Category

Hyperledger Fabric

Easing World Trade: Avanza Innovation, Hyperledger Fabric and Dubai’s Digital Silk Road

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

As part of Dubai 10X, an initiative to put Dubai 10 years ahead of other world cities in terms of technology, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Port Authority, called DP World, formed a joint team to develop the Digital Silk Road. This smart platform would aim to solve the global trading system’s key issues–high costs, low trust, and lack of transparency using blockchain technology.

The Digital Silk Road is a broad, multi-year initiative. It’s intended to be a one-stop digital trading platform, marketplace, and matchmaker for people seeking and providing trade services. The starting point was two projects that serve as the foundation for the Digital Silk Road: Unification of Trade Registration and Export Authorization.

In Dubai, registering to import or export even a single container of goods was neither smooth nor easy. In reality, it was a lengthy process that touched on many authorities.   

First, a company needed to register for a trade license to operate in the country. To import or export, it also registered with DP World. Next it registered with Dubai Trade, Dubai Chamber of Commerce, and Dubai Customs. And if the trader ever updated anything? There would be gaps in the information among authorities.

For export, the process took even more steps. Exporters needed a Certificate of Origin, issued by Dubai Chamber. The exporter took the certificate and export declaration to DP World to gather documentation. Then to Dubai Customs to gather more documentation. All those documents would move from one organization to another until the goods finally left the country.

Dubai Chamber and DP World wanted to break ground on the Digital Silk by unifying trade registrations and replicate information across all the authorities. They also set a goal streamlining the exporting process and making it paperless. So they teamed up with Avanza Innovations on the Unification of Trade Registration and the Export Authorization projects, which went live in January 2020. Avanza built and deployed the projects on Hyperledger Fabric as it was a mature, tested blockchain platform that had demonstrated it could handle production-grade transactions

Now, with the Unification of Trade Registration, a company wanting to do business in Dubai can register once, through a secure, single-window interface. The data gets distributed across all government trade entities. And if the company needs to update any information, the new information is instantly shared by all.

Export Authorization tracks trade transactions, reduces transaction time, and enables secure, encrypted digital authentication. Seamless documentation sharing with relevant government entities happens through smart contracts. Compliance and regulatory checks happen throughout the process, which is completely paperless.

Hyperledger worked up with Avanza Innovation on a case study that covers blockchain’s role in Dubai’s ambitious technology plans, details the initial Digital Silk Road projects that are in production now, automating international trade, and previews future plans for the digital marketplace.

Read the full case study here.

Translating Hyperledger Fabric Documentation into Multiple Languages

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric, Working Group

Since Hyperledger Fabric was first introduced in 2017, it has been embraced by the open source community, including both Fabric developers and Fabric contributors, from around the world. Today, Fabric networks are currently running in numerous countries. But 80% of the world’s population are non-English speakers. English-only Fabric documentation represents a barrier to adoption by the broader global community. What if the Fabric documentation was available in native languages to these non-English speakers? Blockchain networks could be deployed and shared more easily as the pool of Fabric users broadens to non-English speaking developers around the world.

Therefore, to spearhead further project adoption in the global community, Anthony O’Dowd launched an initiative in 2019 to begin translating the Fabric documentation into other languages to empower non-English speakers to use Fabric. It started with a small group of Chinese translators and spread to an academic institution in India where the Malayalam translation followed.

Anthony created a repeatable process to translate the documentation that allows translators from other languages to quickly on-board and get started. The process was published in the Fabric documentation Contributing Guide and includes resources and examples for how to start a new translation in GitHub as well as  instructions for which topics to translate first and how to collaborate with other translators.

Today, Fabric is being translated today into six languages (Chinese, Japanese, Malayalam, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish), and we are excited to see what other languages people are interested in contributing to. See the existing translated content on the documentation home page, by clicking on the Introduction. Switch between languages by clicking on the version in the table of contents to view the other languages that are available and their translated content.

Translation of the Fabric documentation has benefited the broader community in many ways. Translators have acknowledged that the translation effort itself has been a great way to learn Fabric and,as they become familiar with the contributing process overall, provides the experience to not only contribute translations but also code or bug fixes. Translations now not only allowFabric developers to take advantage of the technology but also enable the general public to learn about the benefits of blockchain technology in their native language. When  content is available in your native language, it encourages engagement, enables a stronger connection to the technology, and opens the door for even more companies to adopt Fabric technologies.

Get Involved with a New or Existing Translation Effort

But translation requires collaboration, so the Linux Foundation is launching the Fabric Documentation Translation Campaign to recruit and encourage new translators to join an existing effort or start a new language translation. To get involved with a translation, check out the available working groups or start your own. And you’re welcome to translate any of the material in the Hyperledger community that you would find useful to have in your own language.

Everyone has limited time, and the volume of content available for translation is large. However,  the more people who step in to help just proof-read or contribute a small amount of translation, the greater the benefit for the entire community. Appreciation goes out to the following translators for their help in getting this community driven translation effort started: Satomi Tsujita, Yang Cheng, Junjie Zhou, Aneena Alexander, Renato Teixeira, Claudio Paz, and Oumar Fall. And we’d like to acknowledge other open source projects with active translation efforts such as Mozilla, Kubernetes, and Apache for a model of how to provide documentation in multiple languages. To get started visit www.hyperledger.org/translate or join a workgroup that has already started translations in your language. See International groups on the Wiki for a list of available groups or start your own.

Full decentralization of Hyperledger Fabric through embedded IoT solutions

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Labs

Almost a year ago, Telefónica brought TrustID to Hyperledger Labs as an open source project.  Telefónica initiated development of TrustID to ease the management of identities across several blockchain networks. The initial idea of TrustID was to decouple the issuance of identities from their consumption and allow users to operate in some networks with credentials issued in others. In this manner, users shouldn’t need to hold a different set of credentials for each network or decentralized application they interact with.

Furthermore, TrustID provides the opportunity to decentralize identity in Hyperledger Fabric. When you deploy a blockchain network using TrustID, identities are organization locking and, therefore, they are centralized on the Certificate Authorities (CAs) that have issued them. Inside the network, several CAs can co-exist, but easy onboarding of new organizations is an unsolved problem that makes it very hard for the network to grow organically as new partners join. Initially, TrustID, as a first approach, solves this restriction of the identity management in Hyperledger Fabric. Furthermore it brings to this technology the chance to really enable a custom decentralized identity management.

As you scale up a deployment, adding many different organizations from different origins, many without trust relationships between them, this identity issue becomes much more serious and limiting between them. However, shifting to decentralized identity management ensures that a network is not dependent on the companies that are part of the solution, making it more resilient in the face of change and growth.

A clear example where we can appreciate these characteristics is the case of the IoT world. Use cases often include companies providing monitoring services with IoT devices, operators offering the communication network, and owners of the devices looking to apply the benefits of this technology to their blockchain-based traceability projects.

The identity management in IoT is a complex scenario that involves the provisioning of certificates in the device and the need to have a public key infrastructure. This process must be accomplished in a secure way, verifying the software in the factory. Once provisioned, the device is able to use its certificate to sign communications with the aim of demonstrating its identity.

However, it’s also known that sometimes the devices are limited in performance or storage. For example, they could be designed to write once in their memory in all their useful life so, if we need to change an identity because the blockchain network has changed, the device could be useless for a blockchain use case.

On the opposite, when the devices can write in their memory many times, the process of updating the firmware or any information stored on it securely is also a hard process. So, at the end, it’s a requirement to have a flexible management of the keys stored at first instance, which, thanks to TrustID, is possible.

Recently, aitos.io and Telefónica have collaborated on a PoC to integrate IoT technology with Telefónica’s TrustOS product. The goal was to use  blockchain technology to perform interactions from the device to the ledger, provisioning the identity and the keys associated directly on the device.

aitos.io developed its blockchain application framework, named BoAT (Blockchain of AI Things), which is an IoT-device-oriented C-language client library for blockchain services, to enable IoT devices to access blockchain. In this PoC, BoAT running in a Fibocom FG150, a 5G blockchain module, helps a FG150-based IoT device access TrustOS services directly. So, as a result, it has been possible to create signed transactions on the device in order to be stored in the TrustOS platform, which is based on Hyperledger Fabric, without any intermediary.

The device manufacturer could register every device onto the TrustID service of TrustOS and write the unique DID allocated by TrustID into the device. When the device is powered on and connected to the network for the first time, BoAT, in the device, imports the device into TrustOS by signing its DID in a JSON Web Signature (JWS) message. In this way, the device, and not the application, is the custodian of the private keys that would be used to sign transactions.

BoAT also provisions the IoT device asset, as a digital twin, on the TrustOS Track service that offers all the traceability functionalities in order to give full transparency of the physical device. Then, the device comprising the BoAT-enabled 5G blockchain module can send periodic updates on its status  (e.g., vehicle speed, heading, etc.) to TrustOS by composing additional JWS messages. All of this generates the possibility of offering, in a transparent way, the traceability of the data generated by the device.

TrustOS and BoAT interaction diagram

In deployments with integrated BoAT technology, all the data the IoT device captures could be directly sent to TrustOS with a cryptographically verifiable DID identifying their origin. That is, not only the data integrity is assured by the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain under TrustOS but also the data provenance can be identified by TrustID. Tampered-resistant IoT data with identifiable origin builds a great value for the industry.

From the point of view of TrustOS, thanks to the implementation of the machine-to-machine interaction and how TrustID manages the authentication and access to the system, it’s possible to avoid unauthorized tampering or unexpected updates. As a result, it adds extra trustworthiness-proof beyond the standard KPI.

Cover image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay.

Wecan Comply: How to use the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain for real-time compliance auditing

By Blog, Finance, Hyperledger Fabric

The state of compliance today

Compliance today is hampered by a real lack of coordination between its various players. Indeed, each actor uses its own processes and tools. Some have invested in technological innovation while others continue to use more traditional methods. The situation is such that nothing has yet been really proposed to facilitate compliance exchanges between external asset managers and their custodian banks.

The administrative workload is heavy and is increasing: the list grows daily, with a new regulatory alert in financial services alone issued every seven minutes according to Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence. And it is estimated that 15 to 25% of a company’s revenue is wasted because of poor data quality and management says Experian plc. Indeed, information is, most of the time, structured internally but exchanged externally by mail, email, phone or fax in a very inefficient and unsecured way. For EAMs, onboarding at a custodian bank therefore requires several hours of work: the announcement process carried out at all the custodian banks, which can go up to more than 50 hours, is still very manual today. 

In addition, the annual review (partial or complete) of the relationship with the bank is an important process for the bank and requires administrative verification work that can take several months.  

Compliance efficiency thanks to blockchain

The administrative burden caused by the duplication of compliance processes will be considerably reduced, thanks to blockchain. It will make it possible to digitize and streamline the management of information, thus avoiding many errors. Bockchain technology will enable independent managers to implement much more reliable, smooth and secure operating procedures.

The Wecan Comply platform makes it possible to digitize and standardise the information exchanged between financial players in order to facilitate and streamline exchanges between banks and independent asset managers in a secure manner. The objective is to enable financial players to pool their resources on non-competitive and non-differentiated subjects in order to improve auditability and, eventually, to automate it. This will not be available immediately, but the Wecan Comply platform will soon be linked to official registers. Managers will thus be able to ensure that their custodian banks have direct access to all kinds of official documents, without having to worry about collecting and processing them. By skipping these verification steps, they will be able to save time while limiting the risk of fraud. 

The Blockchain Association for Finance: a unique compliance network

Wecan Comply is an ambitious project aimed at optimizing compliance processes. It is the first blockchain infrastructure addressed to Private Banks, thus significantly opening up the prospects of use cases. Several banks and independent asset managers have already joined this unique network: Pictet Group, Lombard Odier Group, Edmond de Rothschild, REYL Group, Hyposwiss Private Bank Genève SA, Gonet, Banque Cramer, CAPITALIUM Wealth Management, PLEION Gestion de fortune, and Fransad Gestion SA. In order to carry out this project, Wecan Group has created an industry standard that meets the best regulatory requirements set by regulators. With a view to ensuring neutrality and the proper functioning of the platform, the members of the network have created an association: the Blockchain Association for Finance. 

Systematic and real-time compliance status 

The platform allows EAMs and banks users to track and receive real-time alerts for all changes to ensure the compliance of documents and information shared. It monitors, reports and analyzes events and changes while ensuring the security of the environment thanks to Hyperledger Fabric. This solution enhances the security by allowing the user to instantly know who made a specific change, when, and from which entity. Since the data stored is authenticated by multiple institutions and continually up to date, the compliance offices have a real-time reporting of the compliance status and can share it at any time to the management or the external auditors.

Custodian banks save time by accessing in one place standard and structured information coming from their EAM. And they have a real-time compliance status linked to all data. Wecan Comply solution drives efficiency and cost effectiveness, reducing the painful administrative work. Banks are processing top-notch quality of data since all information is validated by other banks of the network. All exchanges are digital, onboardings are faster and there is a real-time auditability of all modifications.

Why we choose Hyperledger Fabric 

Wecan Comply uses Hyperledger Fabric, an open source blockchain platform for enterprises hosted by the Linux Foundation. Hyperledger Fabric enables private actors to exchange information while retaining ownership of their data. Each party is clearly identified, and every transaction is authenticated, authorized, validated and tracked. 

Thanks to Hyperledger Fabric there is no central administrator: each bank and EAM controls its own information in a fully encrypted and secured network. As a solution provider, Wecan Comply does not have access to the information exchanged. It is only powering the network. Hyperledger Fabric offers a high level of security by ensuring that data access is only made after the user’s private key has been verified by the system. This eliminates the chance of unauthorized access and gives individuals greater control over their information. In addition, the platform is certified by a zero-knowledge proof technology that allows to protect the privacy of all users and to decentralize data control and sharing.

The world of compliance tomorrow

The union of financial players within a network offers good prospects for development.  In particular, data exchange among custodian banks, regulatory bodies and auditors will benefit from significant gains in efficiency.

The next step for Wecan Comply is the connection to the official registers that will create a real ecosystem around compliance and thus release all the value of the platform. Wecan Comply was initiated with and for the actors of the financial industry. Our ambition is then to apply this method to all regulated professions where there are standards in order to guarantee a monitoring and audit of compliance in real time.

Once Again, Forbes “Blockchain 50” Shows Enterprise Blockchain’s Footprint and Impact, with Hyperledger Technologies Leading The Pack

By Blog, Hyperledger Aries, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Grid, Hyperledger Indy, Hyperledger Sawtooth

Declaring that blockchain has “gone mainstream,” Forbes today released its 2021 “Blockchain 50,” featuring companies that have at least $1 billion in revenues or are valued at $1 billion or more and “lead in employing distributed ledger technology.” And, once again, half of the companies on the list are using Hyperledger technology. 

Twenty five companies on the list name at least one Hyperledger technology as part of their solution platform. Hyperledger Fabric, specifically, is cited as a platform by 24 of the companies, topping the list as the most widely used technology. Hyperledger Aries, Indy, Grid and Sawtooth are all also deployed by companies on this list. 

The annual list, now in its third year, reflects the growing global impact of blockchain technology with 25 members from the U.S., 13 from Europe and a record 12 from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. All in all, there were 21 companies that were new to the list, and 15 of them, including ones from Australia (BHP), India (Tech Mahindra) and Africa (Sappi), use Hyperledger-based platforms. 

Of the 12 companies that have made the list every year, six (Ant Group, Cargill, DTCC, IBM, ING and Walmart) use Hyperledger technologies.

More than just a basic list of companies and technologies, the Forbes Blockchain 50 provides a snapshot of the market-changing deployments these blockchain leaders have deployed. Accompanying stories add even more analysis and context. 

This annual look at the market is a good reflection point for the traction our technologies have in the current market but also a guidepost to what needs to come next. The increasing global adoption of blockchain – public, private, hybrid – and coming shifts in currency adoption and payments as well as uptake in markets as diverse as mining, telecom, pharma and shipping all point to the growing reach of distributed ledger technology. And, in the face of such challenges as the pandemic, climate change and income equality, it is important to put the focus on what we can accomplish building on blockchain as a cornerstone. 

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

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Labs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blockchain technology for healthcare data management

By Blog, Healthcare, Hyperledger Fabric

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blockchain for the greater good: a round-up of #HyperledgerSocialImpact solutions

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Sawtooth

While blockchain is taking an increasingly strategic role across a number of industries, one of its biggest areas of impact is powering applications that address the greater social good. Blockchain-based solutions are bringing new scope and scale to social impact efforts around the world. 

Read on for details about a sampling of #HyperledgerSocialImpact solutions where Hyperledger platforms are unpinning innovative new approaches to solving very hard and human problems: 

Fair Fashion

The Brazilian textile industry represents 10% of the nation’s industrial GDP, and it is also the second-largest employer in the country. Despite its importance, fashion is ranked second as the industry with most cases of forced labor or conditions similar to slavery.

As an effort to fight this problem, in recent years, brands and manufacturers in the textile industry have been auditing production sites. Because of the lack of integration between the actors of this production chain, auditings is still very inefficient, as it involves high costs and offers a vast scope of error.

To solve these problems and reverse this scenario, Blockforce – a Brazilian blockchain researcher and builder and general member of Hyperledger –  in partnership with C&A Foundation, Instituto E and COPPEAD-UFRJ, developed a blockchain-based solution called Fair Fashion. Designed using the Hyperledger Fabric framework, this solution promotes visibility and accountability in the fashion supply chain, with the goal of improving working conditions and the efficiency of processes in the production chain. 

QMC HealthID

Quantum Materials Corp (QMC) in San Marcos, Texas, has created a mobile app called QMC HealthID, which is seeking to enable people to return to the workforce by providing Covid-19 test credentials without compromising their personal privacy data protection rights. This is achieved by partnering with verified test partners who store the user’s diagnosis in QMC’s HIPAA compliant database. From a compliance perspective, QMC HealthID records all its interactions on a blockchain, providing regulators with an immutable audit trail. QMC is leveraging Hyperledger Sawtooth, which is deployed and managed by Sextant, the blockchain management platform provided by Blockchain Technology Partners (BTP), a Hyperledger member.

Silver Lining Initiative

Over 100 million people around the world will go to sleep tonight without a roof over their heads. Fortunately, technology companies are in the middle of a full-fledged technological revolution that is changing the way we deliver healthcare and social services. A prime example: the Silver Linings Initiative, the world’s first blockchain-based digital identity and marketplace solution designed specifically to empower and connect those experiencing homelessness. Envisioned by Troon Technologies, the Silver Linings Initiative aims to combat two of the biggest challenges experienced by the homeless population:

1.     Identity verification and acquisition of government identification;

2.     Access to, and awareness of, social support services.

This is managed through a proprietary software application that combines a user-friendly UX with the power of the blockchain to create a safe, secure, and trustworthy system of social support.

Trusted Voices

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. Penta Network, which focuses on using distributed ledgers for data related problems in multi-stakeholder ecosystems, is tackling this challenge with Trusted Voices. 

Trusted Voices is based on Hyperledger Fabric and other blockchain technologies to provision a chain of custody for information and media assets. Trusted Voices makes it possible to demonstrate the authentication of digital content at time of original publication and subsequently track it 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. 

Verified.Me: Data and Digital for Good

Verified.Me is the product of collaboration between a variety of industry players working together to build a solution that respects and protects citizens’ personal information for the benefit and betterment of all. By taking a multi-participant ecosystem approach, Verified.Me raises the bar against bad actors thereby helping to mitigate fraud and improve the digital lives of its users. Verified.Me is built on top of blockchain based on the Linux Foundation’s open source Hyperledger Fabric.

Join the conversation about solutions and applications that address the greater social good with #HyperledgerSocialImpact this month on social channels. Or get involved with the Social Impact Special Interest Group.

Cover image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

Hyperledger Fabric at the heart of a telecommunication carrier ecosystem

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric, Telecom

Telecommunications are a central aspect of our daily life: we are always connected through our phones as are the majority of people on the planet. To support our connectivity, communication service providers have been building a network of infrastructure and business relationships for the past few decades. The new trends of the industry (global mobile, Internet of Thing and 5G) are bringing new challenges and a new business approach. Recent projects within the industry show that blockchain is a technology that can support the industry transformation.

A common scenario

In 2018, 93 million* Americans traveled abroad, according to the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Travel and Tourism Office. Of course, all of them had a cellphone. When they landed on foreign soil, their phones connected to a foreign network. Their American carriers charged them for every phone call, text or data consumed abroad through the foreign network. In the back end, the foreign network providers charged the American ones for letting the subscribers using the local infrastructure. 

Now imagine this scenario repeating itself for the millions of people traveling every day across any country in the world or for the millions that make international calls from their home or offices to other countries. You can get an idea of how much data carriers need to manage to successfully charge each other for these services.

Every month billions of transactions need to be tracked, validated, reconciled, cleared and settled based complex international agreements between competing parties. That makes for an ideal scenario where blockchain can streamline operations and lift carriers from the burden of manual processes, legal disputes and unforeseen costs.

A growing interest in blockchain

Several telecom industry organizations, such as the GSMA and ITW GLF-backed Communication Blockchain Network, are showing interest in blockchain as the solution of choice for the management of high-volume transactions.

The main reason for this choice is that, to solve an industry-wide problem, they are looking for an industry-wide solution. A blockchain network, through its distributed ledger technology, can provide the reach and the governance required to push shared standards among competitors in the same sector in a collaborative way.

In addition, blockchain enables an open and interoperable ecosystem based on shared standards, where each player is able to bring their own data, safely share it and contribute to the achievement of their business goals.

Looking closer to the specific process of clearing and settling large amounts of transactions, blockchain has capabilities that match perfectly with the issues faced by carriers.

Distributed ledger technology allows parties to see the same data (values, volumes, etc.) for each transaction. Smart contracts translate complex agreement into digital code, so that they do not need to be manually executed any longer. Consensus mechanisms reduce the disputes at the end of the settlement process. 

These capabilities allow telecommunication companies to save time and labor dedicated to manual processes and to reduce the cash tied up in disputes.

Hyperledger Fabric  is a central enabler of such use cases. In fact, Fabric is designed to support enterprise implementation, providing scalability, security and operational tools that make enterprise transactions safe and scalable.

But there is more

The telecommunication industry is facing one of the greatest shifts in its history due the arrival of Internet of Things (IoT)and 5G. Both technologies are supporting the voice to data substitution. Historically, voice was the driver of large volumes of transactions, but now data have a larger and growing share thanks to the role of machines in generating large amounts of IoT input.

The abundance and growth of data poses carriers with the challenge of storing, managing, and exchanging that information in order to drive business value. Hyperledger Fabric can be the enabling platform of high value and innovative use cases such as data access control (empowering final users to decide how and who should have access to the data they generate), device identity (integrating blockchain, IoT and security to record device on the network and prevent harmful usage) or data exchange (create marketplaces of accessible data where data supplier are rewarded by data consumer).

To conclude, the industry is strengthening its global ecosystem and is looking for a technology that fosters collaboration and creativity. Hyperledger Fabric is an ideal fit and can allow greater efficiencies and new capabilities that have not been explored yet.

https://travel.trade.gov/tinews/archive/tinews2019/20190402.asp

Is Blockchain the Key to Supporting the Homeless?

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

Over 100 million people around the world will go to sleep tonight without a roof over their heads.

Homelessness is a growing problem throughout the world, and industrialized nations like the U.S. and Canada aren’t immune. There are over two million people experiencing homelessness in North America alone, and without the right support services in place, that number will only increase.

Fortunately, technology companies are in the middle of a full-fledged technological revolution that is changing the way we deliver healthcare and social services. The Silver Linings Initiative is one such example.

A New Approach to Social Support: The Silver Linings Initiative

The Silver Linings Initiative is the world’s first blockchain-based digital identity and marketplace solution designed specifically to empower and connect those experiencing homelessness. Envisioned by Troon Technologies, the Silver Linings Initiative aims to combat two of the biggest challenges experienced by the homeless population:

1.     Identity verification and acquisition of government identification;

2.     Access to, and awareness of, social support services.

This is managed through a proprietary software application that combines a user-friendly UX with the power of the blockchain to create a safe, secure, and trustworthy system of social support.

As Paul Dube explains, “The power of the distributed technology offered by Hyperledger Fabric to configure a solution for the social non-profit industry is the ability to track a single source of truth. This can be shared across all entities servicing the homeless, and limits the revictimization of those already in vulnerable situations.” 

How Does It Work?

The Silver Linings app relies on a multi-pronged approach that combines biometric authentication, decentralized data management, and traditional telemedicine to create a support marketplace unlike any other. Key components include:

  • Biometric sign-in features that guarantee secure access from any device;
  • Decentralized data storage via a blockchain that keeps users in control of what information is stored and shared;
  • Access to online marketplace resources geo-targeted to each user, including food, employment, healthcare, shelter, education, and more;
  • Virtual consultations with medical professionals delivered via mobile app;
  • Improved access to social programs for vulnerable populations requiring validated identity to participate;
  • The ability to identify individual attributes for each ID that facilitates improved handling of special needs, cultural sensitivities and unique challenges;
  • One single source of truth for an identity that can be holistically carried across social service entities.  

The Importance of Mobile Support Networks

It’s hard to overstate the potential that these social support solutions can have for improving health outcomes in populations experiencing homelessness. This is particularly true for mobile solutions.

Though mobile phones are often considered a luxury, most people experiencing homelessness still have access to them on a regular basis. In a survey of 421 such adults published in the Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless, 94% of respondents said they had their own phones. Given that people experiencing homelessness generally lack other essential resources, it’s clear that mobile devices have a role to play in distributing health and wellness services among these populations.

These sentiments are echoed by others who regularly work with people experiencing homelessness to deliver social support, such as Allen Baez, project manager for U.S.-based homelessness support service Mobile4All.

“Smartphones are incomparable tools for connecting people who are isolated, and empowering homeless and extreme-low-income individuals to access life-changing services and gain self-sufficiency,” said Baez.

The Silver Linings Initiative Advantage

The Silver Linings Initiative bridges the gap between homeless populations and essential social safety nets by examining the biggest challenges that homeless people face, and designing solutions around them.

For example, the United Way reports that one of the biggest hurdles to overcoming homelessness is, surprisingly, acquiring a government ID card. IDs are essential for receiving many of the social services designed specifically to benefit homeless populations, including government assistance, work placement, housing applications, medical care, and more. The Silver Linings Initiative tackles this roadblock in two ways.

  1. The information provided through the application process guides applicants through the government ID process.
  2. Once a blockchain-based ID is created, the individual owns that ID (as opposed to a government or institution). It’s existence and maintenance is not reliant on outside parties.

Additionally, by keeping all data in anonymous blockchain ledgers, users will be guaranteed confidentiality and privacy, no matter whose device they use or where they are when requesting care.

And while this is just one step of many towards eliminating homelessness, it’s an approach that taps into the existing resources of homeless populations, Canadian support networks, and Troon Technologies itself to provide a completely new type of care.

Lend your Support

If this initiative interests you, Troon would love to hear your thoughts. Please reach out to us for more information on how you can support the Silver Linings Initiative. Contact Paul Dube, Partner, Silver Linings Initiative, paul@troontechnologies.com.

About the Author

Paul Dube is Troon’s Chief Technology Officer and oversees all of Troon’s development work. Paul is passionate about solving problems using distributed technology to improve the lives of the most vulnerable populations, particularly improving access to a more holistic and sensitive social safety net.