Insolar Project: An Initiative of Experienced Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric Developers

Dr. Lesley Czuma, the Head of Communications and Partnerships at Insolar, an organization focused on developing an enterprise-grade, blockchain platform for “enabling seamless interactions between companies”, has argued that modern businesses are still in need of a full-featured software product which would allow them to build DLT-enabled applications.

Distributed Ledger Tech (DLT) Can Be Transformative If It Can Serve Enterprise Needs

Czuma, who earned her Ph.D. in Political Science and Economics from the Free University of Berlin, told CryptoGlobe that Insolar is “dedicated to maximizing the potential and widespread use of blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), because we believe that it has huge potential to transform society and the economy, if it is optimized to serve enterprise needs as we are.”

She explained that Insolar does not build on other platforms, as they have built their own “to fill a gap in the current market.”She further noted:

We interviewed more than one hundred C-suite executives to determine their expectations on DLT. The result was that no existing offer is sufficient for the needs of business, so we decided to create our own platform.

Improving Upon Features Found in HLF, Ethereum, Corda

Czuma, a former Senior Business Consultant at Shanghai-based Xinshi Advertising Ltd., added: 

“[Insolar’s project] combines the learnings from all the key players already out there – and [aims to] top them in features and performance. Thus includes HyperLedger Fabric (HLF), Ethereum (ETH), and Corda. Our engineers are in the unique position to do this – we have [a fairly] large and experienced blockchain development team. Our main architects have worked on all of the three aforementioned projects.”

She continued: “To promote widespread use of our blockchain tech, our code is open-source on Github. We invite developers, both private individuals and companies, to contribute to our open-source code and also to build on our platform. What’s more, we make it easy to do so by using the most popular enterprise programming languages – Golang and Java.

Our platform is designed to be interoperable with others, which maximizes its reach because existing applications will be able to be used on top of it and their performance improved. It will also be possible to run native contracts on Insolar. Initial plans include running Hyperledger Fabric chaincode, as well as Go or Java-based contracts on the Insolar virtual machine.

Since it is also compatible with legacy IT, it breaks vendor lock. The platform has a layered architecture which makes it particularly developer friendly. You can build applications on the business layer without knowledge of blockchain. Insolar does not require expensive upfront investments in IT labor and infrastructure to deploy; it can be run on the cloud, securely and scalably. In fact, Insolar can even be used without running your own node.

Anyone can get involved and be part of our ecosystem. We invite you to be proactive. We are preparing tech documentation which will facilitate building applications on the Insolar platform and can be requested from us directly. The Insolar Tech Paper is available online.

The progress of the open-source project can be tracked on Github, in the Insolar Announcements and the Insolar Blog.”

Public Versus Private Blockchains, Which Is Better?

When questioned about whether public (permissionless) blockchains are better than private ones, Czuma noted:

“We need both, because business requires that flexibility. The good news is, Insolar enables us to have both. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of public/ private blockchains.

On the one hand, blockchain is praised exactly for its public nature as a guarantor of “instant trust” between trustless parties, and this is crucial while the number of stakeholders involved in interactions between businesses is rapidly growing. However, the immutability of protocols, decentralized, secure records, and transparency can still be guaranteed even if networks are not entirely public.

At the same time, business involves many transactions which require privacy – such as client and financial data and regulatory data restrictions. Insolar offers hybrid permissioned networks based on its open-access public blockchain platform, which also enables proprietary, private transactions.

How that works? We use domain governance, which you can read about in detail here.

Basically, on Insolar, everything is a “smart contract” and ruled by domains. Open and closed blockchain ledgers are merged at the infrastructure level so that public and private transactions can be supported. But there is a key difference between our solution and what private blockchain protocols typically offer:

We do not isolate private domains from each other or from other networks. A private domain owner is able to assign one or more nodes in a domain as a proxy node, so all external communication is handled through it. Proxy nodes work like a gateway between a private domain and the public net.

Domain policy is applied before smart contracts are executed and domain policy determines the data privacy settings for the nodes that run the smart contracts. Another example of domain policy concerns cybersecurity and data encryption. Since different countries have different encryption standards, the domain owner is free to set cryptography standards that are compliant with their local regulators.

Policies can differ with regard to the rules for changing the domain itself, access from/to other domains, validation rules for logic (e.g. consensus, number of voters), mutability of code (is it possible for the code to change and what is the procedure to do so), mutability of history – e.g. to implement the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or legal action via authorization requirements defined by the domain – and applicability of custom cryptography schemes.

Obviously, blockchain networks provide more value when more participants are able to join, and the flexibility which Insolar’s hybrid networks, system interoperability and legacy IT compatibility offer can maximize the potential to join the network and thus dramatically hasten enterprise blockchain adoption.”

Main Use Cases For Blockchain Technology

Responding to a question about what she considers to be the five main use cases for blockchain technology, Czuma said:

“First of all, let me say that we have two main products.

1) The Insolar platform: It is designed to be interoperable with other platforms, so existing solutions can be adapted to run on it and their performance improved. Alternatively, developers can build their own solutions on top of it.

2) Business use case solutions: These are the solutions which we build on top of the platform that solve pain points to optimize particular processes.

Regarding these use case solutions, I would name the following five based on their impact and potential to transform business by solving major challenges, saving costs, and creating new opportunities.

1. Supply Chain:

This case is cross industry and involves complex processes, multiple stakeholders, and diverse regulatory jurisdictions. Typically, essential information that is mutually needed is siloed. As such, supply chain operations is prone to mistakes which can cost businesses their very existence.

Just think of food security and instances of product contamination and recall. Quality and inventory control, payments, delivery, tracking goods for authenticity, and cross-border customs compliance are some of the elements that it covers. DLT solutions can simplify and streamline supply chain to automate processes like payments, make information transparent to all the relevant parties in real time, and even give consumers’ access to details on product production and content.

The features unique to Insolar like domain governance and hybrid networks can ensure compliance to customs requirements while selectively securing sensitive data. Besides saving costs for business, the solution can radically improve the well being of end consumers – think of e.g. validating pharmaceuticals and the maintenance of fleets, including vehicles and planes.

2. Collaborative Agreement Management:

Insolar has a revolutionary tool which translates legal contracts into code-based smart contracts, allowing for radical process simplification and overhead reduction via system integration. Expensive legal mistakes are prevented by ensuring compliance to current legislation (linked to a regulation database).

Contract requirements are tracked and automatically executed, so that fulfillment is guaranteed, and agreements are current. A contract lifecycle dashboard and contract relation tree with links to amendments, subcontracts, and execution results gives full status transparency. Finally, a secured contract repository provides a single source of the truth. This instrument is a much-needed improvement for practically any business.

3. TES – Transactive Energy Platform

The Insolar TES enables the use and storage of renewable energy on a needs basis through a prosumer scheme which employs electric vehicle (EV) charging. Overall, the system strengthens utilities and ensures their key future role by increasing grid resilience and efficiency though smart-demand mechanisms involving (enterprise) microgrids.

Energy can be more effectively distributed and used in peak demand times. This is great news for fighting climate change, and also for increasing the available renewable energy supply. As economies grow, energy demand is increasing, even while we need to curb CO2 production. The TES contributes to solving both challenges. For this solution, Insolar has been named by the World Energy Council (UNO) as one of the top 100 most innovative companies worldwide promoting the transition to sustainable energy.

4. Commodity Trading:

Typically, negotiations and trading are conducted via telephone or email with limited transparency. Important data is fragmented and resides in unstructured documents. Centralized infrastructure does not provide for a viable solution, because delegating trust to one of the stakeholders comes at a risk to the others.

A blockchain-based trade management platform decreases labor-intensive paper document exchange, enhances transparency and reduces business network complexity throughout the entire transaction lifecycle. While the focus is on commodity buyers and sellers, other parties, such as banks and regulators, can get access to the required documents and data.

Since our network is hybrid and domain governed, data sharing can be done selectively and security ensured. Consider how important this is if the commodity which is being traded is, for instance, uranium.

5. Trade Promotion:

Promo management is a resource-intensive, manual set of operations whereby data is gathered upon request. Moreover, data about promotions is entered and managed separately by each stakeholder. A blockchain-based trade promo management system integrates all parties involved within a single ecosystem. It brings all operations under one platform, captured by a shared ledger. The platform streamlines the entire trade promo process from negotiation to execution to payment.”

Will Bitcoin Become A Globally Accepted Currency?

When asked about whether she sees cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin (BTC), becoming a more widely adopted medium-of-exchange (MoE) in the foreseeable future, Czuma said:

“Overall, I would answer with a careful “yes” but add that several things need to happen before it is viable as a widespread MoE – notably, legislation, and it is daunting to predict a timeline for this.

No global regulator exists at the moment, and in the majority of countries, cryptocurrency is not considered to be legal tender. This is one of the reasons why its use and adoption are limited. At the same time, there are widespread concerns among regulators about the risks associated with the use of cryptocurrency, which include tax evasion, terrorism, money laundering and other illegal activities.

There is also discussion that the lack of regulation of the sphere enables the manipulation of supposed trading volumes on exchanges, which in turn promotes wild speculation and is purported to be one of the reasons behind the recent market decline.

In fact, the market valuations of crypto are extreme and erratic – just consider that the price of Bitcoin climbed to 20,000 USD and then fell to below USD 3,500. There is also concern that regulation is needed to protect consumers and investors, and we have all heard of the spectacular instances of hacks such as the theft of $530 million worth of digital currency in Japan.

At the same time, crypto has grown impressively – the total market capitalization of assets currently comprises USD 115 billion, and since the first ICOs, these have cumulatively gathered over 20 billion USD. Considering these volumes, there is some concern that cryptocurrencies could affect overall financial stability.

However, this is currently unlikely, as the combined market value of cryptocurrencies amounts to less than 0.15% of global GDP. Nonetheless, there is no question that market regulation is necessary and on the global agenda. Not only is the majority of governments planning to initiate legislation on crypto, major international oversight organizations such as the IMF have also called for it.

Of course, once crypto is regulated, it loses some of its current appeal, such as not being traceable to individuals. On the other hand, considerable new advantages will appear — for instance, once global regulation and consensus on it as a MoE is secured, crypto can save international business vast amounts of money and increase economic stability and worldwide trade by e.g. making currency exchange obsolete.”

Insolar Project to Go Live in Autumn

Responding to a question about the current state of development of the Insolar project and what are the main things that are part of the project’s roadmap, Czuma stated:

“The Insolar platform will go live in autumn. In the meantime, decentralized applications (dApps) can already be built on it. Our development team has achieved and will continue to add unique key features that set us apart.

Insolar’s core features will comprise:

1. Support of simultaneous public and private networks and multi zone security.

This enables compliance with domain governance rules and global regulations such as GDPR. Domain owners are able to set different levels of security. This feature promotes mainstreaming and wide-spread use of the Insolar network by enterprise clients.

2. Upgradable smart contracts

Insolar contracts are separated from the platform code. This means that the contract owner can switch between code versions, so that the contract automatically updates to new rules and the users are notified about the change.

3, Support for transactions longer than one block

Enterprises require longer and more complex transactions. Unlike any other blockchains, where validation is done by all nodes in the same time — on Insolar, every smart contract is executed by a single node, and then validated by other nodes. This allows to execute large and long transactions.

Other relevant features which Insolar offers as part of its unique platform profile include: 

4. Dynamic consensus that changes the number of validators based on the value of the transaction. Fewer validators are required for low value transactions (which reduces costs) and more validators for high value transactions (which reduces risks). Businesses can plan their transactions cost-efficiently and securely.

5. Interoperability: We will allow HL Fabric chaincode to run on the Insolar platform. That will help those enterprise clients who are already experimenting with blockchain to smoothly migrate to the Insolar Platform. 

As already noted, Insolar is also compatible with enterprise legacy IT systems. This feature maximizes the number of enterprises that can easily join our ecosystem and use our platform.

6. Unlimited, linear scalability — on Insolar, as more hardware joins the network, throughput grows. Note that this is unique and highly valuable, since with classical blockchain tech, the opposite is the case, and the more nodes join the network, the slower it becomes.

To sum up, everything that Insolar does is directed at adding value for business. We are [striving to enhance] DLT beyond its original crypto context to serve the specific needs of enterprise. We offer solutions to the main pain points that businesses face. We do all of this based on an open-source platform and services which are directed at making DLT use widespread and mainstream to maximize its benefit.“

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Hyperledger Blockchain ID Platform Launched For The Brazilian Banks

CIP, the Brazilian banking and financial infrastructure with IBM have collaboratively launched a new Blockchain ID platform that will be used by the country. This Blockchain ID platform is backed up by the Hyperledger Fabric Technology and will be called the Device ID.

The work was in progress and the implementation of this new standardised identity solution was reported on June 2. However, the official announcement of the launch was made on June 12th. The Identity Device ID will be used by the nine banks within Brazil and also it will be used in the Brazilian Payment System(SPB), the domestic clearing system according to the official announcement.

Blockchain ID platform use case

The new technology mainly aims to secure and authenticate digital signatures with the aid of their mobile devices. And the other detailed information of the device is still awaited.

The Director of Febraban, Brazil’s national banking association, Joaquim Kiyoshi Kavakama said, “Brazilian banks have been studying blockchain technology applications for a long time, but they weren’t all together. So we decided to create a group and unify all actions, which is very important to achieve standardization to all banks,” He has also added, “We are now in the forefront when it comes to blockchain.

Hyperledger is an umbrella project or a hub of open source blockchain and related tools, which was started in December 2015 by the Linux Foundation and are supported by big industries such as IBM, Intel, and SAP for the collaborative development of blockchain based distributed ledgers. Instead of companies solving their own issues, Hyperledger combines the cross-industry knowledge that allows the various enterprises to build the customised blockchain for their specific needs.

Brazilian banks have not been very supportive to the cryptocurrencies so far. However, the bank seems to be adopting digital era’s new technologies and in coming future it seems that the Brazilian banks will accept the cryptocurrencies.

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IBM encounters blockchain headwinds as Hyperledger forges ahead

Highlights

  • IBM’s first live blockchain we.trade takes tech work in-house
  • IBM cuts blockchain staff
  • Head of IBM blockchain financial services departs abruptly
  • Hyperledger’s success previously closely tied to IBM
  • Hyperledger adds Microsoft, Salesforce, Ethereum Foundation, GS1, Nornickel

In the last couple of months, IBM has encountered several blockchain setbacks. It has laid off staff. Its head of financial services has left. And one of its highest-profile clients, trade finance blockchain we.trade is taking work in-house. To date, the fortunes of Hyperledger, the open source blockchain community that’s part of the Linux Foundation, has been perceived as tied to IBM. But just last week it announced a slew of high profile new members.

The IBM setbacks

Before delving into IBM’s misfortunes, they need to be viewed in context. Last year when Juniper Research asked respondents to rank enterprise blockchain technology and services providers, 65% ranked IBM first. Microsoft was second at 7%. That was an enviable position for IBM to be in, and one that wasn’t likely to be sustained to that degree.

Plus last month, IBM’s TradeLens project landed two of the world’s biggest container shipping companies who are competitors of co-founder Maersk. Many said that was impossible.

Compared to the size of its success, the recent setbacks are relatively small. And as markets mature so does competition.

As a sign of that maturity, we.trade, the trade finance blockchain, plans to take most of its development in-house. We.trade was the first IBM blockchain to go into production, albeit a soft launch. The trade finance company is owned by 13 major banks and is initially offering open account trade finance to European SMEs. Nordea has started to actively promote it to clients.

Two months ago we.trade announced that COO Roberto Mancone was departing and General Manager Ciaran McGowan was joining. McGowan has a background as a CTO and was hired to build a technical team in Dublin. In the last couple of months, various we.trade representatives confirmed to Ledger Insights that IBM’s role will be reduced. But it will continue to play a part with SaaS hosting and some professional services.

Layoffs and departures

The layoffs at IBM may be another sign of maturity and competition. Multiple sources have confirmed retrenchment on the consulting (not technology) side of blockchain. But the numbers quoted varied from the teens up to a hundred or so. IBM doesn’t talk about lay off figures, and this is part of broader ranging cuts that CNBC reported at roughly 1,700 employees.

IBM has stated that the cuts relate to repositioning to focus on high-value segments. But blockchain is one of those segments.

Another team loss was Jesse Lund, as CoinDesk first reported. Apart from being responsible for blockchain financial services, he was also in charge of IBM World Wire, the cross border payments system that leverages Stellar technology. In mid-May, Stellar encountered a technical problem that caused it to go down for two hours. News about Lund’s departure appeared less than two weeks later.

Technology

Stellar was the third blockchain technology that IBM associated with. First and foremost, IBM is identified with enterprise blockchain Hyperledger Fabric. The platform is used in most of its blockchain client engagements and in its two owned solutions, IBM Food Trust and TradeLens, which is a joint initiative with Maersk. Although Fabric has developed a significant open source community beyond IBM, Big Blue is one of Fabric’s main contributors.

Given Fabric’s success, the progress of Hyperledger as an organization has been perceived as tightly aligned with IBM. That’s compounded by IBM’s adoption of Hyperledger Indy, the identity software that underpins the Sovrin network.

Hyperledger and IBM

As demonstrated by adoption, Hyperledger’s most promising technologies after Fabric appear to be Indy (and its sibling Aries) and Hyperledger Sawtooth (and its sibling Grid). Two of those three are associated with IBM.

In December Hyperledger ran it’s Global Forum in Switzerland. One might expect that IBM had a major footprint. However, not only was there no keynote from IBM, but over two days there was only one IBM presentation, from its blockchain CTO Gari Singh.

The reason for IBM’s low-key presence is open to interpretation. One takeaway is that perhaps Hyperledger needs to try to unhook the perception of itself and its success as being closely tied to IBM. And as a good community participant, IBM complied. But IBM’s contribution to Hyperledger is undoubtedly recognized.

“Hyperledger Fabric would not have happened without their [IBM’s] involvement and continued investment, and thanks to that it is today the most widely supported and widely used enterprise blockchain framework,” Hyperledger’s Executive Director, Brian Behlendorf told Ledger Insights via email.

But he was keen to emphasize other member contributions. “Both Hyperledger and IBM are really happy to see other companies realizing value from Hyperledger Fabric, such as every major cloud provider who deploys it as a managed service, from big clouds like Microsoft to specialized clouds like Blockdaemon, who are both also members of Hyperledger and also contribute code into Fabric.”

IBM’s Singh noted that numerous startups contributed to Fabric, but expressed a little frustration that there weren’t more enterprise contributions than currently.

Hyperledger forges ahead

Back at Hyperledger’s Global Forum, there was a keynote from Intel, which is one of the main contributors to Hyperledger Sawtooth. Intel announced a new Sawtooth-based supply chain tools initiative Hyperledger Grid in collaboration with the world’s largest agribusiness, Cargill.

Both of these projects are showing significant promise. U.S. retailer Target says it’s working with Grid. And the highest profile adopter of Sawtooth is Salesforce which is basing its blockchain offering on the technology.

Salesforce was also one of a several high profile new Hyperledger members announced last week. The others include the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), the Ethereum Foundation, standards body GS1, Microsoft, and huge Russian metals company Nornickel, which is adopting Fabric. CAICT is the thinktank from China’s Ministry of Industry and IT.

While Hyperledger gradually cuts the umbilical cord to IBM, it’s not ignoring Big Blue’s contribution. Behlendorf acknowledged: “Their [IBM’s] commitment to Hyperledger has been unwavering.”


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Microsoft and Ethereum Foundation Swell the Hyperledger Ranks Amid Growing Cross-Industry …

United States tech giant Microsoft and the Ethereum Foundation are among the latest companies to join the ranks of the Hyperledger greenhouse hosted by the Linux Foundation. Many notable names in the tech and wider business fields today are developing enterprise-grade solutions based on the expanding set of tools built on Hyperledger.

These institutional blockchain projects cut across both financial and nonfinancial distributed ledger technology (DLT) utilization. Presently, there are pilot projects geared toward identification systems, supply chain management (SCM) and provenance, to mention a few.

On the whole, members of Hyperledger appear to be at the forefront of a renaissance in open-source project development, facilitating a more decentralized approach to project building. Such a trend evinces a return to a more decentralized internet with blockchain technology living up to the hype of being a disruptor of the global business process.

There are, however, some drawbacks to the emerging open-source project building trend, especially for startups that have yet to earn significant pedigree within the industry. Also, while DLT constitutes a technological breakthrough, kinks such as scaling need to be worked out before DLT-based systems can realistically upstage their mainstream centralized counterparts.

New members join Hyperledger

Microsoft, Salesforce and the Ethereum Foundation are among eight new members of Hyperledger, as announced on June 18. These companies already have a history of blockchain adoption, with several DLT-based projects across diverse business processes.

There are now more than 270 members of Hyperledger developing their own enterprise-grade blockchain solutions. Commenting on the collaboration with Hyperledger, Marley Gray, Microsoft’s principal blockchain engineering architect, declared:

“Our journey in the blockchain ecosystem has brought us a long way, and now is the time for us to join the Hyperledger community. We are proud of our contributions to such a diverse blockchain ecosystem, from our Azure service offerings and developer toolkits to our leadership in driving open specifications.”

Microsoft is by no means a new entrant to the blockchain arena, with the company already developing an ecosystem for blockchain as a service (BaaS) on the Azure cloud computing service.

In the BaaS arena, Azure competes with other offerings by the likes of Oracle and AWS. These platforms allow businesses to create bespoke DLT-frameworks to fit their operating purposes without having to navigate the skill, knowledge and cost barriers associated with building decentralized apps (DApps) from scratch.

Related: Decentralized Identity: How Microsoft (and Others) Plan to Empower Users to Own and Control Personal Data

Teams working on the Azure BaaS infrastructure get access to preconfigured modular networks that simplify the process from conception to deployment of their DLT-based solutions. By joining Hyperledger, Microsoft Azure now offers three different enterprise blockchain development environments, with the other two being Corda and Ethereum.

The Ethereum Foundation joins the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance (EEA) as a partner of Hyperledger. For Hyperledger CEO Brian Behlendorf, the decision of the Ethereum Foundation to join the expanding Hyperledger enterprise blockchain greenhouse will be a positive one for blockchain developers in the industry.

Data from StateOfTheDApps — a platform that tracks decentralized apps — shows that Ethereum hosts the highest number of DApps. Of the total 2,667 DApps tracked by the platform, 2,505 run on the Ethereum blockchain.

Apart from the newly announced members, others include notable tech giants like IBM and Oracle. IBM, Walmart and Alibaba are among the companies with a significantly high number of blockchain-based patents, which is indicative of their activity in research and development (R&D) efforts in DLT-related enterprises.

Hyperledger projects supporting enterprise blockchain development

Hyperledger, for its part, is a collaboration between enterprises and the open-source community facilitated by the Linux Foundation. The Hyperledger greenhouse acts as a bridge that connects developers, nonprofit organizations, academia and all other stakeholders interested in developing and implementing enterprise-grade blockchain technology solutions.

Cointelegraph spoke with Marta Piekarska, director of the Hyperledger ecosystem at the Linux Foundation, about how the partnership works. According to Piekarska, Hyperledger doesn’t develop code or provide consulting services. Explaining further, Piekarska said:

“We support them in terms of PR and marketing for their projects. Not all of the developers creating solutions using Hyperledger tools are members of Hyperledger. You don’t have to be a Hyperledger member to use our technology, participate in our special interest groups, or to download and use the code. There is no technological barrier to using Hyperledger frameworks and tools.”

There are numerous projects around the world based on specific Hyperledger frameworks, such as Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Iroha, to mention a few. Back in May 2019, Cointelegraph reported on the partnership between Iran’s central bank and Tehran-based blockchain firm Areatak to create a DLT platform for the country’s banking and finance markets using Hyperledger Fabric. According to the report, the Borna blockchain platform, when fully realized, should help revamp Iran’s outdated banking sector.

Matt Milligan of Milligan Partners — a blockchain-based startup focusing on toll interoperability and one of the newest members of Hyperledger — highlighted the benefits of joining a vast collaborative effort like Hyperledger. Milligan, the managing partner at the company, said:

“Joining Hyperledger is tremendously valuable to us as we develop blockchain solutions for Mobility as a Service. By working in this diverse open source community, we can be more creative and more innovative than we could ever be on our own.”

The fact that Hyperledger is open-source, means developers can learn from one another, trading ideas in an environment increasingly being populated by teams working on cutting-edge DLT protocols. This collaboration serves to achieve Hyperledger’s aim of fostering cross-industry blockchain development.

By so doing, stakeholders at Hyperledger are hoping that blockchain technology can move away from the realm of being a marketing buzzword to more tangible utility cases. In an interview during the Brainstorm 2019 conference organized by Fortune, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse drew attention to the existence of too many economically inviable projects with the term “blockchain” slapped on them. According to Garlinghouse, “There is a lot of noise in the blockchain industry.”

Focus on nonfinancial DLT utilization

Apart from financial products, many of the blockchain protocols being built using Hyperledger tools involve nonfinancial use cases. This trend reinforces the narrative that DLT is a disruptive technology capable of affecting several facets of the global business process.

From a nonfinancial perspective, blockchain technology seems to be getting a great deal of adoption in protocols that require trust networks and provenance. Together, these two broad application cases cover much of the mainstream business arena — from SCM to health care and identity management.

Cointelegraph asked Piekarska about the major nonfinancial enterprise blockchain solutions being developed using the different Hyperledger framework tools, to which the director responded:

“There are quite a few markets that we are seeing as very big and potential markets. We are currently seeing a lot of interest in blockchain technology from stakeholders in supply chain management. We have the food trust project for IBM and Maersk. We have Everledger which is a blockchain project based on Hyperledger Fabric to track the provenance of diamonds and now also wine. There are at least 200 live networks based on Hyperledger Fabric alone. Digital identity is another space where we see a lot of interest. This is mostly as a result of Hyperledger Indy which is our framework for building digital identity solutions using zero-knowledge proofs. One of the main contributors here is Sovereign Foundation. They have the largest running network that is based on Hyperledger Indy.”

Right here for the taking

The combination of immutable data record-keeping and the ability to create trustless networks that do not require expensive third-party authenticators continues to be a pivotal aspect of the blockchain appeal. However, these projects still need to scale for them to be able to provide robust functionality on enterprise-level protocols.

Blockchain technology also seems to be having a material impact on open-source project development for both notable tech firms and smaller startups. According to Piekarska, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of projects listed on GitHub since the emergence of blockchain technology.

It isn’t inconceivable to imagine that DLT is creating easier avenues for open-source collaboration among development teams across the globe. Piekarska said:

“I think the coming of blockchain has caused a renaissance in open source project development especially for enterprise-grade software. It is changing the way enterprises see open-source project development which is reflected in the influx of notable tech giants like IBM and Microsoft into the Hyperledger environment. All projects in Hyperledger are under Apache license. It also lowers the barriers for small companies that can now take the code and build useful protocols.”

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Deploying and Calling Ethereum Smart Contracts on Hyperledger Burrow

  • Deploy Smart Contracts on Hyperledger Burrow

    Execute the following steps to deploy and run smart contract:

    1. Define the Burrow deploy configuration file for the Solidity contract. The deploy file for the BasicContract.sol sample contract is the basiccontractdeploy.yaml file. It specifies the job as deploy and the Solidity contract file as follows:

    jobs:

    name: BasicContract deploy:

     

    contract: BasicContract.sol

    2. Deploy the Solidity contract. After both the BasicContract.sol contract file and the basiccontractdeploy.yaml deploy file are written, the contract can be deployed to the Burrow validator with the burrow deploy command:

    burrow deploy –address=54EF1517D97E7A653D5FA5B05060A82A8856515D -f basiccontractdeploy.yaml

    The output should be as follows:

    ubuntu@ip-172-31-90-67:~/burrow/example/basic$ burrow deploy — address=54EF1517D97E7A653D5FA5B05060A82A8856515D -f basiccontractdeploy.yaml

    *****Executing Job***

    Job Name => defaultAddr

    *****Executing Job***

    Job Name => BasicContract

    Deploying Contract name => BasicContract

    addr => 5486CD7F1453396A1C9E4B24CC07AA507C4CD88A

    Saving Binary =>

    /home/ubuntu/burrow/example/basic/bin/BasicContract.bin

    Writing [basiccontractdeploy.output.json] to current directory

    The deployed contract address is in the preceding output. For our contract, it’s 5486CD7F1453396A1C9E4B24CC07AA507C4CD88A, which will be used when calling this contract.

    3. Call the contract. To call the deposit function in the sample contract, specify the Burrow deploy configure file, basiccontractdeposit.yaml, as follows:

    jobs:

    name: deposit call:

     

    destination: 5486CD7F1453396A1C9E4B24CC07AA507C4CD88A

    function: deposit data:

    1000

     

    4. Run the Burrow CLI command:

    burrow deploy –address=54EF1517D97E7A653D5FA5B05060A82A8856515D -f basiccontractdeposit.yaml

    5. To call the withdraw function in the sample contract, specify the Burrow deploy configure file, basiccontractwithdraw.yaml, as follows:

    jobs:

    name: withdraw call:

     

    destination: 5486CD7F1453396A1C9E4B24CC07AA507C4CD88A

    function: withdraw data:

    200

    6. Run the Burrow CLI command:

    burrow deploy –address=54EF1517D97E7A653D5FA5B05060A82A8856515D -f basiccontractwithdraw.yaml

    7. To call the getBalance function in the sample contract, specify the Burrow deploy configure file, as follows:

    jobs:

    name: getBalance query-contract: 

    destination: 5486CD7F1453396A1C9E4B24CC07AA507C4CD88A

    function: getBalance

    name: getAddress query-contract: 

    destination: 5486CD7F1453396A1C9E4B24CC07AA507C4CD88A

    function: getAddress

    8. Run the Burrow CLI command:

    burrow deploy –address=54EF1517D97E7A653D5FA5B05060A82A8856515D -f basiccontractquery.yaml

    The output for the query should look as follows:

    ubuntu@ip-172-31-90-67:~/burrow/example/basic$ burrow deploy

    –address=54EF1517D97E7A653D5FA5B05060A82A8856515D -f

    basiccontractquery.yaml

    *****Executing Job***

    Job Name => defaultAddr

    *****Executing Job***

    Job Name => getBalance

    Return Value => 800

    *****Executing Job***

    Job Name => getAddress

    Return Value => 54EF1517D97E7A653D5FA5B05060A82A8856515D Writing [basiccontractquery.output.json] to current directory

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    Building Transaction Handler and Processor for Hyperledger Sawtooth with Python SDK

  • Put Things Together

    We will illustrate each of the preceding steps using the code snippet for the marketplace sample:

    1. Decode the transaction payload: The transaction header has the signer public key, which identifies the person who submits the transaction. The payload is the encoded transaction data in the client application. For the marketplace sample, we encode the data as a comma-delimited CSV, so the payload will look like (house, action, owner) and the decode function looks as follows:

    def _unpack_transaction(transaction):

    header = transaction.header

    The transaction signer is the player signer = header.signer_public_key try:

    The payload is csv utf-8 encoded string house, action, owner =

    transaction.payload.decode().split(“,”)

    except ValueError:

    raise InvalidTransaction(“Invalid payload serialization”)

    2. Get the current state from the context: You often need to get the current state for existing assets, which is stored in the global state. You can access this based on the address through the context. The address is the 70-character address, and it includes the 6 characters for the namespace prefix; the remaining 64 characters are for the asset following the scheme that you design for the transaction family. The address for the marketplace example is as follows:

    def _make_mkt_address(namespace_prefix, house):

    return namespace_prefix +

    hashlib.sha512(house.encode(‘utf-8’)).hexdigest()[:64]

    The current state is stored as a multi-house record, each of which is separated by |. Each house and owner is a comma-delimited string:

    def _get_state_data(context, namespace_prefix, house):

    Get data from address state_entries =

     

    context.get_state([_make_mkt_address(namespace_prefix,house)])

    context.get_state() returns a list. If no data has been stored yet

    at the given address, it will be empty.

    if state_entries:

    try:

    state_data = state_entries[0].data

    _display(“state_data {}

    n”.format(state_data.decode()))

    house_list = { dbhouse: (dbowner) for dbhouse, dbowner

    in

    1. dbhouseowner.split(‘,’) for dbhouseowner in state_data.decode().split(‘|’) ] }

     

    _display(“house list in db {} n”.format(house_list))

    dbowner = house_list[house]

    _display(“db house {} db owner n”.format(house,dbowner))

    except ValueError:

    raise InternalError(“Failed to deserialize game data.”)

    else:

    house_list = {}

    dbowner = None

    return dbowner, house_list

     

    3. Validate the transaction: Like the normal logic, before you update the current state based on the new action, the transaction data should be validated based on your business rules:

    def _validate_house_data(action, owner, signer, dbowner):

    if action == ‘create’:

    if dbowner is not None:

    raise InvalidTransaction(‘Invalid action: house already

    exists.’)

    elif action == ‘transfer’:

    if dbowner is None:

    raise InvalidTransaction(

    ‘Invalid action: transfer requires an existing house.’)

    4. Enforce resource entitlement using access control lists (ACLs): Since the signer public key is available as the header, you can enforce resource entitlement to the asset using ACLs before applying the transaction, based on who submitted the transaction. Authorization and resource access can be implemented to keep the data safe.

    5. Apply the transaction: Once both the transaction and the current state are available, you are ready to apply your business rules, based on the commands and instructions in the transaction. The rules and computation can be applied to the current state to generate a new state.

    6. Store the new state back in the context: We need to commit the new state back into the global state via the context. This is the same as getting the current state. The new state needs to be encoded to update the global state based on the address:

    def _store_state_data(context, house_list, namespace_prefix, house, owner):

    house_list[house] = (owner)

    state_data = ‘|’.join(sorted([

    ‘,’.join([house, owner]) for house, (owner) in house_list.items() ])).encode()

    addresses = context.set_state(

    {_make_mkt_address(namespace_prefix, house): state_data})

    if len(addresses) < 1:

    raise InternalError(“State Error”)

    So far you learned how to configure Hyperledger Sawtooth (Validator and REST API), design namespace and address for Hyperledger Sawtooth transaction family and build transaction handler and processor for Hyperledger Sawtooth. The next and final step is to Build Transaction Processor Service and Python Egg for Hyperledger Sawtooth.

    This recipe is written in collaboration with Brian Wu who is a senior Hyperledger instructor at Coding Bootcamps school in Washington DC.

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    IBM’s New Blockchain’s Multicloud Update to Improve interoperability

    In Ledger Insights on June 18 report, IBM made an announcement regarding its Blockchain Platform upgrades.

    IBM’s new Blockchain Platform will reportedly run on several cloud networks, like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft’s Azure.

    Besides its previous iteration, this is the main upgrade which is available only via IBM’s cloud. Users will use a container program Kubernetes to access the multicloud platform and effectively scale their blockchain networks.

    The interoperability of IBM Blockchain Platform 2.0 is a major advantage of this new multicloud framework. Blockchain participants are able to maintain governance of multiple cloud networks — even where privacy environments differ — through the multicloud platform.

    Gari Singh, IBM Blockchain CTO, explained the advantage of this cross-network advantage:

    “We want to bring on XYZ company, but XYZ has a contract with Azure or AWS or Oracle,” he said.

    “How do we allow those guys to connect up a peer [node] to join the network and how can you support that?” […] We can now actually leverage all the great things that are in Hypeledger Fabric, and we can support you wherever you need to be. And we can also help to support networks that want to work with IBM, but they have other members that don’t.”

    IBM’s platform resembles Hyperledger Fabric’s open source blockchain platform but IBM has added ease-of-access tools. These tools will streamline the permissioned network launching process so as to assist in necessary tasks like consensus mechanisms creation and providing governance.

    In order to release a blockchain ID platform built on Hyperledger Fabric, IBM had to partner with Câmara Interbancária de Pagamentos, a Brazilian payments non-profit organization.

    The released platform — dubbed ‘Device ID,’— authenticates digital signatures that are on mobile devices thereby deterring fraudulent and criminal activities.

    Some organizations that intend to use this new blockchain verification platform is the Brazilian Payment System and Nine banks.

    Source:https://cointelegraph.com/news/ibm-announces-new-multicloud-update-to-blockchain

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    World’s Largest Palladium Miner Launches Blockchain Platform

    While cryptocurrency enthusiasts are waiting for mass adoption, blockchain-based solutions are quietly penetrating the industrial and manufacturing sectors.

    Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel), the world’s largest palladium producer, has joined the ranks of global corporations that seek to integrate blockchain technology into their business processes.

    nornickel

    Partnership With Hyperledger

    The company has recently joined the Hyperledger project — along with such big names as Microsoft, Salesforce, Gloscad, and Milligan Partners. This open-source global initiative hosted by the Linux Foundation promotes the integration of blockchain technologies across various industries.

    Nornickel is currently working on a distributed ledger technology based on Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT). It is a consensus algorithm that allows for the creation of public blockchains based on Hyperledger Fabric, which is considered to be is one of the fastest and the most efficient consensus algorithm for public blockchains to date.

    “Hyperledger is our core technology,” Sergey Batekhin, Senior Vice President on Sales, Procurement, and Innovation of Nornickel, commented. He continued:

    “By joining Hyperledger, we plan to share our expertise and knowledge to improve blockchain technology. Our company has formed a considerable pool of ideas, concepts, and initiatives that can be offered to other industry players. By joining the e Hyperledger community, we are making our inventions accessible to interested parties around the world.”

    hyperledger

    Tokenizing Commodities

    The company plans to implement Hyperledger Fabric technology.

    The platform will go live in a test mode within this year. Developed in partnership with the leading IT companies, it will be used to tokenize Nornickel’s products — including multi-billion dollar palladium contracts.

    The key idea behind the Nornickel’s platform is to streamline business processes and attract new investors to the company. Eventually, this will lead to reduced funding costs and help to free up turnover capital.

    palladium

    Palladium-Backed Stablecoin

    An idea of stablecoins backed by commodities is not new. Venezuela tried to tokenize its gold reserves, while Russia was contemplating an oil-backed digital coin.

    In that context, tokens backed by precious metals might become an interesting investment tool for serious market players, according to Nornickel CEO Vladimir Potanin.

    Speaking on the sidelines of the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, the head of Nornickel said that the company plans to launch is stablecoin backed by palladium contracts in autumn 2019. The pilot project will be launched in a test mode and support only a limited number of Nornickel’s contracts.

    Would you be interested in palladium-backed stablecoin? What does this pivot to blockchain mean to the global economy? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


    Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

    As a trusted news outlet in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry, BeInCryptoalways strives for the highest journalistic standards and adheres to a strict setof editorial policies. BeInCrypto is an independent website with authors and managementthat may personally invest in cryptocurrencies or blockchain startups.

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    Microsoft And Salesforce Join Hyperleder

    Jun 20, 2019 15:23&nbspUTC

    | Updated:

    Jun 20, 2019 at 18:29&nbspUTC

    By&nbspRishma Banerjee

    Technology giants Microsoft and Salesforce joined blockchain consortium, Hyperledger this week.

    They are a part of eight new enterprises to be consolidated under Hyperledger. The recruits also include Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel), a Russian metal company; Gloscad, a Polish tech company developing solutions for the agriculture industry; and Milligan Partners, a U.S.-based consulting firm focused on tech solutions for supply-chain management.

    These member companies will pay dues based on their respective sizes to Hyperledger, an umbrella project for various business blockchains run by the Linux Foundation, and will build applications using the technology.

    Microsoft has been increasingly inclined towards the blockchain space, and have been pushing the boundaries with their offerings by associating with the Coco framework or by offering services like Azure to the community. Infact Microsoft has also been involved with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as well as the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF). Marley Gray, principal architect for blockchain engineering at Microsoft, said in the press release,

    “Our journey in the blockchain ecosystem has brought us a long way, and now is the time for us to join the Hyperledger community.”

    In comparison, Salesforce is new to the blockchain world. It recently accounted its own Salesforce Blockchain which is built on Hypeledger Sawtooth Platform. Salesforce’s entry into the blockchain market recently came when they announced their Salesforce Blockchain, interestingly built on the Hyperledger Sawtooth platform.

    They announced in April that they had joined the Blockchain Research Institute (BRI), the global blockchain think tank with participants like Microsoft, IBM, the Bank of Canada, PepsiCo, Raiffeisen Bank, Polymath, and others. The reason why Hyperledger is growing into such blockchain is the dual nature of its benefits. Companies coming aboard are required to pay their dues and contribute to the advancement of the technology – which is reaching new heights in terms of use cases. Hyperledger has turned into a dominant force in the blockchain sector. In being a part of this consortium, the enterprises are on top of all the aspects of the overall development of the sector.

    Rishma Banerjee

    Rishma is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and has a special place in her life for sifting through all sorts of random trivia, thank you very much.

    Software Giants Microsoft and Salesforce Flock To Hyperledger Blockchain Consortium

    Pedestrians pass in front of the Salesforce Tower in New York, U.S. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

    © 2019 Bloomberg Finance LP

    Hyperledger, from the Linux Foundation, is gathering more steam after welcoming two of the world’s largest top-10 enterprise software companies by revenue to the blockchain consortium.

    This week it was announced that eight new large enterprises would be cementing their blockchain journey by joining Hyperledger. Other than Microsoft and Salesforce, both already heavily invested in blockchain, the intake included a U.S.-based supply chain consulting firm, a Russian metal company, and a Polish tech company, among others.

    It is an important announcement as it demonstrates the growing snowball effect from enterprises and their interest in blockchain. Hyperledger is an open source collaborative project created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies. It is boosting not only its members but improving the technology too.

    More than a passing interest

    Microsoft is no stranger to the blockchain space, and have been pushing the boundaries with their offerings, such as the Coco framework, which is an open-source system that enables high-scale, confidential blockchain networks that meet all essential enterprise requirements.

    Moreover, on Azure, a cloud computing service from Microsoft, the software giant offers a blockchain workbench to help create and deploy blockchain applications for businesses.

    Hyperledger is not even the first consortium they have joined. The company is looking into developing a decentralized identity system on the blockchain and is involved with the standard-setting organization the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as well as the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF)

    However, by joining they Hyperledger consortium, Microsoft is taking more significant steps into an ecosystem that is starting to go beyond just face-value experimenting.

    “Our relations with Microsoft and Salesforce go back a year, so it’s a nice culmination of it,” Hyperledger executive director Brian Behlendorf told CoinDesk. “Now it’s not an academic interest from their side anymore, it’s something they want to take part in.”

    “Our journey in the blockchain ecosystem has brought us a long way, and now is the time for us to join the Hyperledger community,” Marley Gray, principal architect for blockchain engineering at Microsoft, added in a press release.

    Next step for Salesforce

    Salesforce is also a big name in software, focusing in on cloud computing service as a software (SaaS) and specializing in customer relationship management (CRM). It is also another major enterprise that has not missed the blockchain boat either.

    Salesforce’s entry into the blockchain market recently came when they announced their Salesforce Blockchain, interestingly built on the Hyperledger Sawtooth platform. Their offering boasts three clients that are testing the product. They include data research company IQVIA, the rating agency S&P Global, as well as Arizona State University.

    Salesforce is also already taking part in blockchain-advancing projects. They announced in April that they had joined the Blockchain Research Institute (BRI), the global blockchain think tank with participants like Microsoft, IBM, the Bank of Canada, PepsiCo, Raiffeisen Bank, Polymath, and others.

    Importance of Hyperledger

    The reason why Hyperledger is growing into such blockchain behemoth is the dual nature of its benefits. Companies coming aboard are required to pay their dues and contribute to the advancement of the technology – which is reaching new heights in terms of use cases.

    In being a part of this consortium, the enterprises are then also in the driving seat of the usage of the technology, profiting from its development and deployment, all the while shaping its direction.

    Forbes Special Offer: Be among the first to get important crypto and blockchain news and information with Forbes Crypto Confidential. It’s free, sign up now.

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