– Passing the Baton by Brian Behlendorf, General Manager, Open Source Security Foundation, Linux Foundation
– Hyperledger is almost six years old, but who’s counting by Robert Palatnick, Managing Director and Global Head of Technology Research and Innovation, DTCC, and Chair of the Hyperledger Governing Board
After four years of co-leading the Hyperledger project alongside Brian Behlendorf, I am pleased to be taking the reins as Executive Director as part of my new role as General Manager of Blockchain, Healthcare and Identity at the Linux Foundation. The Hyperledger community is one of the most rewarding communities to work with across the world, and it is my honor to lead Hyperledger in our next growth phase.
I told myself in the summer of 2017 that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to go work at the Linux Foundation on one of the hottest enterprise blockchain projects alongside Brian Behlendorf, a leading figure in the open source community. When I joined the Hyperledger team as Vice President of World Wide Alliances, it was the era of Long Island Blockchain Ice Tea. Companies were changing their name to include the word “blockchain” even if they were not using blockchain technologies, and ICOs were making fast money with little to no output in code and solutions. In contrast, the Hyperledger community, backed by some of the world’s biggest enterprises, was building, delivering and focusing not on the froth but on making an impact across multiple industries and regions.
For the last four years, I have seen the Hyperledger landscape grow from a couple of initial projects, Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Sawtooth, to a slate of 17 DLTs, Libraries and Tools including the recent addition of Hyperledger Firefly. According to LFXInsights, in the last three years, there has been a 53% growth in the total commits and new code contributors increased by 37%. A total of 366 organizations from both large and small companies have made code commits since 2016. And the pace of activity among new community members is accelerating as commits by new contributors have increased by 286% in the last year.
Some of the largest and most important production enterprise blockchain projects today are built using Hyperledger technologies. They range from supply chain networks, like IBM and Walmart’s Food Trust (Hyperledger Fabric) and Circulor’s mine to manufacturer traceability of a conflict-mineral for automobile sustainable supply chains (Hyperledger Fabric), to top trade finance platforms TradeLens and we.trade, which both use Hyperledger Fabric. They also include the first production CBDC deployments like the the National Bank of Cambodia (Hyperledger Iroha) and Central Bank of Nigeria CBDC (Hyperledger Fabric) as well as pilots and projects like Project Inthanon-LionRock (Hyperledger Besu), a prototype developed by Bank for International Settlements Innovation Hub with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Bank of Thailand, People’s Bank of China, and Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates that recently demonstrated the potential of digital currencies and distributed ledger technology (DLT) to reduce costs and speed up cross-border payments.
Our Hyperledger community also supports a number of the leading global Digital Identity-related deployments, including many European Digital Identity projects like the recent launch of IDunion (Hyperledger Indy and Hyperledger Aries), supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy of Germany and companies like Siemens, which is building an open ecosystem for self sovereign identities controlled by users. Other Hyperledger-powered identity solutions include Africa’s first national decentralized ID system, launched by Kiva, and various digital identity initiatives in Canada including the government of British Columbia.
Back in 2017, right after I joined Hyperledger, I was wearing a Hyperledger t-shirt while sitting at the Toronto airport on my way back home from Sibos, the annual banking and financial conference organized by SWIFT. I was minding my own business when a very excited man came to sit by me. Always wary of strangers, I shifted uncomfortably because there were many seats around me open. Why did he have to come sit next to me? With a big smile he pointed to my t-shirt and asked if I was a developer and using Hyperledger. I explained that I was on Hyperledger staff, and he then went on to tell me enthusiastically about the use case he was delivering in payment remittances for his homeland country. I wish I remembered who this man was and what the project he was building. The business card got lost and, after a five-day stint at Sibos, where the story “I am building so and so with Hyperledger” was a common refrain, I have lost that specific company. What stays with me, however, is the joy of seeing and hearing the passionate story of how this technology was solving a real problem.
Although today, I am not spending a lot of time at airports due to COVID travel restrictions, I continue to talk to companies on a weekly basis that are building with Hyperledger. These companies range from some of the largest retail stores to governments building important distributed ledger projects across various public sector use cases to healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, insurance and banks and other financial services and small start-ups around the world who are building the next generation of enterprise systems. Real development, real enterprise use cases, but today with a little less Blockchain Ice Tea labels.
With over 200 member companies, including the world’s largest brands like Walmart, Bosch, Telefonica and CVS Health; the top enterprise technology companies such as Accenture, Ant Financial (Alibaba), IBM, ConsenSys, Hitachi, Fujitsu, and Tencent; and financial giants like DTCC, JPMorgan, Visa and American Express as well as government organizations like the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the Bank of England, our member community continues to grow in support of Hyperledger. Here at Hyperledger, we are an open source developer community, one with roots and anchors to the giants of open source at the Linux Foundation, including the Linux Kernel, Kubernetes, Let’s Encrypt, Automotive Grade Linux and many more.
We are here to serve our community of enterprise blockchain developers.
Today’s enterprise blockchain ecosystem is quite different from when Hyperledger launched in 2016. The fast-evolving market has created demand for a mix of permissioned and permissionless (who can write to a blockchain), public and private (who can read from a blockchain) and hybrid networks. This spectrum proves that our multi-DLT framework approach works for the diverse needs of today’s global economy and will continue to shift to meet the demands of developers and users. Our recent Hyperledger brand survey confirms much of the progress both the industry and Hyperledger have made and proves that blockchain technologies are here to stay. It’s exciting to think about where we go from here.
Over the next few weeks, you will be seeing an updated Hyperledger overview paper, more community focused goals that were identified in our recent Hyperledger Brand survey, and some more exciting news as we position ourselves for the next five years and beyond.
What we have built at Hyperledger in the last five years and are planning to build in the next five are technologies and communities that will be with us for a long time. I am both invigorated and humbled by the opportunity to lead this community into the next phase of enterprise blockchain as General Manager, Blockchain, Healthcare and Identity with Executive Director duties at Hyperledger.
Be on the lookout for more stories from the field in our new Hyperledger Staff Corner and, if you want to tell us your own story, please reach out.
— Daniela Barbosa, Executive Director at Hyperledger and General Manager, Blockchain, Healthcare and Identity for the Linux Foundation