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Hyperledger Fabric

Answering the FDA’s call: LedgerDomain’s Hyperledger Fabric-based BRUINchain improves tracking and tracing of prescription drugs

By Blog, Healthcare, Hyperledger Fabric

Four billion prescriptions were dispensed at US pharmacies in 2019, and even conservative estimates suggest that over 100 million prescriptions may be incorrectly dispensed. To address this problem, healthcare leaders are actively working to put new tools into the hands of pharmacists to ensure the right drugs reach the right people.

Part of that effort is the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), an ongoing, decade-long effort to track and trace prescription drugs in the United States. The DSCSA is intended to enhance the FDA’s ability to help protect consumers from drugs that may be counterfeit, stolen, contaminated, or otherwise harmful. The vision is to have an interoperable system in place by 2023 that will allow for drug tracing, product verification, and prompt detection and response protocols to handle all suspect medications. To get the system in place, the FDA turned to the public in 2019 and asked for new, cutting-edge approaches to improve the prescription pipeline.

LedgerDomain, an enterprise-grade blockchain solutions provider known for its work on developing the next generation of healthcare and pharmaceutical supply chains, was one of the companies that responded to the FDA’s request. LedgerDomain’s proposal of a blockchain-based solution in collaboration with UCLA and the pharmaceutical company Biogen was selected by the FDA as part of its pilot project program. 

LedgerDomain’s pilot centered on the development and live testing of BRUINchain, a blockchain-based system that meets DSCSA standards for pharmaceutical dispensers all within a shared-permission yet private ecosystem. While the pharmaceutical supply chain has numerous stakeholders, BRUINChain, which is built on Hyperledger Fabric, establishes one version of the truth for the pipeline that is immutable and invaluable.

The team tested BRUINchain within UCLA Health’s network of 500 pharmacists and technicians, focused on tracking the drug Spinraza, the first medication approved to treat children and adults with a rare and often fatal genetic disease called spinal muscular atrophy. The results exceeded UCLA Health and LedgerDomain’s expectations. The BRUINchain app’s barcode scanning functionality on iPhones was 100 percent effective, and the Hyperledger Fabric-based system was able to track every dose of Spinraza at UCLA Health, down to which refrigerator each dose was stored in across the campus. Even before the pilot ended, the team was adding new functionality and products as the network of pharmacists grew more reliant on the BRUINchain system. 

Hyperledger teamed up with LedgerDomain on a detailed case study on the BRUINchain pilot, including deployment details and results, projected cost and time saving and next steps based on the solution’s success to date.

Read the full case study here.

Hyperledger is Enabling New Blockchain-Based Business Models for 5G

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric, Telecom

The fifth generation of cellular networks or 5G promises revolutionary improvements compared to the previous generation that reaches beyond merely multiplying the bandwidth and reducing latency. 5G is expected to enable a wide range of new internet-based services such as vehicular communications and Smart City infrastructure that, in addition to connectivity, require on-demand fine-grained infrastructure and resource access to operate. Hence, the allocation of the underlying resources has to be capable of supporting and adapting to sudden changes in demand for resources and be able to flexibly provide customized bundles of resources to fit the demands of the vertical industries using the 5G infrastructure.

Entering the 5G market, an operator may experience up to 65% increase in RAN deployment and infrastructure costs [1]. Discovering new ways to more efficiently allocate resources can, to some extent, alleviate the massive increase in the infrastructure cost. Network and infrastructure sharing is one of the solutions that could help major operators to gain considerable returns by leasing out portions of their idle resources to other service providers that o are willing to operate in the same geographical region.

A Decentralized Marketplace for Network Infrastructure Sharing

The practice of infrastructure/network sharing dates back to the previous generations of cellular networks. However, these sharing models were typically in the form of bilateral agreements and were limited to long-term sharing of passive and seldom active network resources. Such sharing models cannot support either the on-demand short term sharing requests or the larger markets where the parties involved in resource trading exceed only two operators. On the other hand, the intense competition in the telecoms industry rules out the prospect of a centralized marketplace where a trusted intermediary is in charge of the market and makes the final decision regarding the allocation of the resources and the price. Therefore, a decentralized approach is required to incentivize participation by the infrastructure providers, network operators, and over-the-top service providers.

Hyperledger Fabric blockchain technology can provide the foundation for the described decentralized marketplace where all the market players could participate in the resource allocation and pricing process in a transparent and trustworthy way and without relying on a third party. 

Case Study: 5G Network Slicing

Network virtualization technology allows the division of network resources into isolated virtual slices of the network that could be then offered to other users. This creates a new business opportunity for network operators and infrastructure providers to monetize their idle resources. Therefore a new business model has been gaining attention where operators and service providers can trade network resources in a marketplace equipped with a market mechanism(e.g., auctions). The aim is to develop a marketplace that does not rely on a third-party broker to conduct the market.

Why Hyperledger?

Hyperledger Fabric is an open-source project that is built as a modular software so that every piece of it can be tailored into the needs of the developers. Besides, with Hyperledger Fabric, there are no coding language lock-ins as the platform does not force the developer to use a particular language for the smart contracts. Finally, compared to other blockchain frameworks, the supported high transaction throughput and low latency make it a right candidate for 5G use cases.

Scenario:

A number of operators and service providers are participating in a marketplace to buy/sell network slices [2]. They each offer ask/bid prices for the offered quantity of a network slice and the smart contract that has to be endorsed by every single operator decides the final allocation and price of the network slices.

  • The commodity: A network slice consisting of computing, RAN, and storage resources.
  • Member organizations: Infrastructure providers, network operators, and service providers.
  • Technology: Hyperledger Fabric v 1.4.1, Raft ordering service
  • Architecture: Five organizations each with one peer node and 10 Raft orderers.
  • The Smart Contract: A sealed-bid double-sided auction mechanism that allows bilateral trade of network slices.

Conclusions:

The research team at Connect Centre [3] have developed the smart contracts and deployed the Hyperledger Fabric network on one of the major public cloud provider’s infrastructure. The results of the performance benchmarks of the blockchain solution are reported in [2]. In addition to the 5G slicing, other resource sharing problems in 5G are expected to benefit from the blockchain technology. One other example is Virtual Network Function (VNF) marketplaces where network operators and software vendors could offer their virtualized network services such as Firewall, DNS, CDN, etc. 

[1] Future Networks. “5G-Era Mobile Network Cost Evolution.” Accessed September 10, 2020. https://www.gsma.com/futurenetworks/wiki/5g-era-mobile-network-cost-evolution/.

[2] N. Afraz. and M. Ruffini, “5G Network Slice Brokering: A Distributed Blockchain-based Market,” in EuCNC conference 2020.

[3] CONNECT – the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications, https://connectcentre.ie/

If you’re interested in how blockchain is being used in the telecom industry, get involved with the Hyperledger Telecom Special Interest Group

About the author
Nima Afraz is a postdoctoral researcher with Connect Centre for Future Networks and Communications, Trinity College Dublin. He is a member of Hyperledger Telecom Special Interest Group. His research interests include network economics, network virtualization and blockchain for telecoms.

Cover image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Hyperledger for the Blockchain Skeptic

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric, Special Interest Group

As an enterprise software developer, I’m used to thinking about solving real world business problems. So, naturally, I was pretty skeptical of bitcoin and the blockchain when I first heard about it.  

Yet the idea of a “distributed ledger” kept tugging at me. Since all the apps we’ve built, from ERP to CRM to e-commerce, revolved around a ledger of transactions, what could a global, distributed ledger allow us to build?  

It took me three years of off-and-on studying and a few very smart people to finally make me realize that the blockchain, or distributed ledger technologies (DLTs), is just a small step from what we’re already used to. But that little step could unlock a new world of possibilities.  

In this post, let me address some of the common skepticism I’ve encountered as part of the Hyperledger Climate Action and Accounting Special Interest Group. Then in a follow-up post, I’ll show you why I believe climate change is the killer app for the blockchain.

I Don’t Need a Blockchain

Are you sure? Because you’ve probably already started building a few.  

With enterprise software, we often have to prove that the data we’re using is authentic. So how would you assure someone that the data you’re using has not been altered or tampered with?  You know that the data provider might change its API or the data you get from it, so 

  • Did you make a local copy of the data you got?  
  • Did you record the date and time you got it?  
  • Did you record a hash of the data, so it could be compared with the data you used for your application?  
  • Did you store archival copies of the data and the hash so that you could prove that they are all correct?  
  • Did you store multiple copies just to be sure?

If so, then you’ve built much of what goes into a blockchain or distributed ledger. A blockchain is really a protocol to store data across multiple nodes while assuring their consistency. It follows all the steps outlined above, plus a few more, to make sure that once stored, data cannot be lost or altered.  

So if you’ve already been building your own “distributed” data records, then you obviously need what the blockchain offers. It addresses many of the pain points of data integration that we deal with every day in enterprise software.  

The advantages of an open source blockchain platform such as Hyperledger Fabric or Hyperledger Sawtooth, compared to a homegrown solution, are many: Most obviously, there is security and scalability of a developed solution. Then there is the support for the “unknown unknowns,” use cases you may not realize exist but would surface over time. Finally, there’s the chance to work with some very smart people and learn more about this emerging technology.

Databases Are Faster than Blockchains

This is certainly true, and nobody would suggest that you replace your database with a blockchain. The two have different but very complementary uses.

Databases are great for fast read and write access of data within an organization. Blockchains are great for making sure data is stored immutably, so that its authenticity could be proven across multiple organizations.  

Another way to think about it is that databases are for building applications, while blockchains are for building collaboration.

There Are too Many Competing Blockchains for Me to Use Them Now

This probably stems from confusing blockchain with Bitcoin, just like people once confused Compuserve or AOL with the internet.  

Remember that blockchain is a technology, while Bitcoin is a protocol and a cryptocurrency implemented with blockchain. There will always be many different protocols, cryptocurrencies, and frameworks implemented with blockchain technologies, just like there were many different websites implemented on the internet.  

Blockchains are Too Energy Intensive and Bad for the Environment

I get this from climate activists, some of whom actually got angry when I mentioned the blockchain.  Again, this stems from confusing blockchain with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other implementations of the blockchain.

The early blockchain protocols such as Bitcoin and Ethereum used proof-of-work consensus mechanisms, which required a lot of energy-intensive “mining” of cryptographic puzzles. Their  creators probably never imagined them to become as popular as they did, or that they would consume as much energy as whole countries.

Fortunately, we’re all moving away from proof-of-work because it is so energy intensive and simply slow. Hyperledger Fabric, for example, is both fast and energy efficient because it does not use proof-of-work.

Blockchains are Too Immature Right Now

This may have been true five years ago but is definitely not true any more.  There are plenty of blockchain applications — Bitcoin, Ethereum, Compound to name a few — that have billions of dollars of stored value. On the enterprise side, Hyperledger platforms have been used in production for a range of interesting use cases for a while now.

The field will continue to evolve, but, as a whole, blockchain has probably reached the level of maturity of the internet around when Amazon got started, if not further.

There is No Killer App for Blockchain

Which brings us back to the original question: What could a global, distributed ledger allow us to build?

I believe it would allow us to create collaboration on an unprecedented scale, across traditional national and industry boundaries and over long time horizons. And there’s no use case better suited, or more urgent, than climate change. Stay tuned.

About the author
Si Chen has been developing open source enterprise software since 2005.  He is a part of the Hyperledger Climate Action and Accounting Special Interest Group, which is working on using Hyperledger and blockchain to solve the climate change problem. 

Cover image: https://www.needpix.com/photo/1214471/blockchain-block-chain-technology-computer-symbol-network-connection-web

Hyperledger-Powered Education Solutions in Action

By Blog, Education, Hyperledger Aries, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Indy, Hyperledger Iroha

Just before the age of COVID began in earnest, The New York Times ran a feature on “How Technology Is Changing the Future of Higher Education.” The rise of remote learning and other pandemic-related changes and challenges have added to the need and opportunity for technology-driven advances. 

The Hyperledger community is doing its part to help the higher education market adapt to an increasingly digital world. Below we look at five Hyperledger-powered solutions that are at work now in the education market. They are helping colleges and universities modernize how they tackle a number of core tasks, including issuing and verifying academic credits, automating on-campus payments and managing students’ identity and privacy. 

Read on for more about these #HyperledgerEdu solutions, built using a mix of Hyperledger technologies:

Byacco, an on-campus payment system

Soramitsu has officially released Byacco, a payment system based on Hyperledger Iroha, for the University of Aizu, Japan. Byacco is a system that allows students and staff of the University of Aizu to use an application on their phones to pay for goods in the cafeteria and university store and to transfer funds within the campus. To make a transaction, all they need is to scan or to provide a QR code, depending on the operation. Byacco’s technology also has high standards for transfers: it follows the EMV® QR Code specification and has bank application level financial security protocols. The keys that are used to authorise transactions on the blockchain are stored only on the device, in a secure storage, so that no one except the owner can access the funds. Students of the university can join the development of the system, thus acquiring skills in creating financial systems based on Hyperledger technologies.

DoDream, a “Study Abroad Platform”

Dain Leaders is an education solution provider for universities in Korea. It serves more than 45 Korean universities by providing services for students’ career path development. As part of that effort, Dain Leader is introducing its “Study Abroad Platform,” called DoDream, to support the extended education ecosystem of the universities, accreditation and related agencies, and prospective employers. Based on Oracle Blockchain Platform Cloud Service (which is powered by Hyperledger Fabric), the platform is an O2O service that provides foreign students with information on studying in Korea and a matching service with Korean universities.

Oracle Digital Certificates Solution

In the face of fast-changing demographic and economic drivers and student expectations, the current processes for issuing and verifying student certificates are too inefficient and time consuming. They can also lead to fraudulent or counterfeit certifications.  

The Oracle Digital Certificates Solution, built on the Oracle Blockchain Platform (based on Hyperledger Fabric), provides a complete, end-to-end solution for educational institutions to issue verifiable tamper-proof and secure credential certification that improves the student experience after graduation and improves operational efficiency. The solution enables institutions to issue digital certificates along with transcripts and provide self-sovereign capability to the students who can share them securely with third parties through an access token.

This solution has been successfully deployed in production by customers like China Distance Education Holdings Limited (CDEL) and Taibah Valley University. CDEL uses Oracle Blockchain to share educational records and professional certifications across many educational institutions to help employers and recruiters verify the educational credentials claimed by individuals. 

Many other institutions like national universities, employment agencies, government organizations, professional skills academies and universities that provide student grants/scholarships are using this solution as part of ongoing or planned pilots.     

PwC Smart Credentials

Data is the new gravity in the world today and organisations are gravitating to and concentrating around trust as the ultimate currency in this data driven world. This trust is crucial for people to exchange information, especially in this digital age when trust is often violated. 

With that premise, PwC developed Smart Credentials, a credential issuance, sharing, reviewing and revocation platform levegering the inherent core benefits of blockchain technology such as immutability, tamper-proof nature, transparency, authenticity and security.

Built using Hyperleder Indy and Hyperledger Aries to support the verification process, Smart Credentials has two key pillars: Authentication (you are who you say you are) and Authorization (genuine claim). Both are crucial ingredients of building trust in any ecosystem. 

Smart Credentials recently won a “Bronze” medal for the Best Global Blockchain Innovation 2019 at the Reimagine Innovation awards (Backed by Wharton and QS) and is a finalist in the DataIQ 2020 awards “Best data product/ service” of the year category.

Verified.Me

As higher education moves deeper into online and remote learning for traditional and non-traditional students, colleges and universities are now offering a broader array of services that extend the campus experience to the digital realm. Beyond the advent of digital programming, educational institutions are also privy to sensitive personal student, faculty and alumni data from income and payment information to disciplinary records, healthcare and insurance information. 

SecureKey Technologies’ Verified.Me service is one approach that supports education’s new digital and data privacy demands. This new digital identity verification service can help verify students, alumni and faculty in a timely and secure manner, strengthening educational institutions’ ability to expand their digital offerings with confidence – while also providing much-needed cost savings. Verified.Me is built using the IBM Blockchain Platform, which is based on Linux Foundation’s open source Hyperledger Fabric.

Join the conversation about solutions and applications supporting the higher education marketing with #HyperledgerEdu this month on social channels. Also, Hyperledger has an Education Architecture Special Interest Group that is open to all.

Blockchain-Enabled Archives: Joisto Adds Trust Layer To Meet GDPR Rules

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

2018 was a revolutionary year when it came to data privacy. The rules of GDPR came into effect, including a mandate that storage and retrieval of data be 100% irrefutable.

For Joisto, a well known, highly compliant, multi-tenancy electronic archive and retrieval platform, GDPR meant customers started asking if they could add another layer of trust to their archive solutions. And that was no small task as Joisto specialized in large volume, high speed management and storage of over a 1,000 data and document types with full integrity for many sectors including finance, government and utility.

To solve this challenge, a small team of highly skilled developers created the ultimate solution: a blockchain-enabled archive. Joisto structured the state-of-the-art Blockchain Archive so companies can get the benefits of blockchain technology while still adhering to the GDPR standards, which require a single data controller. Solving the puzzle without a DLT would not be possible; only this technology makes it possible to store immutable records while still being flexible enough to comply with regulations. 

The platform, which was launched in January, 2020, was built on Hyperledger Fabric. Working with an open source blockchain was an obvious choice as Joisto is an open source platform, too. The company also needed a framework that supports multi-tenancy and didn’t use Proof of Work, and Hyperledger Fabric fulfilled both requirements.

The Hyperledger team has worked closely with Joisto to capture the drivers for developing a blockchain-enabled archive solution along with the details for this white label offering that is now heading into live beta deployments through the service provider market. 

Read the solution brief here.

A Contributor Story: The Path from Custom APIs to Commercial Solutions and Bug Fixes to Fabric 2.1 Documentation

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

In 2016, SIMBA Chain was awarded one of the very first DARPA Small Business Innovation Research contracts for blockchain on secure messaging. Dr. Ian Taylor, our CTO, has spent years in distributed computing, but, at the time, Ian and I knew very little of blockchain. I had done some Bitcoin mining in the early years, but had no experience with smart contracts. 

As part of the contract, Adam Brinckman, a senior research programmer at the Center for Research Computing at the University of Notre Dame, wrote the chaincode (the “smart contract”) for an application enabling military agencies to create military interdepartmental purchase requests (MIPR transactions) on a privately shared Hyperledger Fabric distributed ledger for our project with DARPA. The goal of this project was to securely provide full traceability of all provisions as they were awarded through a very complicated procurement process. 

The initial solution sought to take advantage of the tools provided by Hyperledger, which included  Hyperledger Composer, an interface designed to help developers define assets written to the ledger. However, as we developed the application, we were challenged by the sheer complexity of the MIPR acquisition process. The numerous ways in which transactions could be modeled and the different ways each agency had defined MIPR assets presented major challenges. It would be difficult to capture the problem correctly using a written piece of chaincode. 

We realized quickly that we needed to build an auto-generated smart contract and API based on the assets and transactions to help simplify and capture this entire process. This proved to be a good solution for the challenges we faced. Over time, we developed this solution into a tool that would allow low code enthusiasts and business analysts to utilize blockchain and create adoption outside the normal community of interest. 

The rest is history. We went on, and continue, to build solutions for the Department of Energy, the United States Navy, Air Force, and USMC, all utilizing Hyperledger Fabric. Many of these solutions are around supply chain traceability, provenance, risk mitigation, sustainability, and lifecycle management. 

Hyperledger Fabric was the DLT platform of choice because it provides the following:

  • Open source!
  • Supply chain specific capabilities 
  • High throughput
  • Permissioned membership
  • Scalability
  • Levels of trust
  • Data on a “need to know” basis
  • Rich queries
  • Architecture that supports plugins
  • Protection of keys and sensitive data
  • Integration with the Fabric EVM that allows us to write Solidity-based smart contracts

Our extensive work with Hyperledger Fabric and smart contracts has given us the expertise to contribute back to the development effort. Adam recently collaborated with Fabric developers working on the Fabric EVM chaincode to fix a minor bug. The exact problem occurred when attempting to use the Fab3 proxy with web3 python libraries (web3.py). Unlike its JavaScript counterpart, web3.py enforces all input data to conform to Ethereum’s yellow paper specifications, and data returned by Fab3 was failing these validations. Fab3 isn’t the only service that fails these validations; Quorum and other private EVM implementations also fail validation due to the extra bytes they pack into transactions and blocks. Tapping into his experience as an Ethereum Solidity developer, Adam worked with Hyperledger’s development community to make Fab3 compatible with web3.py’s strict validation rules and added new regression tests to ensure that future releases remain compatible.

Adam also developed a guide for deploying Fabric EVM onto Hyperledger Fabric v2.1. The official documentation shows examples for installing Fabric EVM onto a 1.4 network so this guide will help developers transition their Fabric EVM chaincode as they begin to upgrade their network. 

As a firm that has benefited from open source development of Hyperledger Fabric and other tools, we recognize the value of contributed code and expertise. We’ve been able to build Hyperledger-powered solutions that add the efficiency and effectiveness of key government services and want to help drive more open source innovation in the blockchain space. We encourage others to get involved. Check our this guide to contributing to Hyperledger Fabric or join #Fabric in the Hyperledger Chat channel to talk to the maintainers about your needs and ideas and about how to get involved or suggest a feature or fix. 

Hyperledger-powered Internet of Things applications

By Blog, Hyperledger Besu, Hyperledger Fabric

The Internet of Things (IoT) is driving an array of new distributed technology models and applications. The potential for pairing IoT and blockchain is increasingly a hot topic. This month, as part of #HypereldgerIoT, we take a look at some productions examples where the technologies are already working together. 

Read on for more about Hyperledger-powered IoT applications at work across a mix of use cases:

Norwegian Seafood Traceability Network

A recently launched Norwegian seafood traceability network leverages IBM Blockchain, which is built on Hyperledger Fabric, to share supply chain data throughout Norway’s seafood industry. The goal is to provide safer, better seafood to consumers worldwide. The network uses IoT sensors to report key environmental parameters. Starting with aquaculture, the sensors will monitor and report on the conditions required to produce high quality fish, such as water temperature, oxygen levels, and water quality, and when the fish are transported, IoT sensors will track and report factors such as the length of journey, temperature, and movement in transit. Several Norwegian seafood companies are now in the process of putting data onto the network.

My Sensor

My Sensor is an IoT device developed by Movistar that detects minute concentrations of Radon gas in the surroundings. Radon is a naturally occurring gas which may build up in your property in enclosed spaces, particularly in the basement and on lower floors. If Radon levels exceed certain thresholds, it can affect people’s health.

Leveraging Telefonica’s TrustOS MQTT module, My Sensor tracks and certifies the historical series of Radon gas concentration. The user can get a certification with full proof that guarantees the concentration did not exceed the thresholds in a period or did it during n measurements in a raw. The sensor sent the measurements through TrustOS to a Hyperledger Fabric network where some chaincodes are monitoring and certifying that the measures are in the expected range (or eventually are out of the range). The network itself certifies the series of measurements and anyone can verify it without any doubt avoiding the participation of a trusted expert third party.

VideoCoin Network

The VideoCoin Network is a decentralised video infrastructure that provides developers with video processing services that are simple to use and inexpensive compared to centralised providers. Developed by the VideoCoin Development Association Ltd. and implemented by services provider Live Planet, Inc., the VideoCoin Network runs on the Public Mint platform and is enabled by a native protocol token, the VideoCoin (VID). 

Powered by a large-scale, distributed video infrastructure, the VideoCoin Network marshals under-utilised computing resources from around the world, including IoT devices, to revolutionise enterprise-grade video services with blockchain technology. 

“Public Mint provides a revolutionary and first of its kind money system that lets us use real USD as programmable currency  allowing us to pay tens of thousands of participants on our network. This satisfies our needs to pay anyone whether they’re running a datacenter or a Raspberry Pi IoT device.” – Devadutta Ghat, CTO at LivePlanet Inc.

Backed by Hyperledger Besu distributed ledger technology, Public Mint fosters a marketplace of Smart Services that can run on top of Public Mint’s programmable fiat platform. Anyone can use the current Smart Services or build new ones, using Public Mint’s Open APIs and open-source wallet.

IoT devices integrity service

This service is an extra feature of the Hyperledger Fabric-based TrustOS product. A part of Telefonica’s TrustOS software, this library is provided to be executed by IoT devices in the secure boot. It adds as an additional HTTP header including a checksum of the secure boot for each request sent by the devices.

The first time a device sends this header, TrustOS creates an asset to track any variation in the device behaviour (including besides detecting new checksum, an IA assessing pace and frequency of the requests). Any request is registered and, if something unexpected is detected, a warning is triggered to quickly act over the affected device.

This service can’t avoid unauthorized tampering or unexpected updates but helps in identifying problems earlier and without any doubt. The result: it adds extra trustworthiness-proof beyond KPII.

Join the conversation about blockchain-based IoT applications with #HyperledgerIoT this month on social channels. 

Cover image by Tumisu from Pixabay

New release: Hyperledger Fabric 2.2 LTS

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

The Hyperledger Fabric community is very excited about the release of Fabric v2.2 LTS. Fabric v2.2 represents the first LTS release in Fabric v2.x.  Further enhancing the new features that make developing and deploying Hyperledger Fabric networks easier than ever before, we have added updated tutorials on the “how to” that allow developers to take full advantage of these features with tutorials supporting multiple languages so as Go, JavaScript, and TypeScript with support for Java coming soon. There are many exciting new features to be aware of, so let’s dive right into the highlights:

  • Decentralized governance for smart contracts: This is actually a huge change from earlier 1.x versions of Fabric where one company had the ability to influence chaincode parameters and endorsement policies for the entire consortium on a channel. In Fabric v2.2, multiple organizations must agree to the chaincode parameters and there is a much more deliberate process to upgrade chaincode that now requires a sufficient number of organizations within a consortium to agree ahead of time before the chaincode can become active on the channel.
  • New chaincode lifecycle: This feature has to be one of my favorites because packaging, installing, approving, and committing the chaincode on a channel is much easier and can even be used in a “chaincode-as-an-external-service” model. Chaincode is now packaged in easily readable tar files that make it much easier to inspect and coordinate the installation across multiple organizations in a consortium.
  • New chaincode application patterns: This includes the ability to add automated checks for chaincode validation prior to endorsing a transaction proposal and the ability to decentralize agreement across multiple transactions that relate to specific terms and conditions in a business case.  
  • Private data enhancements: This enables the sharing and verification of private data without actually exposing data to those who are not supposed to see it by allowing them to compare on-chain hashes of the data to ensure they match. The many other features that these private data enhancements enable are too numerous to cover in this blog, so be sure to check out the “What’s new in Hyperledger Fabric v2.2” linked below.
  • External chaincode launcher: This is a seriously cool feature that I am pretty excited about and one that most developers would probably say is long overdue. Now there’s no requirement that a peer node have access to a Docker daemon in order to build and launch chaincode. What a game-changer! Chaincode is no longer required to be run in containers, leaving the developer with more flexibility than ever before!

Other noteworthy things to consider for Fabric v2.2 LTS:

  • Build Your First Network (BYFN) has been deprecated as of this v2.2 and is replaced by the Fabric Test Network.  You can find the updated tutorial here.
  • The updated tutorials will all use new fabric samples based on Asset Transfer chaincodes and applications and the Fabcar chaincode will get retired.
  • The new Fabric Test Network allows you to start the network in a much more flexible manner and can be chaincode agnostic if you want it to be.

These are just a few of the highlights, so I highly recommend that you visit the Hyperledger Fabric docs to read in full detail all the exciting new features and the possibilities they open up.

You do not need to be an expert to be an effective contributor to the Hyperledger project. In fact, I think you will be amazed at the welcoming nature of the community and how quickly you can build on your skills simply by engaging as a contributor.

Remember, all are welcome so if you’d like to join the community or learn more, you can find more information here:

Thanks for reading about our newest Fabric release. We encourage developers to try these new features out and give us feedback!

Mindtree’s dual solutions for revolutionizing loyalty programs using Hyperledger Fabric

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

While customer loyalty programs are popular with retail, travel and other consumer brands, implementing them comes with multiple challenges. Companies that sign up to roll out a service must first navigate a complex and slow onboarding process with the financial institutions backing their program. Once signed up, they face the ongoing hurdle of keeping customers active in the program. Nearly $100 billion worth of points remain unused annually, which translates to missed opportunities to engage consumers and a balance sheet liability when compared to the cost of marketing and maintaining the program.

Global technology consulting and services company Mindree recently applied its digital expertise to introduce two solutions that, together, revolutionize loyalty programs by increasing the rate of redemption by consumers and streamlining the tedious merchant onboarding process for banks and payment service providers.

To help consumers consolidate their rewards programs and to help brands win back customers, Mindtree developed $wap, a blockchain-based loyalty exchange platform in which customers can redeem reward points across providers for goods and services. Companies that enroll in $wap enter a network where points can be shared or pooled by consumers. As a result, customers can pay for goods and services at any of $wap’s vendors with the ability to split up payments using points accumulated over multiple loyalty cards. (Translation: You no  longer have to rack up a large number of points to start benefiting from a loyalty program.) $wap can leverage geolocation search to identify nearby vendors that accept reward points and offer intelligent suggestions for which loyalty card to redeem at member brands. The platform also allows customers to manage their various accounts and transactions as well as transfer points to friends or family members—all through one interface.

Mindtree also revolutionized the financial onboarding process for financial institutions with another blockchain-powered platform that introduces a fast, seamless system for acquirer banks and payment service providers to engage with new businesses. A process that can take 20 days is cut down to hours. 

Both of these solutions are built on Hyperledger Fabric, an open source enterprise blockchain framework. For $wap, the underlying blockchain technology provides merchants with smart, contract-driven points of exchange, an easy onboarding process into the network, as well as real-time reflections of the earn and burn for loyalty points. To speed the process for the financial institutions, Mindtree is leveraging Hyperledger Fabric to bring together all the stakeholders on one platform which allows acquirer banks, verifying agencies, and prospective merchants to share documents and data in a protected, private environment.

The Hyperledger team has worked closely with Mindtree to document the details of both solutions and how they address the needs of different players in the customer loyalty process. In both cases, blockchain serves as a common platform that allows organizations to trigger transactions and verify information in whole news ways. 

Read the case study here.

Fair Fashion: Promoting visibility and accountability in Brazil’s fashion supply chain

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

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. 

There are three main problems in the current audit model.

Because workers and auditors have a strictly professional, non-anonymous, and punctual relationship, there is no way to guarantee the veracity of the worker’s account. Moreover, in most cases, only a few workers are interviewed by the auditor, which makes the picture incomplete since it does not reflect the overarching reality of the production process.

Besides the possibility of human error and fraud, the current model has low auditing frequency (once a year), depends on third party institutions, and is very expensive. This scenario translates into inefficiency and generates doubts for the stakeholders since the benefits become unclear.

The third and most critical problem with this type of auditing is the lack of interface between the market and society. Since the whole process, from production to consumption, is not available and transparent for end consumers, key actors do not have adequate information to demand better conditions for workers or to make better consumption choices.

In addition, the fashion industry involves many intermediaries: seamstresses, workshops, factories, suppliers, brands. This amount of people makes it difficult to monitor all business productivity in a clear, integrated, and efficient manner.

Addressing this situation means taking on a number of challenges: How to connect actors in the supply chain, bringing business efficiency, predictability of delivery, and inventory? How to offer visibility to the production processes, and therefore give voice to the last mile of the chain? How to empower seamstresses and improve their working conditions?

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. 

This is done through the publication of indexes that explain correlations between demographics, working conditions, and stability in the supply chain based on traceability of order matching with a monthly census with workers at the end of the production chain.

The Fair Fashion solution works on three fronts:

Firstly, Fair Fashion offers workers an app to report their work conditions. By answering a monthly questionnaire, the respective workers involved anonymously provide an update on the working conditions behind all orders placed during the month. 

The second tool is an app for the actors on the business side to trace orders status and conditions. The orders placed by brands are captured by suppliers and then by factories, providing visibility to all production processes as well as the accurate and transparent order status for the entire chain.

Finally, a Dashboard that integrates the data obtained by the two sources of Fair Fashion’s apps provides an overview of all available data. On the Dashboard, each stakeholder – brands, suppliers, or workshops – has its customized visualization. 

Chained and dependent, the solution consists of two interfaces, the business interface and the social responsibility interface. Together they offer the cross view of data necessary to establish the interdependence between flows, and therefore accuracy in verifying the exposed indexes.

The business interface integrates the flow between brands, suppliers, and workshops. It allows the organization to monitor the order status – the number of products produced and delivered, current order status, and its immutable history. It may check, in an organized manner, all documentation of the establishment, including whether it is up to date or pending, and, finally, monitor the current situation of employees.

On the other hand, the social responsibility interface is a reflection of the survey answered by workers through the app. It provides the workshop’s evaluation according to the workers’ perspective, considering the following segments: physical space, health, safety, labor relations, and working conditions.

All information in both interfaces can be viewed on the Hyperledger Fabric-powered blockchain.

The Fair Fashion solution provides benefits for all stakeholders in the chain and, ultimately, for the sector in general since it is based on efficiency and social impact. By collecting data with higher frequency, greater accuracy, and less cost, brands have visibility throughout the chain, enabling preventive actions and helping to predict deliverability and storage. Workshops and suppliers monitor their productivity and social indicators and can improve their dialogue with brands and society. Finally, by answering an anonymous and confidential survey about working conditions, workers can report their situations, guarantee job stability, and participate in a consolidated network that gives a voice to their needs and realities, which are not always assisted.

Fair Fashion is a project sector initiative along with C&A Foundation/ Laudes Foundation, E institute and COPPEAD-UFRJ.  It is released in its first version. We’re facing the homologation phase for scale implementation. We are advancing tests on brands and actors that aim for this type of innovation in their chains. 

Let’s change the fashion industry together. Contact us to find out more details about the solution and how to be part of it here: https://blockforce.in/

Cover photo by Kris Atomic on Unsplash