability in your context.

I would also recommend to take an incremental and iterative approach for new Blockchain initiatives. Decompose your business problem to identity a simple use-case, something that can be described as an agile story. Implement this first story in a small prototype, to get familiar with core blockchain concepts. Then incrementally add new capabilities to your blockchain solution.

There are plenty of resources to help when you start a blockchain project. I personally recommend the Hyperledger online documentation, as it cover the key concepts and provide practical tutorials. Moreover, a tool like Hyperledger Composer is an easy way to define and test a business network with minimal investment. To me, Composer is a pretty good platform for an early blockchain prototype.

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 work at JDA Labs, which is the R&D entity of JDA Software. The company has a focus on the supply chain and the retail industry, and we provide software solution to support the digital transformation of our customers. Because we are interested in digital transactions between multiple parties, blockchain seems to be a natural fit to address some automation and traceability problems. When products transit all over the world, through multiple countries and multiple companies, I believe that blockchain can help provide a better end-to-end visibility of the supply chain.

I started to be interested in blockchain when I was working at IBM. Around 2015 or 2016, I was part of an internal initiative to identify blockchain use cases for different industries. I had the opportunity to discuss with people far more knowledgeable than me in this area, and to learn basic concepts. When I started at JDA, I was exposed to a new business domain, and it quickly became obvious that blockchain could improve supply chain transparency and traceability. So I decided do more research and experimentation in this area.

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 see a lot of value in all the Hyperledger projects, so it is difficult to mention just a few.

But given my current job and my focus at this time, I would select Hyperledger Fabric and Indy.

Because it supports permissioned networks, Hyperledger Fabric seems appropriate in a supply chain environment where participants are usually known and vetted. The channel capability in Fabric provides a data partitioning mechanism to restrict visibility to some participants, which is required for some some business transactions. Hyperledger Fabric is based on a modular and scalable architecture to support most business needs.

I have not explored Hyperledger Indy capabilities yet, but given the nature of a blockchain business network, it seems important to have a strong mechanism to manage decentralized identities.

In addition to the blockchain frameworks, I am quite interested in the different tools (e.g. Composer , Explorer) that are developed under the Hyperledger umbrella to facilitate and accelerate blockchain adoption.

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

As a consumer, I always wonder where the products I buy are coming from. I can sometime get that information reading the product label, but can I really believe what is written? Why should I trust the organic certification body? Organic food fraud is massive. Traceability on fair trade products is weak. Provenance of consumer goods is nearly impossible to obtain.

Blockchain technologies can solve this problem by enabling full transparency and traceability on products. As a consumer, I would love to be able to scan a product in a store with my smartphone and get the proof of origin through a blockchain.

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

“If you want to eat an elephant, do it one bite at a time.” This comes from an old saying, but I remember receiving that advice for software development, long before Agile practices were popular. To be able to deliver complex software solution, it is important to have the big picture first, to understand the end goal. But then the best approach to deliver the solution is to adopt a step by step approach to incrementally develop the software.

And of course, I was told many times to read the manual. The “RTFM” acronym cannot be repeated often enough.

I think those two tips are relevant for any blockchain project.

Developer Showcase Series: Enrico Zanardo, OneZero Binary Ltd

By | Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

Image: Enrico Zanardo, OneZero Binary Ltd.

This Developer Showcase blog series serves to highlight the work and motivations of developers, users and researchers collaborating on Hyperledger’s projects. Next up is Enrico Zanardo from OneZero Binary. Let’s see what he has to say!

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

I recommend that not only developers but also anybody passionate about the technology study thoroughly, and also to adopt a typical distributed ledger technology (DLT) “forma mentis”. Blockchain is starting to become a new mainstream technology just like the Internet in the 2000s and social networks in the successive decade.

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

Between Malta and Italy, my team and I have been working on PulseRescue, a mobile app with a backend application that connects to all the emergency centres in each country. PulseRescue alerts first responders that are nearest to the emergency. We needed to connect and share information between multiple entities like hospitals, emergency services, first responder organisations such as the Red Cross, White Cross, etc… so Hyperledger Fabric was the best choice. We are also able to customise the app based on each organisation’s specific needs, like the layout, without changing our communication protocol. We really hope that this use case can gain wide enough adoption to help save lives.

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’m a Golang fanatic, and Hyperledger Fabric is the most interesting choice if I have to connect multiple organisations together. I’m also looking at Hyperledger Iroha because I think that it will become a common framework when the development of mobile applications is required. The development of a new, chain-based Byzantine Fault Tolerant consensus algorithm called Sumeragi is also interesting.

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

The most obvious answer is “everywhere.” However, if I had to think about the sectors with the most important and immediate need, I would say education, IoT, and everything concerning product traceability in supply and production chains, e.g. large-scale organised distribution.

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

While taking the first certified cohort of the Hyperledger Fabric for Developers course provided by B9lab, I learned how to setup Kafka and Zookeeper on the Hyperledger Fabric network. Thanks to this course, I was able to test this “consensus” mechanism to make multiple order processes crash fault tolerant.

I personally suggest that everybody interested in blockchain technology try at least one course provided by B9lab simply because they are able to teach sophisticated tools like Hyperledger Fabric in a simple way, and they are always ready to help their students during (and after) the course.