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Hyperledger Fabric

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. 

An innovative blockchain solution powered by Hyperledger Fabric helps banks implement DeFI services in days

By Blog, Finance, Hyperledger Fabric

Digitization is a megatrend that has already transformed many industries – and now it’s banking’s turn. But digital banking is about more than just rebranding or adding a mobile app: it requires highly personalized transactions. In this sense, banks have a lot to learn from decentralized finance, or DeFI.

There are still lots of issues to solve before we can celebrate the coming of a new digital banking age:

  • Customers of even the same bank can’t directly interact with each other;
  • Cross-border transfers remain expensive and ridden with middlemen;
  • Bank users can’t convert fiat into crypto and back; and
  • New banking services take ages to develop, approve and introduce.

In DeFi, most of these problems have already been resolved. Users can lend each other money directly; earn more than 10% a year on crypto deposits; send money abroad in seconds, and much else. Banks could greatly benefit from these instruments. The problem is that developing a crypto-fiat DeFi platform from scratch is expensive and requires expertise that most banks’ IT teams simply don’t have. 

Introducing Cryptoenter: a turn-key DeFi solution for banks

The way to solve this conundrum is to implement a versatile DeFi infrastructure that any bank could use out of the box. That’s exactly what Cryptoenter does: it’s a ready-to-use platform that facilitates interactions between banks and their users – as well as between users themselves, wherever they are in the world. 

As soon as a financial institution integrates Cryptoenter, its customers gain access to dozens of DeFi services:

  • P2P lending (users issue each other loans in crypto and fiat);
  • Cryptocurrency/fiat wallet;
  • Fiat-crypto and crypto-fiat gateways;
  • Instant and cheap cross-border transfers (remittance fees don’t exceed $1);
  • Real-time value exchange;
  • Payment processing and acquiring;
  • Crowdfunding and a social network for investors;
  • Issuing stablecoins and new cryptocurrencies;
  • Interbank payments, and much else.

Essentially Cryptoenter provides a virtual banking front end and a ready system for managing customers’ fiat and crypto accounts. As long as two banks sign up as validators on Cryptoenter, their customers can interact with each other in the same way as customers of the same bank. For the financial institution, the benefits are many:

  • Extra revenue (charging fees on DeFi services);
  • Increased customer loyalty;
  • Expansion into new regions (branchless banking);
  • Easy customer acquisition.

Scalable and easy to implement

Thanks to a handy API, Cryptoenter is quick and easy to integrate into the backend and frontend of any bank. Every end customer gets a personal crypto-fiat wallet and can start using DeFi services immediately through the familiar interface. Meanwhile, the bank itself can focus on marketing instead of spending money on product development. 

To ensure scaling and speed, Cryptoenter leverages Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric – the first DeFi project to do so. The platform also uses Rubicon Blockchain by Smart Block Laboratory and a number of IBM solutions, including IBM Cloud, Kubernetes, and Cloud Object Storage.

The following diagram shows the interactions within the Cryptoenter infrastructure:

According to a recent report, banks spend 72% of their IT budget on maintaining existing systems. Cryptoenter allows any bank to implement a complete DeFi system for a fraction of that budget – and enjoy all the benefits of digital banking without any additional development. 

#HyperledgerAsia: Hyperledger-powered production solutions making an impact across Asia now

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Iroha, Hyperledger Sawtooth

Enterprise blockchain has a global reach, and Hyperledger has a very active and innovative international community. This month, we are spotlighting solutions members have put into production through Asia that are transforming everything from digital payments and bond exchanges to supply chain, telecom, healthcare and security systems.

Read on for details about a range of #HyperledgerAsia solutions that are making an impact in markets across Asia now:

Bakong

National Bank of Cambodia officially launched Bakong — a multi-stakeholder system that enables instant and final transactions using digital Cambodian Riel (KHR) or United States Dollars (USD). Co-developed by the National Bank of Cambodia and Japanese/Swiss fintech company SORAMITSU based on Hyperledger Iroha, it is built to handle the needs of numerous banks and 17 million consumers.

BondEvalue BondbloX Bond Exchange

BondEvalue has been approved as a Recognised Market Operator (RMO) by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). It operates BondbloX Bond Exchange (BBX), the world’s first blockchain-based bond exchange to bring trading of a wide range of fixed-income securities to the mass market across the region.

BondEvalue officially graduated from the MAS’ regulatory sandbox on October 1, 2020. The move means that BondEvalue has successfully concluded proof of technology and business model. It is now no longer bound by restrictions such as limits on trading volume and disclosures specific to the sandbox model.

BBX allows for bonds to be traded in smaller sizes of US$1,000 unlike typical bond trades of at least US$200,000. This leads to better access and better diversification opportunities for a market that is typically inaccessible except to more wealthy investors.

BBX leverages the Hyperledger Sawtooth blockchain technology to fractionlize bonds, make trading highly transparent and more cost effective. Settlement on BBX is on a T+0 basis, that is within seconds instead of the normal two-day settlement cycle, thereby reducing counterparty settlement risks for investors.

dltledgers’ “plug-and-play” platform for cross-border trade and supply chain digitization

The current trade finance system is in dire need of an upgrade. Today’s operations between all involved parties are complex, costly, labor intensive, and inefficient. Also, in the aftermath of the global pandemic, it has become even more critical to shift entirely from a paper-heavy, manual business to digital.

dltledgers used Hyperledger Fabric to create the world’s leading “plug-and-play” platform for cross-border trade and supply chain digitization. All parties’ digital trades in the supply chain are recorded on the platform, providing banks the ability to go paperless and process payments seamlessly for LC issuance and trade finance quickly.

Currently, #dltledgers processes $100 – $150 million in trade finance per month, involving about 400 traders in which 20+ are large enterprises. About 45+ banks have joined the network to facilitate trade financing with prominent names such as ANZ, ADCB, DBS and TDB. To date, #dltledgers has processed more than S$3.2 billion in trade finance via its blockchain platform.

Hala System’s Sentry 

Hala Systems is using Hyperledger Fabric alongside Hedera as part of its Sentry early warning system, which helps protect 2M+ people in Syria. Hala Systems uses both Hyperledger Fabric and Hedera to manage the metadata of user inputted and created media produced in conflict. The hashed metadata is simultaneously written to a private blockchain built on an IBM Blockchain Platform powered by Hyperledger Fabric and to Hedera Consensus Service. Hala Systems uses the IBM Blockchain Platform to act as its internal repository, preserving additional metadata to augment the auditable hash data sent to Hedera Consensus Service. With these two sets of records, any 3rd party can verify the information on the public ledger to match the image and, if necessary, its accompanying data stored on the private ledger.

MediConCen’s Blockchain Medical Ecosystem

Named as the Winner of Hong Kong’s “2020 Digital Disruptor” at the IDC Digital Transformation Awards (DXa) 2020, MediConCen simplifies medical insurance claims for medical community, insurers, and general customers using Hyperledger blockchain.

Traditional insurance systems require insured customers to present their physical card at the clinic, mail-in their medical receipts and claims for approval, followed by complicated administrative duties and time-consuming settlement procedures that many detest. Built on Hyperledger Fabric, MediConCen’s solution is the first blockchain medical ecosystem in Hong Kong, aimed at liberalizing the walled network to enhance the expected medical coverage, as well as greatly relieving clerical duties.

By automating the claim process through digital signatures and smart contracts, patients simply display their unique QR code for clinics to scan, thus revealing the corresponding plan and medical service they would provide. Offering efficiency and transparency to all parties involved with a complete and unique set of general ledgers and encrypting data of personal information to eliminate risks of leakage under the application of blockchain technology. This platform currently connects 200+ medical providers and 200,000+ medical insurance clients in Hong Kong.

Tech Mahindra’s plug-n-play solution to curb spam calls

By 2018, the spam call situation had grown grim in India, a country with more than 1 billion active mobile subscribers, causing bad customer experience and propagating of fake news and financial scams. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) acknowledged UCC (Unsolicited Commercial Communication) or spam calls were a major nuisance to telecom subscribers across the country and a growing menace that needed to be tackled with immediate effect. Though TRAI had established a “Do Not Disturb” (DND) list in 2010 with more than 230 million subscribers on it, unregistered telemarketers continue to spam customers, obtaining their consent through fraudulent and questionable tactics. Through various internal and external assessments, DLT was selected as the underlying technology to curb the menace. 

Tech Mahindra developed a plug-n-play solution, built on Hyperledger Fabric, to mitigate the problem. With the solution successfully deployed across three major telcos in India, Tech Mahindra has access to >50% market. This solution has potential to have a global impact. Tech Mahindra has already reached out to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the U.S. market and is exploring opportunities to socialize it with U.S.-based telcos to address the pain points of robo-calling and caller ID spoofing are key pain areas that can be addressed by our solution.

Blockchain Education: The Keys to the Door of a New Business Revolution

By Blog, Education, Hyperledger Fabric

The global market for blockchain solutions is set to grow by $18 billion by 2024. According to IDC (International Data Corporation), 2020 alone has seen $4.4 billion spent on developing and integrating tailored enterprise blockchain solutions – up nearly four times from 2017.

With such explosive demand growth for blockchain solutions, an equally increasing supply of top-tier blockchain development talent is needed to meet the needs of some of the world’s largest corporations and organizations. These global corporations are looking to invest heavily in top tech talent to solve business inefficiencies in areas such as supply chain management, insurance, and healthcare solutions, amongst others.

As blockchain technology is still a maturing and emerging industry, business stakeholders are looking to build the technological foundation necessary to position themselves at the forefront of the next technological revolution. IBM, Amazon, Microsoft and Intel are some of the global corporations pouring resources into figuring out how to effectively implement Hyperledger-based solutions into their verticals.

Hyperledger Fabric has become one of the most well-known blockchain platforms for supply chain management solutions. A prime example: the logistics management solution Walmart Canada has implemented, which has dramatically reduced costly invoice disputes across its extensive network of freight carriers. If you’re interested, you can read up on the study here.

So what does this all mean? With demand for permissioned blockchain solutions growing at such a rapid rate, more aspiring professionals need to be trained in this emerging highly specialized area of technology. 

Large corporations in a variety of business sectors are looking for people who understand the wider scope of blockchain architecture and design principles to develop solutions that can improve upon existing solutions. EMURGO’s mission via its education unit EMURGO India is to help shape the upcoming talent in this expanding space.

Trained to be Industry Ready

EMURGO India offers a comprehensive training course that provides a solid base of understanding of the underlying technology and is well aligned with the curriculum of the official Hyperledger CHFD certification. 

In addition, EMURGO’s training heavily focuses on hands-on learning experiences, incorporating actual practice alongside theoretical teaching, so that students are industry ready from Day 1. 

With an emphasis on hands-on learning and mentoring, this course makes sure students are able to successfully develop high quality projects and also have a thorough understanding of  actual business use cases for blockchain technology.

Prestigious Win

Recently, six of EMURGO India’s student mentees won first place in the Maxonrow Blockchain Hackathon for their blockchain-based solutions to track COVID-19 vaccinations built on Hyperledger Fabric. 

The Maxonrow Hackathon was highly competitive with a pool of over 40+ well-designed projects submitted, and judges and audience members from the likes of PwC, Audi, and venture capital firms analyzing the different blockchain business solutions.

Other mentees and students of EMURGO India’s education course were also able to come up with potential blockchain solutions and ideas in all kinds of industries. For example, in the healthcare industry where medical records of a particular person is strictly limited from hospital to hospital, Hyperledger-powered solutions were used to provide a permissionless environment where records could be accessed by doctors from different medical departments.

Hyperledger blockchain technology was used to address a scenario where food from one source had gotten contaminated. The solution made it possible to track down the exact source of the contamination instead of having to entirely shut down all of the numerous distribution outlets where the food source could have ended up.

The Road Ahead

In this exciting and rapidly developing space, there is no better time to position oneself within the blockchain industry and gain valuable career experience. Corporations of all sizes are rapidly hiring top talent to spearhead new innovation to become more cost efficient by streamlining outdated and expensive solutions systems in use today. 

In fact, on LinkedIn, blockchain is recognized as the number one in-demand skill in 2020, ahead of other areas such as artificial technology and cloud computing. If you are interested in knowing more about the Hyperledger Fabric Course from EMURGO India, feel free to reach out to us here. EMURGO is more than happy to discuss your goals and future so that we can tailor everything to your needs. 

Cover image by Tumisu from Pixabay

DEON: A Hyperledger-based DEcentralized Off-grid Network

By Blog, Hyperledger Aries, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Indy

The DEON project focuses on the application of blockchains to secure data sharing in private networks and was initiated in 2018 in the wireless and sensor networks laboratory at the Yale Institute for Network Science. The use case of off-grid communication networks was identified with the goal of enabling their full decentralization in terms of data management and identity management. Off-grid (communication) networks are peer-to-peer networks that are autonomous, without super nodes and not dependent on the Internet’s physical infrastructure. Several recent developments like goTenna[1] and the Beartooth[2] offer standalone wireless devices that could be used to form local peer-to-peer networks. Other developments like the well-known Guifi community network[3] in Catalonia, Spain, are community-led paradigms in that space. Although these networks promote decentralization, openness, and fairness, they rely on legacy, centralized technologies for specific parts of their architecture like data and identity management. The integration of blockchains into off-grid networks appeared promising since blockchain provides attributes like transparency, privacy, distribution of governance and decentralization that are highly desirable in off-grid networks.

We chose Hyperledger Fabric as the framework to build our architecture because of its flexibility, performance and the potential we saw behind this huge community of enthusiasts and developers to further advance the technology. After we got familiar with the framework, we identified a key missing aspect: a decentralized identity management component. Unlike the rest of Fabric’s architecture, its native identity management is centralized and based on Certificate Authorities. So we came across the following questions: “which of the nodes in the network is going to host and manage the CA?”, “can we stick with the initial plan of having equal nodes?”and “how can we preserve the decentralization of off-grid networks if we rely on centralized nodes?”

Looking at the rest of the Hyperledger ecosystem, we found that Hyperledger Indy and Aries enable decentralized identity management. We could transform the centralized CAs of Fabric to a distributed CA entity, aka the Indy ledger, so that they are accessible by all nodes but not hosted by a specific one. This approach would work like a distributed oracle of trust in the network but necessitated some changes in Fabric and other extensions in the entire stack to bring DIDs into the “Fabric world.”

Approach and proposed architecture

The first Fabric extension identified as necessary for the integration was an Indy-based MSP to verify identities, signatures and transactions signed by DIDs. In addition, we had to enable the Fabric SDK (Go) to sign transactions using DIDs. For the Indy/Aries part, we leveraged the Hyperledger Aries Cloud Agent (aca-py) [4], which is deployed in each node of the network and serves as both the verifier and the issuer in the network. On one hand, it signs Fabric transactions using DIDs and issues credentials to the users of the network, and on the other it verifies proofs and transactions signed by DIDs. The DEON Core Service leverages Fabric private data collections and an interface to IPFS to expose a REST API for secure, transparent, fast and privacy-preserving data storage. An overview of the integration is shown in the figure below. The proposed architecture can be employed by off-grid networks of any kind, from IoT to communication and inter-enterprise consortia networks, for enabling self-sovereign identity and user-centric data sharing.

Figure 1: HL Fabric-Indy/Aries integration

Project outcomes and future work

The work started as a joint effort between the wireless and sensor networks lab of Professor Leandros Tassiulas at the Yale Institute for Network Science and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), which put its expertise in decentralized identity to work in the development of the identity parts. Part of the work and initial benchmarks of the architecture deployed in off-grid settings are presented in the paper “A Blockchain-based Decentralized Data Sharing Infrastructure for Off-grid Networking[5].”

Currently the Yale team is working on improving the code to make it more usable by others as a standalone solution for integrating Fabric and Indy/Aries. The team is also working on feature enhancements for the DEON platform, such as supporting Fabric v2, updating DEON identity agents to the latest version of the aca-py agent, extending the DEON REST API with admin functionalities and finally looking for new applications of the platform. The code of the project can be found on GitHub https://github.com/off-grid-block.

[1] goTenna off-grid device: https://gotenna.com/
[2] Beartooth off-grid device: https://beartooth.com/
[3] Guifi.net: https://guifi.net/
[4] aca-py agent: https://github.com/hyperledger/aries-cloudagent-python/
[5] “A Blockchain-based Decentralized Data Sharing Infrastructure for Off-grid Networking”: https://arxiv.org/abs/2006.07521v2

About the author
Harris Niavis is a Research Engineer at Yale University. His research interests lie in enterprise blockchain networks, decentralized identity management, mesh networks and IoT.

 

Cover image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

The move to a production network: What you need to consider and how Hyperledger Fabric can help

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that provides a shared, immutable, and transparent history to the participants in the network of all the actions that have happened. Currently, different types of blockchain technologies exist, including private permissioned implementations that allow governance of the network participants and secure management of sensitive data. 

Blockchain has already demonstrated its potential in numerous POCs and implementations in production in Switzerland and abroad. Deployments are live in various business areas such as supply-chain management, finance (e.g., payments in crypto-currencies, tokenization), healthcare data management, ticketing services, eVoting, cars and planes configuration and maintenance, among others. Increasingly, companies are moving past the initial stage of  testing whether  blockchain is a good solution to a specific business problem (i.e., developing a POC) and are starting the work of adopting this technology in production networks. 

The move from a successful POC implementation to a production deployment brings many added challenges such as ongoing management, integration (on both the technology and business process fronts), security and budgeting. Here are some key areas where advanced consideration and preparation can smooth a production implementation:

  1. Deployment options for running and maintaining the blockchain nodes and other components of the blockchain network.

Blockchain technology is often employed to ensure transparent and secure transactions executed between parties without fully aligned interests. Instead of relying on a centralized “trusted” party, which can become a target for the internal and external cyber-attacks, parties opt to set up a distributed network. This blockchain network consists of replicated nodes that execute smart contracts – programs defined by the business logic of the application. Depending on the business requirements, a specific type of blockchain implementation (i.e., permissionless/permissioned, private/public, or hybrid) shall be chosen. This choice also impacts the network configuration and maintenance. When the nodes are located on premises, execution of smart contracts can be verified by the parties directly. However, infrastructure maintenance costs and shortage of specialists “in house” can complicate such an approach. The nodes can also be deployed in the cloud; multiple companies provide such services. Working with service providers simplifys management. However, it also requires careful selection of the provider(s) based on the sensitivity level of data that are being processed by the smart contracts, regulations, and physical location of the hosting data centers.

  1. Set up or integration of identity management approach.

For the permissioned blockchain technology implementation, identity management service plays a crucial role. Often, even as a part of distributed ledger frameworks, identity management services are implemented in a centralized manner, which poses serious security threats and can become a single point of failure. Setting up a distributed identity management service, using blockchain-based approach for identity management (such as self-sovereign identity solutions) and implementing privacy-preserving approaches (using advance cryptographic primitives such as zero-knowledge proofs) are the approaches that must be considered for the real-world implementation. 

  1. Transformation of  business processes into chaincode (smart contracts) 

Transforming paper-based contracts and business processes into computer programs can be challenging and may require compliance with domain-specific regulations (i.e., Drug Supply Chain Security Act in US, Falsified Medicines Directive of the European Union in the pharmaceutical sector). Making sure the business processes are properly transferred and are available for  verification and audits are cornerstone requirements for the successful integration of the blockchain. To understand and translate specifics of a company’s business area into smart contracts, collaboration between the company and blockchain specialists with the specific domain knowledge and legal expertise is required.

  1. Data management approach.

Replication of the code execution between multiple parties brings transparency into blockchain implementations. At the same time, more parties may access the sensitive data that is required for the execution of the smart contracts deployed on the nodes. In the course of development of the blockchain, a number of approaches for hybrid data management have been proposed. These approaches assume that only part of the data is managed within the blockchain network, and most of the data, especially of a sensitive nature, is stored and processed locally. Private data collections, hardware security modules, data encryption are examples of approaches that aim to ensure data security and user privacy.

  1. Estimation of the infrastructure and maintenance costs.

Once the above points are considered, and preliminary choices are made, it’s easier to estimate the effort and costs of implementing and maintaining a system. It is important to ensure integration and interoperability with other non-blockchain-based components. Detailed specifications of SLAs and timelines in the dynamic blockchain environment must not be overlooked.

Working with customers, we have found that Hyperledger Fabric, one of the most mature permissioned blockchain technology platforms implementations, is well architectured to help companies to make the leap from POC to a successful production deployment.

Hyperledger Fabric networks can be set up on the customer premises and in the cloud, including multi-vendor cloud environments. Deployment and maintenance of the robust and secure blockchain-based POCs and real-world systems can be achieved in close collaboration between the company and a vetted service provider that has deep experience helping enterprises successfully adopt Fabric.

With Hyperledger Fabric, business logic can be “translated” into the chaincode using one of the following general-purpose languages: Go, node.js, or Java. Fabric also provides a set of built-in tools for sensitive data management, such as private data collections and channels, as well as flexibility in the choice of identity management approach, such decentralized identity management and anonymous credentials. 

Being aware of the challenges, knowing how to address them, and working together with a Hyperledger Certified Service Provider, like Swisscom, are key components to the successful deployment of a blockchain-based project in production.