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I always say that enterprise blockchain is a team sport. And I’m often asked, “Jerry, what does that mean?” Blockchain is a technology that draws its strength and stability from the team — or in this context — the group or consortium of organizations working towards a common goal. Not coincidentally, open source — one of the key attributes of enterprise blockchain — has the capacity to deliver rapid innovation through the teamwork of a diverse group of collaborators.
So, in both blockchain and open source, the power of the group is foundational to success. And why not? We’ve all learned through our experiences over time that a group working together often produces a better outcome than individual members working by themselves. This especially rings true through the breakthroughs and successful results we have seen since The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric incubation in 2016, highlighted by Hyperledger’s recent claim that Hyperledger Fabric is now available on all major clouds and the first major blockchain technology to reach a version 2 milestone.
Let’s explore how open source and the combination of individual strengths are driving innovation in enterprise blockchain.
Open source drives innovation
Hyperledger Fabric is an open source, enterprise blockchain framework, which provides a foundation for developing applications and solutions with a modular architecture that enables components, such as consensus and membership services, to be plug-and-play. This innovative technology is fueled by 17,561 unique developers working on Hyperledger Fabric, as reported by Chainstack, and includes many industry contributors. This is more than any other enterprise blockchain project on GitHub.
As a result, a variety of compatible technologies have and are being developed to serve these developers, giving Fabric the flexibility and integrative capabilities needed for the enterprise. Let’s take a look at a few examples:
- Intel is using modern hardware privacy technologies to bring Intel® Software Guard Extensions (Intel® SGX) as a way to execute smart contacts in Hyperledger Fabric with increased security. One way is through Fabric Private Chaincode which leverages Intel SGX to enable a new model of Trust for Blockchain Smart Contracts with added privacy.
- The University of Waterloo recently published a FastFabric paper that showed the restructuring of Fabric technology to achieve 20,000 transactions per second for a particular use case.
- The Hyperledger Burrow project developed their Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) so that you can deploy Ethereum smart contracts on Hyperledger Fabric.
- Hyperledger Avalon utilizes Intel SGX to help extend computational trust from Hyperledger Fabric to off-chain execution assets enabling acceleration of complex workloads, multiparty computation, and integration of legacy applications.
- The Intel® Select Solutions for Blockchain Hyperledger Fabric allows sectors to lower their time-to-market for blockchain services and capitalize on the different opportunities beginning to emerge.
- Digital Asset and HACERA made it possible for smart contracts written in DAML to run on the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain framework.
Combining individual strengths
What makes a group so powerful is the combination and diversification of individual strengths. The parallel efforts of IBM, Red Hat, Intel and Hyperledger community members are coming together to optimize open source and blockchain technologies for enterprise usage. For example, Hyperledger Fabric combined with Kubernetes is better, faster and more secure via the commercial offerings of the IBM Blockchain Platform, OpenShift and Intel SGX. This approach is providing a powerful combination for anyone wanting to keep a copy of the ledger on public or private infrastructure, meet data residency requirements, and satisfy diverse consortium needs.
Here are some examples of how individual strengths are being combined to achieve and deliver powerful open source capabilities:
- Achievement: Red Hat was the first company to deliver Kubernetes for the enterprise with their commercial offering, OpenShift.
- Result: A commercial-grade Kubernetes enabling enterprises to deliver the promise of hybrid cloud and multicloud deployments.
- Achievement: Hyperledger Fabric was originally contributed to The Linux foundation by IBM and Digital Asset — the commercial offering is IBM Blockchain Platform.
- Result: The first, enterprise-grade Fabric with a full lifecycle of advanced tools for building, operating, governing, and deployment capabilities for Fabric across enterprises.
- Achievement: Intel worked with IBM to enable Intel SGX for delivering data privacy for Fabric. Intel SGX helps protect data in-use by encrypting areas of execution in memory.
- Result: Enhanced protections for data independent of the operating system.
- Achievement: IBM Cloud was an early adopter of Intel SGX with IBM Cloud Data Shield.
- Result: Users can run containerized applications in an encrypted enclave.
- Achievement: IBM and Intel’s collaboration demonstrated significant performance improvements for Version 2 of the Intel® Select Solution for Blockchain Hyperledger Fabric.
- Result: Bringing everything together with a prescriptive guide on how to enable open source, securely optimized, to run on ANY public or private cloud.
“Intel SGX can help improve blockchain data privacy in Hyperledger Fabric by encrypting the ledger which helps validate that only authorized parties can see the transactions on the network. IBM’s commitment to working with Intel to deliver customers world-class performance and security is the perfect example of how deep collaboration benefits the larger industry,” says Lisa Davis, Vice President, Data Platform Group at Intel.
These individual strengths and contributions to the group is where magic happens. Today, all of these technologies are working together to deliver optimized and hardened open source blockchain the is enterprise ready.
Jerry’s satisfaction guarantee
As we begin 2020, I want to leave you with a personal guarantee that illustrates my confidence in the power of the group in open source blockchain — if you are not satisfied that we delivered the best of open source through our enterprise-ready IBM Blockchain Platform, then we will move you to one of the industries other Fabric-based platforms of your choice. We can make this powerful guarantee because our advanced tooling — IBM Blockchain Platform — works above and beyond Hyperledger Fabric but does not modify Fabric at all. It generates 100 percent compatible Hyperledger Fabric artifacts.
So again, blockchain is a team sport. As I like to say, when the team works together it provides a better outcome. That’s the premise of open source driving innovation and freedom of action. And that’s happening today around Hyperledger Fabric with IBM, Intel, Red Hat and the Fabric community. So, come on folks, jump in — the pool is a perfect temperature. We would love to work with you as well.