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Maya Kanehara, Managing Director, Self-Sovereign Identity Incubator

Why SSI Incubator: An inside look at the program and startups

By 网志, Hyperledger Aries, Hyperledger Indy, Hyperledger Ursa

The identity community at Hyperledger is lucky to see the groundbreaking toolboxes, libraries, and resources grow by leaps and bounds in just a very short time. From Hyperledger Indy, then Hyperledger Ursa, to the new project Hyperledger Aries, widespread adoption of decentralized identity is closer than ever. It was this excitement and optimism for the growing industry of identity products and solutions being born out of this community from which the Self-Sovereign Identity Incubator (SSI Incubator) was launched. By combining the expert mentors from all over the decentralized identity world with some of the most passionate innovators in the identity startup scene today, the Hyperledger identity community is poised to see growth that we’ve all been waiting for.

The SSI Incubator is designed to remove barriers to startup financing and success within the self-sovereign identity (SSI) industry. More than just seed funding and high-profile pitching opportunities, participating startups also receive co-working space, educational workshops, mentorship, and networking events with some of the most influential voices in the decentralized identity community today. The startups in this program are nearing the end of this time-limited and mentor-focused program, with the 12 weeks culminating in a final evening devoted to exploring the future of SSI.

The five startup projects are:

  • Domi (Berlin): Digital passports for landlords and tenants that would create a fairer rental market.
  • HearRo (Los Angeles): A blockchain-powered phone system for trusted, effortless communication
  • MetaDigital Inc (Toronto): An Intelligent Healthcare Platform that would eliminate medical prescription and insurance claim fraud with real-time digital verification.
  • Spaceman ID Inc (Chicago): Tools for companies to easily implement private, secure, and portable digital credentials.
  • Xertify (Bogotá, CO): A network where people and institutions can exchange trusted information based on blockchain technology.

“The Hyperledger identity community holds the secret to growing the use and interoperability of SSI. The SSI Incubator has shined a light on the breadth of organizations of all types and sizes that see the value of decentralized identity,” said Heather C. Dahl, CEO & Executive Director of the Sovrin Foundation. “The mix of SSI solutions and startups focused on healthcare, enterprise adoption, the home rental market, telecommunications, and education joined us from around the world shows the widespread interest and development in self-sovereign identity technologies. This range of diverse solutions is what is driving SSI adoption.”

The SSI Incubator is a joint venture between the Sovrin Foundation and investment firm Hard Yaka. Join the SSI Incubator and startups for the culmination of their work by registering for their final event of the year.

Decentralization in Telecom – How Hyperledger Fabric Can Optimize and Simplify The Inter-carrier Settlement Process

By 网志, Hyperledger Fabric, Special Interest Group

Telecom network operators worldwide open their networks to each other to enable their mutual customers to communicate across network boundaries. This practice, known as “Interconnect,” is being used among national and international operators for fixed, mobile, and Internet services.  Network operators cross-charge each other for the interconnect services they offer each other’s customers. It is done through invoicing/billing and settlements. 

Network operators collect and store detailed information in a record known as Call Detail Record (CDR) about every call ever attempted, whether completed or not. A typical CDR captures data such as calling and called party phone numbers, duration of the call, the timestamp for each activity, the ID of the equipment that handled the call, the result of the call, and so on.  Interconnect partners share CDRs for the purpose of “verifying” cross charges and settling balances. This verification process is cumbersome, inefficient, lengthy, costly, and error-prone. Missing CDRs and discrepancies in CDRs are very common problems. 

Due to the large number of network operators globally and the many-to-many relationships amongst them, the complexity and amount of cross charging and settlements data is exponential and very error-prone, causing Interconnect operations to be expensive. Typically, wholesale interconnect contributes to almost 30-40% of overall traditional telecom business for a telco, but with the declining margins, it has become essential to address the blocked revenue due to disputes and to optimize the overall cost involved in resolving these discrepancies.

To illustrate how the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger blockchain projects can be leveraged to help Telecom operators solve the Inter-Carrier Settlement problem, the Hyperledger Telecom SIG formed a subgroup for the purpose of understanding the problem from a business and technical perspective, proposing a Solution Brief, and developed a Proof of Concept (PoC).  

Even though the main focus of the PoC is to provide a technical solution that simplifies and streamlines the settlement process, we believe the solution’s real value is in its potential to reduce the overall settlement process cost for all ecosystem participants.  Cost reduction would be attributed to two main factors, friction reduction and shortening the time cash is held inside the system.  

A POC has been created as a Hyperledger Lab project to identify the potential transactions to be considered in the ICS smart contract. This is an open source effort and anyone is welcome to contribute.

The proposed solution broadly addresses how a DLT-based solution can:

  1. Create a single source of truth, which allows network operators to access and verify billing and cross-charging data in real-time.
  2. Reduce overall costs by replacing tedious processes, reducing dependency on intermediaries such as clearinghouses with simple, near real-time and error-free reconciliation and settlement process.
  3. Help in fraud detection and prevention.

The  Hyperledger Telecom SIG Inter-Carrier Settlement subgroup is successful in defining a solution based on Hyperledger Fabric as well as developing a working PoC which is available for demonstration for those who are interested.  The subgroup has also written a solution brief on how Blockchain-based solution could be used to simplify and expedite the Interconnect’s cross-charging and billing data-verification process. 

On the technical side, the solution brief covers the typical deployment architecture designed using Hyperledger Fabric for a Telecom Consortium. The whole idea is to bring multi Organization and multi-channel flavor supported by orchestration services to enable consensus between the collaborating parties for reconciliation.  

The solution brief serves as good educational material for explaining the Wholesale Interconnect problem from logistical and business perspective. It also explains the technical solution at a high level. 

The Telecom Special Interest Group is committed to collaborating with Telecom Operators, Researchers and Technical Organizations to evolve the Proof of Concept to a Production grade solution. The Telecom SIG team is also working with other Hyperledger groups to integrate solutions that can add value to the Intercarrier Settlement, which will eventually benefit the Telecom Operators.  If you are interested in this, join the group’s mailing list and regular calls and take part in the work of the group.

Below is the list of companies and research institutes in alphabetical order who have contributed to the Intercarrier Settlement Solution brief.

Organization NameURL
CONNECT Centrewww.connectcentre.ie
Delhi Universitywww.du.ac.in
IBMwww.ibm.com
Ledger Academywww.ledgeracademy.com
National Informatics Centerhttps://www.nic.in/
Pacioli Consultingwww.pacioli.us
Subex Ltd.www.subex.com

Hyperledger for Healthcare: How Fabric drives the next-generation pharma supply chain

By 网志, Healthcare, Hyperledger Fabric

Before new medicines can reach the patients that need them, the pharmaceutical and biotech companies that develop them must seek FDA approval. As part of this process, pharmaceutical companies sponsor highly controlled clinical studies in medical centers, called “sites.” The number of active studies has doubled over the last 10 years, and study sites are bursting at the seams. With the rise of personalized medicine and increasingly specialized shipping and storage requirements, this trend can only accelerate.

At LedgerDomain we’ve partnered to tackle this challenge with a broad spectrum of industry leaders, including pharmas, contract manufacturers, research organizations, academic sites, and couriers. At the heart of this effort is the world’s first iOS blockchain app for pharmaceutical supply chain, which we presented last month to the Hyperledger Healthcare Special Interest Group (HC SIG).

Today we’d like to dig beneath the surface of our efforts in this space. We’ll cover some lessons we’ve learned along the way, and how blockchain can speed innovative medicines to the patients who need them. We’ll also give you a sneak peek at a live pilot happening right now, where a blockchain-based solution is being used to deliver lifesaving medicines to real patients.

Why Hyperledger for healthcare?

We chose to join the Linux Foundation and Hyperledger in 2016 after a simple realization – most of our clients and prospects were apprehensive about coin-based models. Hyperledger Fabric represented a different approach to blockchain that aligned with their values at a deeper level. It’s no wonder that the community has come a long way since, emerging as the blockchain platform of choice for global enterprises. 

Coin-based models can serve as a fantastic incentive for participation, but not everyone in every jurisdiction is ready for cryptocurrency. A second factor that sets Hyperledger Fabric apart is its focus on privacy. While everyone is looking for the magic bullet that will enhance track-and-trace capabilities across the drug supply chain, nobody wants to risk leaking patient health records from a public blockchain across the dark web.

The DocuSeal framework

Highly regulated enterprise communities have unique requirements. Much of our work on Hyperledger Fabric has centered on specialized multi-threaded experiences designed for compliance with HIPAA, GDPR, Cal Privacy, and data privacy laws just over the horizon, performing at scale.

With that in mind, we built DocuSeal, a framework designed for blockchain-powered document authentication through an iOS application. With DocuSeal, uploaded documents are sealed in private storage, tied to a unique hash that’s immutably stored on a private blockchain. Documents can be shared with other users or deleted.

DocuSeal makes it possible to verify the authenticity of any document each time it’s accessed. At the same time, the “right to be forgotten” is preserved, as the private storage can be wiped if necessary while the hashes on the blockchain are preserved. To assure real-time performance metrics, we use Selvedge, our enterprise-grade blockchain app server developed in Golang on Hyperledger Fabric. 

We designed the DocuSeal framework so users could be up and running in minutes with simple document storage and sharing – similar to Dropbox – plus serious security and timestamping. But underneath this simple interface, our stakeholders can leverage the power of smart contracts to drive inter-enterprise workflows.

How blockchain can speed innovative medicines to the patients who need them

Testing new medications is an extraordinarily complex process. Right now, over 800 biotechs and pharmas are working with their vendors to supply medicines for over 10,000 clinical studies to tens of thousands of clinical sites. And the number of studies is constantly growing.

While some clinical sites are just a doctor and an assistant, large academic centers aren’t like your neighborhood Walgreens or Boots. They’re massive warehouses with pallets loaded with experimental medications. One of our partners, UCLA, has 700 clinical studies sponsored by 100 different companies. This is a massive undertaking where no single pharma’s proprietary system can predominate, so everyone has fallen back on paper.

With that in mind, in 2017, we joined forces with other industry leaders as part of the Clinical Supply Blockchain Working Group (CSBWG), which includes Pfizer, IQVIA, UPS, Merck, UCLA Health, GSK, Thermo Fisher, and Biogen. Over the course of two years, we built out a pilot on Hyperledger Fabric to address this challenge directly. We named it KitChain

(Want a deeper dive on technical specifications? Check out our white paper!)

Big picture: supply chains and blockchain

KitChain was a major milestone for the supply chain for clinical studies, but meanwhile the stakeholders on the commercial pharmaceutical supply chain were struggling to meet their own challenges. Everyone is looking ahead to 2023, when the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) will come into full effect with sweeping requirements for traceability across the entire pharmaceutical supply chain.

With that in mind, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) came out earlier this year in search of enterprising stakeholders to help them tackle the problem of counterfeit and suspect medicines. 

In response to the FDA’s call for pilots to address this challenge, we partnered with UCLA Health to launch the only pilot of its kind. We’re building and testing a last-mile blockchain-driven solution designed to help deliver lifesaving medications to real patients. This solution features an intuitive iOS client running on our Selvedge app server and smart contracts, all powered by Hyperledger Fabric.

This is a “rubber hits the road” moment for supply blockchain: out of the workshop and into the real world. Our living supply chain solution captures all the transactions – from the loading dock to the patient. It will capture the data needed to develop trends and analytics, and be able to surface risk management issues. But most of all, it’s designed to handle the human element – because in the real world, sometimes things happen you don’t expect. A blockchain system that doesn’t allow for human factors will no longer reflect the ground truth. These are all things we’re working on right now, and we look forward to sharing our findings and connecting with you in Phoenix at Hyperledger Global Forum 2020.

The Hyperledger community has grown and matured over the last three years, and we’re honored to be a part of building the future of blockchain. Delivering our full-stack enterprise-grade solution by ourselves would have been impossible, but by joining Hyperledger and the Linux Foundation, we’ve been able to contribute while standing on the shoulders of giants.

About the Author

Ben Taylor is the CEO of LedgerDomain, founded in 2016 to bring Hyperledger blockchain solutions to enterprise ecosystems, unlocking a world of communal computing and real-time performance. After doing undergraduate and graduate work at MIT, Ben spent a quarter of a century incubating and investing in early-stage technology companies.

Coverage image credit

Hyperledger Unveils Keynotes, Speaker Line-up for Hyperledger Global Forum 2020

By Announcements

Announces Keynote Sessions by Blockchain Revolution Author and World Economic Forum Blockchain Leader for March Event in Phoenix, Arizona

SAN FRANCISCO (November 25, 2019) Hyperledger, an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies, today announced the agenda details for Hyperledger Global Forum 2020, which will take place March 3 – 6 in Phoenix, Arizona. The show is open to any and all who are involved or interested in using, developing or learning more about Hyperledger’s open source, multi-stake holder enterprise blockchain technologies.

More than 1,000 Hyperledger contributors, members, service providers and enterprise end users from around the world will gather for this second Hyperledger Global Forum. The packed four days will include keynote sessions from 

  • Don Tapscott, Co-author, Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies is Changing the World, and Co-founder, Blockchain Research Institute
  • Sheila Warren, Head of Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology, World Economic Forum

“The transformation from an Internet of information to an Internet of value is well underway,” said Don Tapscott, Co-founder, Blockchain Research Institute, and keynote speaker for Hyperledger Global Forum 2020.  “Leaders in enterprise and government who not just embrace this new technological transformation, but lead it, will reap the benefits. However blockchain needs stewardship and forums like this are critical to understanding, partnerships, governance and widespread adoption.”

The agenda will also feature more than 70 sessions, including dozens of breakout sessions plus panels, workshops and a Demo Theater. Topics will range from business talks such as Governing DLT Networks to forward-looking sessions like Building Identity and Credit Solutions for the Developing World Using Hyperledger Technology to technical basics such as Hyperledger Fabric 101. To ensure a compelling content agenda that aligns with top of mind issues for its community, Hyperledger turned the selection process over to an external Program Committee. This community group went through a detailed review process to determine the speaker line-up for Hyperledger Global Forum 2020.

“The inaugural Hyperledger Global Forum in Basel energized our community and helped drive much of the momentum we’ve seen on the development and deployment fronts in 2019,” said Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director, Hyperledger. “Hyperledger Global Forum 2020 will bring even more people together for a deep dive into all things Hyperledger. Thanks to our distinguished keynote speakers and the calibre of the content curated by our hard working Program Committee, we anticipate our event will fully engage both business and technical audiences and further boost the energy and excitement within the Hyperledger community and broader enterprise blockchain market.”

About Hyperledger Global Forum 2020 (#HyperledgerForum)

Hyperledger Global Forum is an opportunity for users and contributors of Hyperledger projects from across the globe to meet, align, plan and hack together in-person. Open to members and non-members alike, attendees will have the chance to talk directly with Hyperledger project maintainers and the Technical Steering Committee, collaborate with other organizations on ideas that will directly impact the future of Hyperledger, and promote their work among the enterprise blockchain community. Hyperledger Global Forum 2020 will be held at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona, from March 3-6, 2020. 

Initial event partners include Accenture (Diamond Sponsor), Digital Assets (Bronze Sponsor), SecureKey (Bronze Sponsor), Blockchain Technology Partners (Startup Sponsor), BlocWatch (Startup Sponsor), Xooa (Startup Sponsor), DTCC (Diversity Scholarship Sponsor), Accord Project (Associate Community Sponsor), Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (Associate Community Sponsor), Sovrin Foundation (Associate Community Sponsor) and Ledger Insights (Media Partner). 

To register, go to: https://events19.linuxfoundation.org/events/hyperledger-global-forum-2020/register/. Early bird registration ends December 18.

About Hyperledger

Hyperledger is an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies. It is a global collaboration including leaders in finance, banking, healthcare, supply chains, manufacturing and technology. Hyperledger hosts many enterprise blockchain technology projects including distributed ledger frameworks, smart contract engines, client libraries, graphical interfaces, utility libraries and sample applications. All Hyperledger code is built publicly and available under the Apache license. The Linux Foundation hosts Hyperledger under the foundation. To learn more, visit: https://www.hyperledger.org/.

Aries Connectathon: A Community-Driven Event for Identity Projects at Hyperledger

By 网志, Events, Hyperledger Aries

With three identity specific projects, Hyperledger is now home to a dynamic and growing community with hundreds of unique contributors and maintainers. The first identity-focused project was Hyperledger Indy first launched in 2018, then Hyperledger Ursa later that year. In early 2019, Hyperledger Aries launched to create a shared, reusable, interoperable tool kit for the exchange of verifiable credentials across systems and networks. We’re now thrilled to announce the Hyperledger Aries community will be meeting December 3-5, 2019 in Provo, Utah, for an in-person connectathon.

The goal of this event is to increase communication, interoperability, and support across the many Aries compatible projects. Like the previous, more informal, connectathon held earlier in 2019, this is a community-led event. Some of the focus will be on certain Aries projects currently in development within the community including, but not limited to: 

  • Aries Cloud Agent – Python, developed by the government of British Columbia
  • Aries Framework DotNet, the Open Source foundation for StreetCred’s mobile app
  • Mattr Global’s Open Source Mobile Agent (OSMA)
  • Aries Framework Go, developed by SecureKey
  • LibVCX based projects, supported by Evernym


The Sovrin Foundation, a leading contributor of Indy, Ursa, and Aries projects, is hosting the Aries Connectathon.

After kicking off with an overview of the key topics at this architecture and design focused event, attendees will focus their work on collaboration across Hyperledger Aries compatible codebases with test suites, tools, and direct interoperable interaction. This includes DID Communication, Verifiable Credential Exchange, DID Exchange, and other protocols targeted for wider adoption. Time spent at this community event will primarily be workshop related, supported with speakers and discussions on relevant topics.

It’s important to note that this is primarily a coding event; however, all contributors, maintainers, and community participants from any project interested in these topics are welcome to attend. Most of the participants at this event will already be active participants in the Hyperledger community and should be ready to hit the ground running. The Aries Connectathon is a great place to roll up your sleeves and get to work!

Hyperledger and Streetcred have already generously offered sponsorship to help cover some of the costs of the three-day event. Many event sponsorships are still available. 

Please see the event wiki to register and find out how to get involved.

Hyperledger Announces Eight New Members, Host of Project Updates

By Announcements

Adds Telefónica, Tech Mahindra, ETC Cooperative and More

SAN FRANCISCO (November 21, 2019) Hyperledger, an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies, announced the latest line-up of new members to join its enterprise blockchain community. Eight new members, including Telefónica, Tech Mahindra and ETC Cooperative, have joined bringing added diversity to the multi-venture, multi-stakeholder effort hosted at the Linux Foundation

Hyperledger recently unveiled a host of project news, including the introduction of Hyperledger Avalon, the release of Hyperledger Sawtooth 1.2 and Sawtooth PBFT 1.0 and updates to Hyperledger Quilt and Hyperledger Burrow. In addition, Hyperledger announced the launch on the Hyperledger Certified Service Provider (HCSP) program along with five initial members. The Hyperledger community also came together in Russia for its first Moscow Bootcamp

“The fourth quarter has been busy on many fronts,” said Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director, Hyperledger. “We’ve hit the 15 project milestone with the introduction of Hyperledger Avalon, and are seeing growing development and traction across our other projects. We have also launched our Hyperledger Certified Service Provider program to boost deployment speed and efficiency for enterprises. Now, this diverse line-up of new members adds even more depth and breadth to our community and momentum to our efforts to advance the state of enterprise blockchain technologies.”

Hyperledger allows organizations to create solid, industry-specific applications, platforms and hardware systems to support their individual business transactions by offering enterprise-grade, open source distributed ledger frameworks and code bases. General members joining the community are BlocWatch, BondEvalue, Ledger Leopard, LimeChain, Telefónica, Tech Mahindra and Vonechain Technology. 

Hyperledger supports an open community that values the contributions and participation from various entities. As such, pre-approved non-profits, open source projects and government entities can join Hyperledger at no cost as associate members. Associate members joining this month include ETC Cooperative.

New member quotes:

BlocWatch

“We are excited and proud to join the Hyperledger community,” said Aaron Klein, Co-Founder & CEO of BlocWatch. “At BlocWatch, we are dedicated to helping enterprise users, and their service providers, adopt and leverage blockchain technology. We provide blockchain users with visibility, monitoring, and automated operational and security alerting to ensure the best possible return on their blockchain investment.”

BondEvalue

“As a blockchain bond exchange that connects with financial institutions, we are delighted to join the Hyperledger community and leverage its powerful permissioned blockchain technology,” said Rajaram Kannan, Co-founder and CTO at BondEvalue. “Our Hyperledger Sawtooth-based system is able to match and settle trades within a few seconds that otherwise take 2-3 days.”

Ledger Leopard

“Ledger Leopard, as a blockchain solution provider, works with multiple solutions to provide the right fit for our customers,” said Jeroen van Megchelen, CTO of Ledger Leopard. “Blockchain brings a set of tools and benefits to work together in a supply chain in a more efficient and trustworthy way. The Hyperledger technologies and community are an example of the decentralized corporation and willingness to think outside the box and create and better business models. Becoming a part of the Hyperledger family and working with the global community is a logical step to bring this to the next level. The paradigm shift of blockchain needs to come from a movement and we are proud to be part of this ecosystem. Together we will create the digital identity to move through optimized supply chains where people have control of their own data, and do tokenized payments, using Hyperledger Indy for identification systems.”

LimeChain

I’m extremely happy and thrilled to share that LimeChain is joining Hyperledger and the Linux Foundation!” said Nick Todorov, CEO, and co-founder of LimeChain. “As a premier Blockchain & DLT solutions provider this is not just a logical next step for us, but a strategic move that will help LimeChain provide even better solutions to its clients and partners. We are really excited about working with Hyperledger and about the potential synergies we will see with the Hyperledger community.”

Tech Mahindra

“Tech Mahindra has demonstrated strong product development capabilities using Hyperledger projects by developing 25+ Blockchain platforms and also implemented one of the world’s largest Blockchain networks covering 400 million+ subscribers in India to fight spam calls and text,” said Rajesh Dhuddu, Global Practice Leader – Blockchain, Tech Mahindra. “By joining Hyperledger, Tech Mahindra would like to play a strong role in architecting the future of Hyperledger technologies by architecting cutting-edge solutions to solve tough business problems for enterprises globally.”

Telefónica 

At Telefónica we have been exploring the real value of blockchain for our customers for a long time, and we believe that value is in the layer of trust that adds to operations,” says José Luis Núñez, Global Head for Blockchain at Telefónica. “Hyperledger’s community is key in the development of the technology that companies and organizations from all industries are using as a de facto standard for building business blockchain networks. We are delighted with the possibility of contributing to both the ongoing projects and new initiatives that may be launched in the coming months to continue helping companies in building these trusted networks.”

Vonechain Technology

“Blockchain is not only known as the basic technology of human collaboration, but is also one of the technical foundations of the digital world that we will be living in the future. Thus Hyperledger is going to be the factual standard of consortium blockchain between organizations,” said Vonechain Technology CEO Terry Liu. “As a blockchain innovator that serves the global market, Vonechain Technology strives to match suitable blockchain application to clients from all over the world based on four major product lines, which are tracing platform, autonomous platform, digital assets management platform, business environment platform, and 10 solutions.”

About Hyperledger

Hyperledger is an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies. It is a global collaboration including leaders in finance, banking, healthcare, supply chains, manufacturing and technology. Hyperledger hosts many enterprise blockchain technology projects including distributed ledger frameworks, smart contract engines, client libraries, graphical interfaces, utility libraries and sample applications. All Hyperledger code is built publicly and available under the Apache license. The Linux Foundation hosts Hyperledger under the foundation. To learn more, visit: https://www.hyperledger.org/.

Accenture Open Sources Blockchain Integration Framework as a Hyperledger Lab

By 网志, Hyperledger Labs

The growth in the number of blockchain platforms is booming. That is a good thing. Looking beyond a “one size fits all” platform sparks new possibilities and may lead to platform innovations we have yet to imagine. But the ecosystems developing around platforms must also interact for blockchain to achieve its full potential. 

With the future state of interoperability as an end goal, last year Accenture announced that we developed and tested two solutions that allow two or more blockchain enabled ecosystems to integrate. Since then, we developed a new solution specifically created for permissioned blockchains that works without a central connector node. I am happy to announce that we open sourced this new solution as Blockchain Integration Framework, a Hyperledger Lab.

Blockchain Integration Framework defines a communication model that lets permissioned blockchain ecosystems exchange any on-chain data or custom assets, independent of the platform. Specifically, it introduces an “interoperability validator” overlay network for each of the blockchain networks for which you want to exchange assets. Interoperability validators are known or broadly discoverable by the ecosystem and typically participants already taking part in the governance or consensus. 

High-Level Workflow

Interoperability validators will collectively handle export requests from local nodes by verifying against their version of the ledger (steps 1 to 3). Each request is answered by a (configurable) minimum quorum of validator signatures (steps 4 and 5). The network can continue working even if some validators are down or not participating, assuming the minimum quorum can be guaranteed. Any secure off-chain communication system can deliver messages certified by a distributed ledger’s transfer validators (step 6). A proof coming from a foreign distributed ledger can be verified against the public keys of the transfer validators of that foreign distributed ledger either locally by the recipient or using on-chain logic – typically smart-contracts (step 7 and 8).

This tutorial demonstrates how to transfer a simple asset between a Hyperledger Fabric and a Quorum network. If you have a favorite DLT network, please consider contributing a connector. We encourage you to have a look at the source code and welcome any contributions no matter the size. Please reach out on the #blockchain-integration-framework chat channel with any questions.

Setting the Hyperledger Global Forum 2020 Agenda: The Speaker Selection Process

By 网志, Hyperledger Global Forum

Can you feel the Hyperledger Global Forum 2020 buzz? We sure can! We are finalizing the fine details of the agenda, and today we wanted to give you a peek behind the scenes on how the process worked. Similar to our inaugural forum, this year we decided to open the program agenda to the full community issuing an open call for talk submissions via our formal Call For Proposal (CFP) process. And, as expected, building up on the 2018 momentum, we sure got a lot of submissions!

More than 300 submissions competing for 66 session slots, coming from every corner of the world and touching on a variety of topics flooded our CFP portal from June 7 to October 4th.

At Hyperledger, we believe that all good things in life are free (to participate in) and open (source), and everyone should have the opportunity to participate and contribute. To ensure the process of selecting talks that would shape the agenda of the event was as community-driven as possible, we put out an open call for a Program Committee (PC) on August 22nd. Unlike 2018, Hyperledger staff was excluded from participating in scoring and selection this year. Eleven experienced community members stepped up, led by program chairs Tracy Kuhrt and Hart Montgomery,  two members of Technical Steering Committee and contributors to Hyperledger codebases. 

Given the number of submissions and the diversity of topics, the Program Committee decided to split responsibilities, according to their expertise: some reviewed the business proposals, some took on the technical ones, a few looked at both. The committee did a blind review (no speaker names or company name) of the talks, rating them on a scale of 1-5. The ratings were then averaged to come up with a score by which the talks were ranked. To make sure that we were all on the same page guidelines on general CFP scoring guidelines and best practices had been published as part of the CFP progress. 

Additionally the Program Committee added some of their own criteria:

  • No product pitches allowed. In the CFP proposal how to’s, it clearly suggested that speakers should “Avoid sales or marketing pitches and discussing unlicensed or potentially closed-source technologies when preparing your proposal; these talks are almost always rejected due to the fact that they take away from the integrity of our events, and are rarely well-received by conference attendees.” 
  • Make sure we are talking about real implementations and research that is relevant to the community. “No Hype, in Hyperledger.”
  • Hyperledger Global Forum differs from Hyperledger Member Summit. Every year we organize an event where we bring our members together to network, discuss ideas, challenges and solutions under Chatham house rules. Hyperledger Global Forum, on the other hand, is an open event inclusive of everyone. This means that everyone had to have an equal chance of getting accepted. Member affiliation didn’t matter – the content was what drove the choice. 
  • We heard the feedback from HGF18 loud and clear. Prioritize talks over panels. During various conferences we attend and our own events, there is a tendency to cram in many speakers into a panel. The Program Committee decided to change it. Yes, it means fewer speakers, but hopefully there will be more valuable content.

The Program Committee had one month to evaluate the submissions on their own. Then, they met as a committee over two 3-hour long calls to discuss the borderlines and outliers. It was not easy. Many talks were great, but overlapped in topics. This was the tricky part: choosing talks that were scored highest, came from new or under-represented voices in our community and represented all the projects within the Hyperledger Greenhouse. The process was blind until those last stages. 

We hope that you will join us at Hyperledger Global Forum 2020 and will find the agenda as exciting as we do. None of it would be possible without our great events team, lead by Shannon Jessee, and the Program Committee: 

  • Hart Montgomery, Fujitsu [Program Chair]
  • Tracy Kuhrt, Accenture  [Program Chair]
  • Grace Hartley, ConsenSys, PegaSys Team
  • Jon Geater, Jitsuin
  • Nathan George, Sovrin Foundation
  • Bobbi Muscara, Ledger Academy
  • Mark Wagner, Red Hat
  • Fernando Cezar Herédia Marino, CPQD
  • Todd Taylor, GenBloq
  • Morgan Bauer, IBM
  • Arun S M, Walmart Labs (formerly with Intel)

We will be publishing the agenda soon. Stay tuned!

“Why Retail is Ready for Blockchain” – a position paper preface

By 网志

The supply chain landscape is widely considered to be the most immediate application space for blockchain and DLT technologies for many reasons: tension between trade partners, a plethora of paper-based processes, siloed stakeholders, and inefficiencies everywhere. The use cases are there, and the preliminary steps of launching a pilot or proof-of-concept seem simple enough. After all, over half of the projects in Hyperledger’s Blockchain Showcase have some sort of supply chain flavor, and there have been several successful initiatives featuring leafy greens and coffee beans that have proven the viability and the value of blockchain for the supply chain.

However, we tend to overlook the vast majority of blockchain for supply chain projects that dissolve or fail to deliver results. There are plenty of valid reasons why consortiums collapse or projects disappear into the ether (pun intended). Buy-in from various stakeholders may be lacking, value propositions for the business may be hazy, or use cases could be dismissed after initial exploration deems them unfit. There is no shame in any of these endings, but there are definitely lessons to be learned. Initiatives that are able to survive the exploration phase encounter whole new hurdles once they arrive at the implementation phase, and one of the most prominent problems that supply chain projects face is bridging the gap between the physical world and the digital domain.

Some companies solve this problem by creating home grown identification solutions, volunteering their time and energy to a never-ending cycle of development and support that doesn’t have anything to do with blockchain. Other organizations opt for legacy technologies like barcode to bridge the gap between physical goods and the digital world, but even barcode systems have their limitations. Scanning each product in a customer’s cart to capture the information embedded in each barcode might not be an issue, but this same practice does not scale upstream in the supply chain when products are palletized and carts are substituted for shipping containers. Associations must be made between products, cases, pallets, and containers. Assumptions must be drawn about the accuracy of those associations and the continuity of operations throughout the supply chain. The resulting scenario requires a significant amount of trust in legacy systems, which is typically a red flag for blockchain practitioners.

Another shortcoming of barcode-based systems is that they rely on class-level identifiers, also known as SKUs (Stock Keeping Unit), UPCs (Universal Product Code), or GTINs (Global Trade Identification Numbers). In other words, the data only goes as deep as the item type, meaning that a single value could be assigned to countless identical items. For example, over 350 million Rubik’s Cubes have been sold throughout the world since 1980, but their barcodes all bear the exact same information, making it impossible to distinguish one from the other. Because of this fact, it is impossible to determine an item’s singularity with data alone, so additional assumptions must be made in order to confer item integrity. There is, however, an alternative to barcode and other optical scanning solutions that performs at scale throughout the supply chain and solves the issue of item-level identity.

RFID technology (Radio Frequency IDentification) has become a popular solution for many blockchain projects seeking to tie digital IDs to physical goods. RFID is a well established method for serializing and capturing item-level information, and decades of development have contributed to lower costs and peak performance at practically every step of the supply chain. Scanning of RFID-tagged product is accomplished with radio waves, as opposed to barcode systems that rely on lasers and line of sight. Because of this, product information can be captured through packaging, cases, and even pallets at the rate of hundreds of items per second. Additionally, RFID tags assign a unique digital identity to each physical product by appending a serial number to the basic information found in barcodes. This is accomplished by the use of SGTINs, or Serialized Global Trade Identification Numbers. There are other mediums for carrying SGTIN data like a QR Code and 2D Data Matrix, but RFID and other radio-wave-based carriers tend to scale better throughout the supply chain.

Even though RFID is an ideal data source for a blockchain solution, standing up a comprehensive solution from scratch is a non-trivial task. Companies like Nike, FedEx, Delta, and Airbus have spent millions of dollars over the course of several years to establish their RFID capabilities, and while they have reaped sizable dividends, the amount of effort required is far from negligible. Many blockchain initiatives that are supply-chain-centric have come to this realization, and it is not uncommon for projects to experience significant delays or stall out completely when it comes to integrating RFID infrastructure. However, companies that have already invested in RFID are in an excellent position to plug their item-level data streams into a blockchain solution, ultimately enabling visibility and traceability through each step of the supply chain.

While there are robust implementations of RFID in aviation, aerospace, and manufacturing, the industry with the deepest penetration is retail. There are 14 billion RFID-tagged items in the retail world today, from footwear and fine jewelry to sweaters and sweatpants, and over 70% of the top 100 apparel retailers in the U.S. are using RFID in their operations. But ever since Walmart began pushing RFID adoption in the early 2000’s, the industry has suffered from an inability to share granular, item-level data with their trade partners. Traditional EDI networks permit high-level business documentation to change hands, but these networks operate on antiquated models and outdated internet technologies, rendering them unfit for the massive volumes of serialized data being created throughout the supply chain today. End users and solution providers have been unsuccessful in establishing managed server solutions for serialized data exchange, primarily because of the imbalance of control created by centralized solutions or the lack of scalability across the industry.

Given the current retail landscape, there is a tremendous opportunity for blockchain technology to become the de facto standard for data exchange. The Auburn University RFID Lab has expounded on this opportunity and outlined the symbiotic relationship between serialized data and blockchain in a recent position paper titled “Why Retail is Ready for Blockchain.” With item-level infrastructure already in place, retail could be the best arena for blockchain to be battle-tested in. But this opportunity is bigger than a single domain. RFID adoption in other industries is exploding, and those industries key off of the lessons and learnings in retail. If the retail industry is able to prove out the potential of blockchain, others will follow. There is an insatiable need for better business-to-business collaboration across all disciplines, and I believe that blockchain could be the solution to satisfy that need.

Honeywell Aerospace creates multi-million dollar online parts marketplace with Hyperledger Fabric

By 网志, Hyperledger Fabric

Turning retired planes onto business opportunity, Honeywell Aerospace is on track to modernize the $4 billion used aircraft parts market. A key part of the formula for success has been deploying Hyperledger Fabric to bring a layer of trust to the online sales process. 

When a plane retires, operators can harvest valuable parts, especially engines and landing gear. And those parts can be sold, recertified as airworthy, and reused in other planes. There is a big demand for the parts but, since aviation is a heavily regulated industry, sales require certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and other agencies. Each part must be documented with a complete history of its ownership, use, and repairs. Needless to say, tracking all the information required on all those parts is a challenging, error-prone process. And any uncertified or counterfeit part that snuck into the supply chain could have dire consequences.

Vendors attempting online sales were putting up sites that looked a lot like Craigslist, only with no prices or images. Only the most basic information, such as a part’s condition, was posted online with the seller’s phone number. Any transaction required extensive back and forth between buyer and seller to fill in each part’s history and details. It was a long way from the ecommerce experience we’ve all come to expect and online sales made up less than 2.5% of all transactions. The Honeywell Aerospace team knew they had to do better and that the key was building in a layer of trust.

Ushing in a new era in used airplane parts sales, Honeywell created a blockchain-based marketplace, GoDirect Trade, that is a modern shopping site that gives buyers easy access to the information and parts they needed and, importantly, removed uncertainty from the transactions.

Thanks to the blockchain records, buyers can now view vital data on many parts, such as:

  • The entire lifecycle of a part
  • The number of hours it was in service
  • Any and all repairs made and by who, when and where
  • All previous owners of the part

In selecting the blockchain framework to power GoDirect Trade, Honeywell had a number of criteria, including low latency, high throughput, and fast send rates. Hyperledger Fabric provided all that, along with privacy controls such as channels that give a granular ability to manage data. 

Today, shopping on the platform feels like using a typical consumer e-commerce site with photos, detailed product information, and a simple checkout. The average checkout screen only takes two clicks. All these were groundbreaking innovations for aviation parts.   

A month after GoDirect Trade went live with little fanfare, the marketplace had registered more than 300 buyers and processed nearly a quarter million dollars in online transactions. Within 10 weeks, sales soared past $1 million.

Hyperledger has captured the details behind the conception and development of the Hyperledger Fabric-powered GoDirect Trade, its success to date and future plans for the platform. Read the full case study here.