“Anyone who needs a modular cryptographic library for blockchain might find Hyperledger Ursa …

“Modularity will be the natural evolution of DLT platforms”

JAXenter: What is Hyperledger Ursa and why was it created? What is its endgame?

Hart Montgomery: Hyperledger Ursa is a modular, flexible cryptography library that is intended for—but not limited to—use by other projects in Hyperledger. Ursa’s objective is to make it much safer and easier for our distributed ledger projects to use existing, time-tested and trusted cryptographic libraries but also new cryptographic implementations being developed.

It was created because we realized that it would save us effort and improve security if we collaborated on our cryptographic code. Its endgame is just to be a secure, modular cryptographic library that supports most of the common cryptographic needs for permissioned blockchains in an interoperable way.

    Blockchain Whitepaper 2018

    Free: Blockchain Technology Whitepaper

    If building a blockchain from scratch is beyond your current scope, the blockchain technology whitepaper is worth a look. Experts from the field share their know-how, tips and tricks, development advice, and strategy for becoming a blockchain master.

JAXenter: Who should use it? What are the uses cases for Hyperledger Ursa?

Hart Montgomery: We designed Ursa to be used by the other Hyperledger projects. However, anyone who needs a modular cryptographic library for blockchain might find Ursa useful.

JAXenter: What are its biggest benefits? Why should developers use it?

Hart Montgomery: The biggest benefits (for us) are due to the fact that Ursa concentrates cryptographic and security expertise in Hyperledger in one place. This means that we have more eyes on our algorithms and implementations and thus are likely to make fewer security mistakes. Developers may want to use Ursa due to its modular structure: changing cryptographic schemes or protocols should be much easier than when using traditional libraries.

Developers may want to use Ursa due to its modular structure: changing cryptographic schemes or protocols should be much easier than when using traditional libraries.

JAXenter: Ursa will be written mostly in Rust but will have interfaces in all of the different languages that are commonly used throughout Hyperledger. What languages are we talking about?

Hart Montgomery: In the near term, we are talking about Go, Python, and Java. In the longer term, it’s not entirely clear. We will support what the community uses.

JAXenter: Hyperledger Ursa has two modules. Could you explain what they are all about?

Hart Montgomery: The first module involves basic cryptography wrapped in a modular way. In this module, we incorporate standard libraries and implementations. The goal is to allow developers to use standard cryptography in a “plug and play” manner.

The second module, which we named zmix, contains more complicated, novel, and less standard cryptography related to “smart” signature protocols (i.e., threshold signatures) and zero knowledge-related cryptographic protocols. These algorithms have become popular in blockchain applications recently and other Hyperledger projects have been interested in solid implementations.

JAXenter: Hyperledger Ursa seems to be the first common component/module and a step towards modular DLT platforms, which share common components. What do modular DLT platforms consist of? Are they the natural evolution of DLT platforms?

Hart Montgomery: Great observation! For many of us, the long-term vision for Hyperledger is indeed modular DLT platforms that are built from shared, common components. Modular DLT platforms consist of exactly the same things that regular DLT platforms do, with the difference that it is easy to swap out components in a modular DLT.

Examples of modular components certainly include, but are not limited to, cryptographic algorithms, consensus protocols, data storage mechanisms (database type), identity management systems, chaincode/smart contract interpreters, and much more. Since there will likely be no single DLT configuration that works for all (or even many) blockchain applications, we think that modularity will be the natural evolution of DLT platforms.

SEE ALSO: “Hyperledger Fabric is now more accessible to developers who have already started working with Ethereum & its associated tools”

JAXenter: What should we expect from Hyperledger Ursa in the future? What are the plans for 2019?

Hart Montgomery: In the near term, we hope to get Ursa up and running to the point that Hyperledger Indy will use it. We expect this to be done relatively soon as the code base is relatively consistent with Indy’s current crypto library. Over the next year, we hope to incorporate the features that the other Hyperledger DLT projects need in order to use Ursa for their cryptography, probably starting with Hyperledger Sawtooth. In addition, we plan to add more new zero knowledge-focused protocols to zmix in the next year as well.

Thank you!



  • No Related Posts

Hyperledger Ursa to add resources to existing cryptographic library

Hyperledger has announced a new project dubbed Hyperledger Ursa. The new project seeks to build a cryptographic library to help the developers on working on various projects in Hyperledger. The project’s primary motive is to simplify the use of existing cryptographic libraries while setting up new “sophisticated” implementations for these libraries.

Ursa intends to add modular signatures and symmetric-key primitives to the existing library “so blockchain developers can choose and modify their cryptographic schemes with a simple configuration file change”. The project will also introduce “fancier cryptography” to include pairing-based signatures, threshold signatures, and aggregate signatures. The project will also integrate zero-knowledge primitives like SNARKs.

“Rather than have each project implement its own cryptographic protocols, it is much better to collaborate on a shared library,” read the Hyperledger blog. The library will help avoid the duplication of crypto implementations. They will also add to the security implications of an individual project as the crypto codes will be held within one consolidated library. Since experts have reviewed all the crypto codes on the library, there is no wasting time on analyzing the crypto portion of the ledger. The library also contributes to interoperability as it can help two projects utilize the same resources.

“It is easier for new projects to get off the ground if they have easy access to well-implemented, modular cryptographic abstractions,” according to the blog.

Currently, Ursa has two different modules. The first module or the “base crypto library” will contain basic cryptographic algorithms and the second library will focus on smart signatures zero knowledge primitives called zmix. “The goal of zmix is to provide a single flexible and secure implementation to construct such zero-knowledge proofs,” said the blog.

Hyperledger doesn’t intend to limit the project’s utility to just Hyperledger projects. Hyperledger is known to host a variety of other commercial and institutional projects on their platform. It is an open source platform for developers to create their own blockchain frameworks. Numerous companies including TenneT energy community and London Stock Exchange group makes use of the Hyperledger fabric.

Image via Shutterstock


  • No Related Posts

Hyperledger Welcomes 6 New Organizations With State Farm Insurance And EEA Headlining

Hyperledger Welcomes 6 New Organizations With State Farm Insurance And EEA Headlining

Hyperledger Introduces Six New Members to Group

Hyperledger has welcomed six new organizations to its growing community. Hyperledger is an open source collaboration that seeks to foster cross-industry blockchain technologies. At the core of hyper ledger’s agenda is a balance of blue-chip, entrepreneurial and technology-driven organization. The newest members CENCON BLOCKCHAIN GROUP, State Farm Insurance and Vered Information Technology represent what is at Hyperledger’s Core.

Hyperledger is a fast growing community with ten business blockchain and distributed ledger communities. Many contributors continue to work hard to develop, maintain the code and for frameworks and tools. These contributors also ensure that they provide governance and organization resources. It is this dedicated work that has produced thousands of code contributions thus increasing the millions of lines of code and leading to the development of Hyperledger Fabric 1.3.

Hyperledger’s Executive Director Brian Behlendorf spoke confidently about the new members noting that they will add energy and diversity to the community which will help the blockchain industry to adapt quickly to every part of the world. Behlendorf notes that it is this growing and diverse community that strengthens Hyperledger and this was evident during the preparation of the first Hyperledger Global Forum. He recognizes that it is these diverse and active communities that energize the growth of Hyperledger.

Hyperledger is very instrumental to organizations. It enables organizations to create powerful applications that are industry specific. It also creates platforms and hardware systems that support individual business transactions. This is enabled by creating enterprise grade and open source distributed ledger frameworks and code bases.

Hyperledger reinforces an open community that treasures contributions and involvement of diverse entities. This has enabled various entities to join hyperledger very easily. Entities such as pre-approved non-profits, open-source projects and government entities can now join the hyperledger community without paying any cost. These entities who join under such terms are referred to as associate members. There are many associate members currently joining hyperledger. They include CPqD, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) and Information Technologies Institute which is a member of the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas. (CERTH).

The newest members are very excited about this new venture. The Founder and CEO of CENCON BLOCKCHAIN GROUP Jacky XU are optimistic that joining hyperledger will power CENCON to attain its vision and mission through CENCON One Touch BlockChain System and the CENCON New Trust Business Ecosystem. Jacky XU acknowledges that as a chainist and innovator in Blockchain, CENCON will profit from its collaboration with HyperLedger and the Linux Foundation community. This joint venture will also help them work better with their target customers who are entity entrepreneurs with high values of the brand, credit and fixed assets.

It is a strategic alignment for State Farm Innovation as reported by their Executive Director Mike Field. He states that State Farm initiatives are geared toward shaping blockchain innovations. State Farm acknowledges that the financial sector is headed towards blockchain technology. The company’s decision to join the hyperledger community is to help it learn and understand what blockchain technology can do for its organizations and customers.

Hyperledger has exhibited itself as a multi-project that has gained its success through collaboration with diverse and active communities.

Hyperledger blockchain project welcomes six new members

Enterprise blockchain project Hyperledger has announced that six more organizations have joined its community.

The latest general members include CENCON BLOCKCHAIN GROUP, State Farm Insurance and Vered Information Technology.

Recently, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), a consortium driving the adoption of Enterprise Ethereum, and Hyperledger announced that they have joined each other’s organizations as associate members. Other associate members joining Hyperledger this month include CPqD and Information Technologies Institute, a member of Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH).

Hyperledger is going to hold the inaugural 2018 Hyperledger Global Forum on December 12-15 in Basel, Switzerland at the Congress Center Basel.

“Our growing, diverse and active community is what powers Hyperledger,” said Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director, Hyperledger. “Preparing for the first Hyperledger Global Forum has really brought the scope and scale of all this community has accomplished into focus. Everything from the advances to the core technology to the diverse use cases and the increasing success stories to community-led training and collaboration underscore Hyperledger’s growing momentum. The latest members bring even more energy and diversity to the table, helping advance enterprise blockchain adoption worldwide.”

Hosted by The Linux Foundation, Hyperledger enables organizations to build robust, industry-specific applications, platforms and hardware systems to support their individual business transactions by creating enterprise-grade, open source distributed ledger frameworks and code bases. The multi-project, multi-stakeholder effort includes 10 business blockchain and distributed ledger technologies.


The State of Hyperledger with Brian Behlendorf

Get the latest on Hyperledger from Brian Behlendorf.

Brian Behlendorf has been heading the Hyperledger project since the early days. We sat down with him at Open Source Summit to get an update on the Hyperledger project.

Hyperledger has grown in a way that mirrors the growth of the blockchain industry. “When we started, all the excitement was around bitcoin,” said Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director of Hyperledger. Initially, it was more about moving money around. But the industry started to go beyond that and started to see if it “could be used as a way to reestablish how trust works on the Internet and, and try to decentralize a lot of things that today with led to being centralized.”

“It might be OK for things like social networks or ride-sharing services to be centralized, but if you are talking about the banking or supply chain, you may not want that to be centralized,” said Behlendorf.

As the industry has evolved around blockchain so did Hyperledger. “We realized pretty early that we needed to be a home for a lot of different ways to build a blockchain. It wasn’t going to be like the Linux kernel project with one singular architecture,” said Behlendorf.

Hyperledger projects

It was going to be more than just one architecture. Today, Hyperledger has 10 different technology projects. Five of those are called frameworks. Two of those frameworks are now production quality, including Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Sawtooth.

“These two frameworks now drive about 40 production networks that we see out there and about 60 different vendors, hosts, and other companies building on top of it,” said Behlendorf. “One way we have grown is by growing the commercial ecosystem around this code.”

Hyperledger has created software stacks that organizations like banks run to participate in a blockchain project and a distributed ledger with several of other organizations with whom they want to do business.

Global growth

One region where Hyperledger is witnessing incredible interest is mainland China. “The Chinese government has actually said this is a top-level priority for them, to figure out how to make distributed ledgers work,” said Behlendorf. “About 20 percent of our members come from Chinese companies like Baidu, Tencent, and Huawei. These companies are actually contributing code, which is great to see.”

As the adoption of Hyperledger projects is growing, the organization is also working on creating training and education courses in partnership with edX to meet this growing demand. Hyperledger also has a technical working group focused on communicating in Chinese with developers who are there to help them get involved with the project.

Hyperledger aims to be a global initiative. “There are a few Silicon Valley companies involved, but it’s New York. It’s London. It’s Singapore. It’s incredibly broad,” said Behlendorf. “That’s been really reassuring because open source is a global phenomenon and really should be about kind of uplifting all regions. So it’s been a great journey.”

Learn more in the video below:

Swapnil Bhartiya

Swapnil Bhartiya

Swapnil Bhartiya is a journalist and writer who has been covering Linux and Open Source for more than 10 years.
Swapnil Bhartiya

Latest posts by Swapnil Bhartiya (see all)