What is Hyper-ledger?
Hyperledger isn’t a tool or a platform; it’s the project itself. Often, it’s referred to as the umbrella. Hosted by the Linux Foundation, Hyperledger now has more than 270 members. Various industries are represented, including aeronautics, finance, healthcare, BFSI / NBFCs, supply chain, manufacturing and technology. It was announced and formally named in December 2015 by 17 companies in a collaborative effort created to advance blockchain technology for cross-industry use in business.
Hyperledger Fabric is one of the many opensource Hyperledger frameworks, and a permissioned blockchain infrastructure, providing a modular architecture with a delineation of roles between the nodes in the infrastructure (read, Fabric) execution of “chain code" and configurable consensus and membership services.
A Fabric Network comprises "Peer nodes", which execute chain code, access ledger data, endorse transactions and interface with applications.
"Orderer nodes" which ensure the consistency of the blockchain and deliver the endorsed transactions to the peers of the network, and MSP services, implemented as a Certificate Authority, managing certificates which are used to authenticate member identity and roles.
Fabric is primarily aimed at integration projects, in which a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is required, offering no user facing services other than an SDK for Node.js, Java, Go and other languages such as Java by installing appropriate modules.
Hyperledger was initially seeded with various blockchain-supporting commercial members, some of whom had interesting internal or nascent open source efforts that needed the kind of home that The Linux Foundation could provide. They saw a need within the enterprise market for a flat, distributed, multi-party database ledger and Smart Contract system separate from cryptocurrencies, and through open source collaboration began building blockchain technology building blocks to enable these types of systems.
Quick insight into Blockchain types, Distributed Ledgers and Smart Contracts etc
Blockchains can be used to record promises, trades, transactions or simply items we never want to disappear. Mirrored exactly across all nodes in a given network, it allows everyone in an ecosystem to keep a copy of the common system of record. Nothing can ever be erased or edited.
If you’ve heard people talking about Blockchain in a general sense, they were talking about a permissionless Blockchain. This model is what general public are familiar with because the most famous Blockchain projects (Bitcoin and Ethereum) are permissionless Blockchains – meaning that anybody can create an address and begin interacting with the network. The characteristics of a permissionless Blockchain include decentralized, anonymous and equally accessible to anyone with a computer.
the permissioned Blockchain is a closed and monitored ecosystem where the access of each participant is well defined and differentiated based on role. They are purpose built, establishing rules for transaction that align with the needs of an organization or a consortium of organizations. The permissioned Blockchain leverages some of the other core elements of Blockchain architecture such as immutability, ability to grant granular permissions, automated data synchronization, rigorous privacy and security capabilities,process automation etc to create efficiencies, reduce cost, and open up opportunities for new data-driven business models.
A distributed ledger is a multi-party database with no central trusted authority. The differentiating nuance is that when transactions are processed in blocks according to the ordering of a blockchain, the result is a distributed ledger.
A hash-based data structure is essential to know that each entry in the ledger is in a certain order and is cryptographically connected to the prior entries. The exact order of those entries is transparent and verifiable by all the participants, safeguarding the entries from manipulation or dispute.
Building one layer above distributed ledger technologies, you have smart contracts. Since distributed databases allow for multiparty, shared database use, distributed ledgers can be equipped with multi-party business logic, which is more commonly referred to as ‘smart contracts. These are a way to publish scripts and write programs in a language particular to a given chain, have them live on the shared network, and be able to execute on all those different nodes simultaneously. Read more about Blockchains here..
Modern technology has taken this process from stone tablets and paper folders to hard drives and cloud platforms, but the underlying structure is the same. Unified systems for managing the identity of network participants do not exist, establishing provenance is so laborious it takes days to clear securities transactions (the world volume of which is numbered in the many trillions of dollars), contracts must be signed and executed manually, and every database in the system contains unique information and therefore represents a single point of failure. What if, instead of the rat’s nest of inefficiencies represented by the “modern” system of transactions, business networks had standard methods for establishing identity on the network, executing transactions, and storing data? What if establishing the provenance of an asset could be determined by looking through a list of transactions that, once written, cannot be changed, and can therefore be trusted?
With the ability to coordinate their business network through a shared ledger, blockchain technology, a Hyperledger can reduce the time, cost, and risk associated with private information and processing while improving trust and visibility.
Hyperledger is a framework for permissioned blockchain networks, where all participants have known identities this helps establish trust and confidence which is limited in generic blockchain deployments. When considering a permissioned network, this supports data privacy and helps comply with data protection regulations. Many use cases in the BFSI, Healthcare etc. are subject to data protection statutes and follow compliance under CIA framework (refer ISO27001) that require knowing who the members of the network are and who is accessing specific data and authorization / access control thereof.
Hyperledger Fabric supports distributed ledger solutions on permissioned networks for a wide range of industries. Its modular architecture (refer reference architecture) maximizes the confidentiality, resilience, and flexibility of blockchain solutions.
What is Consensus?
Consensus is a method for validating the order of requests, or transactions (deploy and invoke), on a blockchain network that is part of Hyperledger. The ordering of transactions is critical, because many transactions have a dependency on one or more prior transactions (account debits often have a dependency on prior credits, for example) and must follow right ordering sequence to ensure consistency and remove false positives.
The Consensus network is in the Hexagon containing the Validating nodes & Non-validating nodes. Each operation only needs to be sent into the network once where it is then distributed around the network. The items being inputted into the network are abound the edge, Smart Contracts, Applications and configurations by a Blockchain Operator.
What are the different projects under Hyperledger?
The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger project, which is focused on open source blockchain technology, divides its work into five sub projects each represent new sub project driving unique use cases that “represent different thinking.” The first five projects are: Fabric, Sawtooth, Indy, Burrow, and Iroha. We will discuss Fabric in detail below while we can get a quick overview of all five sub-projects.
Finally, the Iroha project is a bit of an outlier within Hyperledger. It originated with some developers in Japan who had built their own blockchain technology for a couple of mobile use cases. It’s implemented in C++ which can be more high performance for small data and focused use cases.
All of the platforms have different approaches and being tested in the marketplace of ideas and implemetability along with emphasis on interoperability. It will be interesting to see how distinct blockchain implementations tie up the transactions on that network with a completely different network. As such use cases mature, we can see the evolution features
which are most important or less important and see consolidation for seamless technologies and techniques.
How it works?
The Hyperledger Fabric architecture delivers the four key advantages, namely ..
Salient features of Hyperledger Fabric ..
BankChain – the use case
BankChain is a platform for banks for implementing blockchain software. BankChain was announced on 8 February 2017 by State Bank of India along with other member banks such as members include State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, DCB Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Federal Bank, Deutsch Bank and UAE Exchange. As on February 2017, BankChain has over 35 members and 10 live projects. All members get access to the node / source code of all BankChain projects, respective training material, dedicated private test blockchain, special invites to the annual conferences and invitations to exclusive events and technical training programs etc.
The primary purpose of the proposed BankChain is to facilitate information sharing among the banking institutions that are part of the network. It is expected to help the organizations tackle frauds while streamlining the lending process. The initial application of BankChain will involve trade finance sector, preventing businesses from presenting merchant discounts bills showing the same invoice to multiple banks.doctors, patients, and insurance companies, could be part of the overall blockchain, reducing fraud in healthcare payments.
The active projects for 2017 include Shared KYC / AML, Syndication of loans / consortium lending, Trade finance, Asset registry & asset re-hypothecation, Secure documents, Cross border payments, Peer-to-peer payments, Blockchain Security Controls.
With such wide-ranging possibilities, there is no surprise that blockchain has the potential to enhance the quality of service delivery while improving confidentiality and integrity of data. With its promise of providing secure and transparent transactions, blockchain seems poised to be one of the digital world’s key pillars and hyperedges such as Fabric drive the adaptation ensuring governance and compliance as additional benefits.
The real challenge will be to try and underpin all these nuances with common code. The Blockchain community is well aware of the fact that without interoperability standards it will be difficult for any platforms to truly gain traction within established domains. The rapid establishment of multiple consortiums to examine governance and standards in Blockchain development are evidence of the fact that efforts towards this goal are underway and we have several wins across the board. The fact of the matter is a choice between our aspirations for decentralized connectivity and enterprise efficiency, to say so!