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Hyperledger Announces Governing Board Voting Results

By | Blog

We’re thrilled to announce that the voting for new representatives for the Hyperledger Governing Board wrapped up last Friday and resulted in the return of Carlos Kuchkovsky, Chief Technology Officer of New Digital Business at BBVA, and the addition of Jon Geater, CTO of Thales eSecurity. It was a close race with a ton of great candidates! 

For some background, Jon has led a career dedicated to high-tech and cryptographic security. He held senior global roles in leading companies such as nCipher, ARM and Trustonic. Through these roles, he has designed, built and managed leading edge solutions for a wide variety of industries such as mobile, IoT, payments and smart cities and at every level of the technology stack from the fabric of the smallest microchips to the largest cloud systems.

“I am very glad to be able to serve on the Governing Board of Hyperledger representing the interests of the General Membership. I hope to bring my many years of experience on the boards and committees of other industry bodies to the table and help to build on the considerable success the community has already achieved. At Thales eSecurity, we provide transaction security to 19 of the world’s top 20 banks, we underpin the data security of some of the world’s largest and most sensitive enterprises. As part of the larger Thales, we help to protect real-world critical infrastructure from smart power grids to railway systems to air traffic management. Blockchain is a very significant technology in the area of open transparent trust that we believe will accelerate the move to safer connected living, and Hyperledger is leading the way in bringing this technology to Enterprises. I look forward to bringing this viewpoint of real world security and safety engineering to Hyperledger in order to help us get to large scale industrialization faster.” – Jon Geater                

Carlos has vast experience leading global teams, using the latest technologies to create new ventures, products, solutions, and systems. Prior to New Digital Business, he worked on BBVA’s Open Platform, Banks as a Service, Financial Digital Platforms, and Added Valued Mobile Services initiatives. Prior to BBVA, he worked as a consultant in mobile technologies for financial institutions and retail and developed multiplayer mobile games. He is also the co-author of the book “Blockchain: The Internet Industrial Revolution,” Board member of Alastria.io, MBA Mentor at the Industrial management school, and has lectured at the International Desing Scholl, IE Business school, ICAI and at International University La Rioja for Artificial intelligence, API economy, crowdfunding, Cryptoeconomy, and blockchain.

“For BBVA it is a privilege being re-elected by the General Members of Hyperledger as a representative to the Governing Board. It has been amazing to participate and see the exponential growth that Hyperledger has had, in number of members, number of projects, and community participants in the last year. And as it has gone from Beta versions and proofs of concept to production and to scale. BBVA is using Hyperledger technology in several projects and PoCs. And this year we want to increase our contribution to the community by working together with other members and contributing to open source projects.” – Carlos Kuchkovsky

General members are entitled to annually elect one representative to the Hyperledger Governing Board. The Governing Board is responsible for approving a budget directing the use of funds raised by Hyperledger from all sources of revenue, overseeing all project business and marketing matters, as well as working with the Technical Steering Committee on defining and administering any programs for certification, among many other matters.

We look forward to the year ahead with both Jon and Carlos! As always, you can keep up with what’s new with Hyperledger on Twitter or email us with any questions: info@hyperledger.org.

 

Lessons Learned from Hyperledger Fabric PoC Projects

By | Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

Guest post: Hanna Zubko, CEO IntellectEU Inc and Thomas Bohner, Product Manager IntellectEU NV

Recently, Hyperledger provided members the opportunity to speak with global analyst firm Gartner about experiences with Proofs of Concept (PoCs) and pilots using technologies from the greenhouse of Hyperledger projects. Given IntellectEU’s announcement today about the release of Catalyst, the first platform to integrate traditional infrastructures with multiple blockchain networks including networks built with Hyperledger Fabric, we decided to share the recent PoC using Hyperledger Fabric and Catalyst we discussed with Gartner.

Implementation of Blockchain technology allows not only to reduce costs and facilitate efficiencies within enterprise ecosystems but also create entirely new revenue streams. The PoC was for a car insurance company. The objective was to use Hyperledger Fabric and Catalyst to create a flexible pay per mile insurance product based on the actual car mileage and condition of the vehicle. Catalyst served as the hub for connecting the insurance database, the car dongle (IoT device), end-user mobile application and Hyperledger Fabric itself. Catalyst listened to the changes on all the data sources and based on the business rules, applied the corresponding logic. IntellectEU deployed two smart contracts on Hyperledger Fabric; one to calculate the premium based on the actual car mileage and a second to confirm the payment. Catalyst has an architecture that is open, modern, and flexible and will be able to add multiple new players to the ecosystem in the future.

As part of the interview, Gartner asked about our preferred methodology for architecting blockchain PoC projects. We broke it down to the following steps:

  1. Begin with a 2-day design thinking session, shaping and grooming the use case, and evaluating if blockchain technology brings significant added value to the use case.
  2. From those discussions, split up the business requirements into multiple use cases.
  3. Shape up the use cases to fit in the “fail fast” methodology.
  4. Create a solution roadmap.
  5. At this stage, select the initial use case to use as a base for the PoC.
  6. Create the Overall Design Document and the Functional Requirements Specification in cooperation with a customer.
  7. Develop the PoC using Agile approach. For more information, visit http://agilemanifesto.org.
  8. Deliver the solution to the customer
  9. Roll out the solution to multiple additional ecosystem participants

From this car insurance related PoC, there were two primary lessons learned that are worth sharing.

First, it is important to determine at the outset whether using distributed ledger technology would give any boost to the use case. We have found that walking customers through the following “Blockchain Decision Path” is very helpful.

Second, it was very important to have a specialist who understood General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements to ensure compliance. In brief, GDPR is a regulation that requires businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of EU citizens for transactions that occur within EU member states. It provides for a harmonization of the data protection regulations throughout the EU, thereby making it easier for non-European companies to comply with these regulations; however, this comes at the cost of a strict data protection compliance regime with severe penalties of up to 4% of worldwide turnover or €20 million, whichever is higher. GDPR will become enforceable from May 25th 2018. According to an Ovum report, two-thirds of businesses expect to have to change in their global business strategies to accommodate new data privacy regulations and more than half of businesses think they will be fined due to GDPR in Europe.

A valuable benefit of being a part of the Hyperledger community is the opportunity to hear from members about their experiences “in the field” using Hyperledger technologies for PoCs, pilots and production deployments. We believe sharing best practices with the community helps the collective efforts to increase widespread adoption of Hyperledger distributed ledger frameworks.

Hyperledger Bug Bounty Program Now Open

By | Blog, Hyperledger Composer, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Iroha, Hyperledger Sawtooth

Dave Huseby, Hyperledger Security Maven

When I started as the Hyperledger Security Maven just over a year ago, I set out to make sure that Hyperledger’s community of contributors were doing everything possible to make good on the promise of better software and better security from the open source process. As of right now, we have in place a public bug tracker, continuous integration builds, core infrastructure initiative compliance, and a full responsible disclosure security bug policy and process. Today, I am happy to announce the next piece of our security process: the Hyperledger Bug Bounty.  

For the last six months we have been running a private bug bounty with HackerOne. Today we are opening up the Hyperledger Bug Bounty for public participation. Currently only Hyperledger Fabric is in the scope of the bounty program but we hope to add Hyperledger Sawtooth and other Hyperledger projects soon. HackerOne will continue to administer the bug bounty for us with close cooperation between their team and our community. We chose HackerOne because we think it is the best use of our resources and they share a similar commit to open source software as Hyperledger and The Linux Foundation.

At Hyperledger we have a broad base of committed developers and it is their professionalism that makes our security process solid and straightforward. When I first started, we already had in place our public bug tracking system and most teams had set up continuous integration build systems for monitoring build health. In the last year we formalized the process by which projects can move from development status to their first 1.0 release, including a number of security requirements.

The first security requirement is to meet the requirements of the Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII). The Core Infrastructure Initiative is a set of best practices for open source software security. Earning the CII badge requires open source projects to set up services and processes and key positions that all serve the goal of producing more secure and trustworthy software. At the time of this writing, Hyperledger Fabric, Sawtooth, Iroha, and Composer have all earned their CII badge.

The second security requirement is to nominate one to three members of a project’s community to participate on the Hyperledger security team. The Hyperledger security team manages and executes our policy of responsible disclosure of security bugs. Security bugs are confidentially reported to Hyperledger through security@hyperledger.org or by filing a security bug in our JIRA. It is the job of the volunteer security team to triage, respond to, fix, and disclose the security bugs that are reported. As of right now, the security team consists of 16 members from five of our project communities.

The third security requirement is for a project to undergo a security audit from an outside auditor to establish a baseline for the codebase. We hired the auditing firm Nettitude to do security audits of Hyperledger Fabric, Sawtooth, Iroha and Composer.  So far Hyperledger Fabric, Sawtooth and Iroha have been completed and are in various stages of resolution and publication. Currently only the Hyperledger Fabric security audit report has been fully resolved and published. The rest will be published soon.

Looking ahead into the future, I plan on getting more involved with the Software Package Data Exchange (SPDX) to see if we can use Hyperledger blockchain platforms to better track the provenance of open source software, including our own. I hope to one day use verifiable claims to automatically check for vulnerabilities in dependencies from our continuous integration build system. If open source software packages were to issue a verifiable claim stating that a specific version of their software has no known security vulnerabilities, then when one is reported, the claim can be revoked. The revocation of the claim could then function as an automatic signal to all users of that software that they need to update. Continuous integration systems could check the claims of all dependencies and stop the build if one or more are found to have vulnerabilities.  This represents the next generation of reproducible builds and would leverage blockchains for provenance tracking of software from construction all the way through deprecation.

Security is always an ongoing process of improvement. Thanks to the commitment and professionalism and general good cheer of the Hyperledger community, we have made great strides in the last year. Now with our public bug bounty, we hope to further make good on the open source promise and to deserve the trust our users have in us.

We encourage developers to join our efforts on the bug bounty program and also start contributing to Hyperledger projects. You can plug into the Hyperledger community at github, Rocket.Chat the wiki or our mailing list. You can also follow Hyperledger on Twitter or email us with any questions: info@hyperledger.org.

Developer Showcase Series: David Conroy, National Association of REALTORS

By | Blog, Hyperledger Composer, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Indy

We’re back to our Developer Showcase blog series, which serves to highlight the work and motivations of developers, users and researchers collaborating on Hyperledger’s incubated projects. Next up is David Conroy, an R&D Lab Engineer at the Center for REALTOR Technology, as part of the National Association of REALTORS. Let’s see what he has to say!

What advice would you offer other technologists or developers interested in getting started working on blockchain? 

Before getting started working in blockchain, I strongly recommend taking the time to learn the strengths and weaknesses of the many different types of blockchain technologies available today. A great way to accomplish this is to take a look at all of the fantastic open source tools out there that already exist for blockchain development. Understanding the basics prior to beginning the development process can be critical to the success of your future applications. My two favorite development tools currently are Hyperledger Composer (https://github.com/hyperledger/composer), and the Truffle Framework (http://truffleframework.com/). If you are looking for online resources for blockchain education, The Linux Foundation has released a self-paced primer on distributed ledgers that is incredibly thorough and also free of charge.

David Conroy, National Association of REALTORS


Give a bit of background on what you’re working on, and let us know what was it that made you want to get into blockchain?

I work for CRT Labs, a research group operated by the National Association of REALTORS®. Our lab focuses on emerging technologies that could potentially affect real estate. Personally, I have been interested in blockchain since I began learning and writing about Bitcoin in 2013. Since then as the technology has matured, it became increasingly apparent that my personal interests were quickly aligning with my professional ones. This is due to the massive implications that blockchain poses for the real estate industry.  In addition to payment and escrow, blockchains could potentially provide the mechanisms for establishing identity, enforcing of contracts, and improving the overall quality of property records.

What project in Hyperledger are you working on? Any new developments to share? Can you sum up your experience with Hyperledger?

At NAR, we are building a Hyperledger Fabric based system that will allow us to more effectively understand how our association interacts with its 1.3 million members. This project will allow us to tie together all of the various educational courses taken, committees served on, and events attended by our members despite the fact that this activity is occurring at over 1,400 local associations nationwide. Our legacy systems lack the functionality to provide a complete, accurate, and verifiable report that shows the complete picture of a members activity within our association. Now with the assistance of blockchain that granularity of reporting is something we are able to provide. This data can then be used to better provide services, aid in leadership development, and allow for increased recognition of our highly involved members. We took advantage of the Hyperledger Composer tool to define our business network and get our initial proof of concepts running quickly.

In addition to the work I’ve done at NAR, I have also entered into multiple blockchain-related programming competitions in my spare time to keep current on latest development trends. Most recently, I was a part of a team that took first place in IBM’s Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence Global Hackathon. Alongside the cash prize, the top finish came with a opportunity to present at IBM’s Think 2018 Conference. The submission was a Hyperledger-based, IBM Watson-powered parking reservation marketplace called The Spot Exchange.

In addition to the for-profit business models, I’ve also looked at Blockchain for social good. For the past few months, I have been working on a project that uses blockchain and artificial intelligence for social good. Specifically – providing identity, education, and family reunification services for Refugee Resettlement. For more information please visit ProjectSafeHarbor.com.

Locally, I serve as co-chair of the two Chicago-based blockchain meetups, Hyperledger Chicago & Chicago Blockchain in Real Estate.

What’s the one issue or problem you hope blockchain can solve?

One area where I believe blockchains have an enormous potential is improving the state of our current systems for establishing our digital identities. Consumers today are unrealistically expected to securely manage login information across hundreds of different websites. Unfortunately, this burden leads to poor password hygiene from many users, while slowly turning popular websites into an ever-growing target for hackers looking for large amounts of personal information. Two projects that I am following very closely that look to solve some of these issues in a decentralized and self-sovereign manner are Hyperledger Indy, and the Ethereum project uPort.

 

 

 

Developer Showcase Series: Arka Roychowdhury, Infosys

By | Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

Our Developer Showcase blog series serves to highlight the work and motivations of developers, users and researchers collaborating on Hyperledger’s incubated projects. Next up is Arka Roychowdhury, a Principal Consultant focusing on Blockchain at InfoSys. Let’s see what he has to say!

What advice would you offer other technologists or developers interested in getting started working on blockchain?

People often ask me, “Arka, I know that you have been working on Blockchain for some time now, can you advise me on how to get started with it [Blockchain]”? Typically, I have less than one minute to answer, because that’s the amount of time they have before the elevator door opens and they have to get down.

The most important thing to get started is to get started; start with the internet; there is no dearth of rich content that can get you started in no time. Google Blockchain, and also visit MooCs such as Edx and Coursera.

But since I am writing a blog, let me be more detailed: The MooC from the Linux foundation on Blockchain for Business is a good one to start with; the Hyperledger website also has links to detailed contents (github pages, videos) on Hyperledger frameworks and tools, that can help you get started quickly.

I must mention that there are several independent youtube videos and github pages that do a superb job at explaining micro topics. However let me warn you that there are also articles and contents which talk about Blockchain and cryptocurrencies at a very high level- throwing words such as consensus, trust and immutability casually, and describe the technology very vaguely (if not incorrectly); you can spend a lot of time skimming those contents and still not be able to appreciate the technology or understand the real benefits.

You don’t need to be a developer to appreciate Blockchain, but there are nitty-gritties that you should understand thoroughly if you honestly want to get started with Blockchain. There are books in the market that you can easily find from Amazon. I recommend that you read the sample chapters and the reviews before making your purchase decision.

If you are a developer, or have a technical inclination, it helps, but again I find no reason, why anyone with any background can’t get started on Blockchain and find a niche area to contribute. You can be from a non-computer background such as Finance, Economics, Supply chain, and still be able to contribute significantly [if not more at times].

Be open to learn and explore, don’t limit yourself to just one framework or one tool. Concepts of Blockchain remain similar whether you are using Hyperledger frameworks, Ethereum, Corda or something else. Concepts that you learn in one project can often be applied to another. There are very good learning material (tutorials) and/or whitepapers in the official websites of Ethereum, Corda, R3 Corda and Cardano (third generation Blockchain) etc. Do visit them, even if you are solely working on Hyperledger; sometimes, subtle technical differences will clear your fundamental concepts better. There are no structured ways of exploring; you don’t need to have a definite goal to start with, it will come to you sooner than you think.

The important thing is to realize whether you really want to get started.

Arka Roychowdhury, Principal Consultant focusing on Blockchain at Infosys

What do you think is most important for Hyperledger to focus on in the next year?

A Blockchain enthusiast, may often overlook any drawback of Blockchain, and fail to acknowledge the challenges of putting together a production ready Enterprise Blockchain solution.

I think Hyperledger should come up with tools and frameworks that the business can use to clearly understand and articulate a, the business benefits and associated costs in quantitative terms b. impact on existing processes if they decide to undertake a Blockchain project, and c. how much time and involvement is required from their side. [I call it (jokingly) a MIR framework- Money, Involvement and Risk. You may also add potential new Business Opportunities and call it a BRIM framework. ]

Hyperledger images may be used for free, but there are obviously other costs: Storage cost, application development and maintenance cost etc. Any organization deciding to invest in Blockchain would definitely want to know the cost structure in detailed granularity.

We might be tempted to say that current processes will remain un-impacted only the underlying technology will change, but you should have some credible explanation backed by some demo or a proof of concept.

A Business stakeholder once made a very curious remark after seeing my presentation, where I demonstrated how an asset can be tracked across the value chain; he said (I am paraphrasing), “Blockchain would work only when all parties, the Customs officials, the Logistic partners, ground handlers, the Internal departments, all work together. What are the chances of that happening?[rhetorically] So if we take the whole onus upon us to build the Blockchain solution, are you (Arka)suggesting that we then go door to door to asking everyone in the Business Network to use our solution? And if a Blockchain network benefits everyone, why should only we pay to build one?”

Perhaps Hyperledger should also focus on open projects, in collaboration with partners and individuals to develop implementation frameworks, methodologies and best practices that can be used by System Integrators and IT houses to implement Blockchain in a production environment.

[it is beginning to come true with Project working groups in the Hyperledger community.]

It is my personal view that, the real challenge [deterrents] to Blockchain’s wide spread enterprise adoption wouldn’t be technology, scalability, price, complexity or risk but the inability to develop a practical Business plan for a Blockchain network and to convince or incentivize stakeholders to join that network.

What’s the one issue or problem you hope Blockchain can solve?

In my conversations with business folks, I tell them not to think of Blockchain as a new piece of technology, but as a new paradigm of doing business. I truly hope that Blockchain will help businesses re-think benefits from the perspective of the entire value chain in which they operate. If I may say so naively, I hope that Blockchain would enable every business [industry] to operate in Nash equilibrium, making each business and society as a whole, better off.

With trusted and transparent visibility of data, companies will be able to leverage analytics to unlock new opportunities for sensible innovations, and stimulate the global economy.

These are the early days of Blockchain, rife with experimentations and PoCs. We will start seeing truly transformative value creation in every industry as more and more participants collaborate and promote “coopetition”.

If there is one issue I could solve, it would be to facilitate global trade and commerce such that companies/countries could produce and exchange goods and services without artificial barriers and friction.

What project in Hyperledger are you working on? Any new developments to share? Can you sum up your experience with Hyperledger?

I am [was] trying to explore a Blockchain solution in sourcing and procurement domain to free up a company’s working capital and reduce its cash conversion cycle. [I must add, it was more of an experiment and evaluation- trying to understand the technology and evaluate how to tackle a business scenario with this new paradigm] With Hyperledger Fabric and a robust business process underneath, we can ensure that regulatory and contractual obligations for a trade are satisfied and delays in order fulfillment (caused by frictions/complexities/incomplete information) are reduced. I am however, not sure whether we can use Hyperledger to design a sensible system for payment and hedging risk.

Another interesting development I am [was] doing- was to communicate with Hyperledger Fabric using non-traditional applications such as a Chatbot and voice. Processes that require human intervention, such as clicking buttons, checking boxes or filling up forms, are error prone and can be easily enhanced using such cognitive services. Since I have a background in analytics, I am [was] also interested in exploring new models to answer pertinent business questions; for instance I used graph analytics (node Centrality concepts) on the historian data to strategize, which supplier to incentivize or improve relationship with, in-order to reduce potential procurement disruption. [Of course many of these endeavors are/were personal in nature- pet projects using free available resources for learning purpose only. But learning shouldn’t be taken lightly. I think most of us (industry professionals, academics and Hyperledger community itself) are still learning. These learnings will allow us to usher new generations of Blockchain technology without the technical limitations of today.]

I am sometimes often confounded by the question, “why do I need a Blockchain for this? can’t the same can be done with a more traditional design.” The question is not easy to answer and you can’t always convince prospective project sponsors by throwing words such as “decentralized” and “trusted” at every problem. You must have a proper qualification criteria for selecting a use-case.

Your Blockchain project stakeholders/sponsors will always want to know the costs and benefits in quantitative terms. You may get Hyperledger for free, but there are plethora of other associated costs. Perform your due diligence before you reach out with a project proposal. You will never have all the answers beforehand, but you should have some rough implementation plan and should be able to give a rough estimate of time, effort and money that they have to invest and indicate potential risks. [I guess it is true for any new technology; but for Blockchain the complexity is multiplied by the number stakeholders you have and their disparate incentives and inhibitions.]

It has become very clear to me, that in order to make a Hyperledger PoC to scale up to Enterprise-grade, it must integrate with the existing IT landscape. This is again, not an easy task, especially if the current landscape is already rife with incompatible IT applications; but at the same time it is doable because Hyperledger Fabric is very easy to interact with using APIs; legacy apps and UIs can easily integrate Blockchcain using these APIs, without much disruption to Business-as-usual. The new solution can work parallel to the existing business application without causing any disruption (at least that’s what I would like to believe).

The benefits of Blockchain might be very clear to you and you may not find any reason why anyone shouldn’t implement it, but you still need to convince people and validate your own belief with a good business case. You will need all the help from the project sponsors, process Owners, architects, Ddvelopers and end users; you will be amazed to find so many of them actually want you to succeed.

How to Incentivize your Blockchain Network

By | Blog

Guest post: Phaedra Boinodiris, blockchain strategy & design, IBM

So you have an idea that will provide huge value to an industry via a blockchain network. Well, now you have to convince others to join in. That should be easy, right? WRONG. The business models around a blockchain can be fundamentally more challenging to construct than the writing of any code. This blog is dedicated towards helping you think through how to form a robust cohesive network where everyone is incentivized to contribute.

After you have determined whether indeed your use case is a good fit for blockchain- ‘TRUST’ being the term that must keep coming up again and again- then consider using a design thinking process.

The Design Thinking Process

Step 1) Get everyone in the same room.

You as the founder need to bring organizations to the table to negotiate how this might work.

Oftentimes the mere allure of going to a design thinking session to learn about how blockchain can affect their industry will be enough of a carrot to bring them to the table. This curiosity may not hold for too much longer. Consider using the incentives framework in this blog to proposition your would-be network members prior to the meeting.  

You can have 3rd parties host and curate these design thinking workshops for you if needed.

Step 2) As-Is and To-Be Business models

Many networks are choosing to opt-out of rehashing what the As-Is Business model is because they do no wish to anchor the group into old-school thinking. They jump directly into the To-Be Model. Ensure to include which network members have access to which data sources that would ‘feed the system’ and provide new value that would not have been available before.

Future vision – how you pitch the future direction of the solution will likely sway adoption of it.  For example, should your use case be one that positively impacts people or the planet as a whole, consider associating your idea with one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals where appropriate, making it easier for other similarly minded disruptors to find you.

Step 3) Incentives

Here is where things might get tricky and where it would behoove you as the founder to think through before pulling everyone into the room.

Making sure you devote enough time and energy into understanding what motivates and drives each of your network members, what their pain points are, and to really empathize with them will help you structure a dynamic incentives structure that will build a cohesive network. Remember, the value only comes when the network is compelled to join forces. So this investment in time has to be made a priority on your planning efforts.

Clients are willing to pay for a service that is newly made available due to the aggregated insights coming from the blockchain network.

If users are a government owned entity and thus cannot be profitable, they need to be gleaning a cost savings through blockchain network participation.  If they are NOT a government owned entity, a founder needs to consider if by participating, they are offered a service that helps them control their own data in some way.

There are instances where service providers would also get paid by clients for offering a service to users that then ultimately helps clients glean insights.  This payment can be measured through the use of tokens.

This incentive structure actually needs to be built in a dynamic way as new groups join because incentives may change over time.

Step 4) MVP Build

You have landed on an incentive structure that everyone feels good about, so the MVP has begun. We have found that MVPs do not generally generate revenue off the bat. They are more about cost-savings. Consider building a roadmap that might start a pilot off with cost-saving measures but evolve into something that does indeed generate revenue for key parties involved.

Democratizing education via blockchain-enabled skills ledgers as an example

We will use an example in the education industry. Specifically, we want to use a blockchain to create a ledger that can track student skills across school systems, after school programs, internships and more. Many believe that the rising tide of robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence is going to displace many of the jobs that are available today, just as it will also introduce completely new jobs that require new skill sets. Consider how technology could be used to innovate on the process and culture of education and to incubate a democratized and agile ecosystem for Edtech. This ecosystem could serve everyone from coal miners struggling to become re-trained in solar energy to high school students in urban cities learning topics like design thinking, cybersecurity, or drone maintenance.  This ecosystem would reside on a blockchain, because maintaining trust between entities is key. (Similar use cases were piloted by Sony Education and at the University of Texas in Austin.)

In the education use case above, a disruptor could mine for other like-minded individuals that are fighting for a mindset change in schools by indexing the 4th United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Education, ‘Quality Education’. Easy and global access to a quality education is a key tenet of the 4th UN SDG. Whenever you want to post about your disruptive idea, use the hashtag #sdg4 and #globalgoals.  When you present about your idea, don’t lead with the technology, lead with the To-Be state, your vision for how the industry will be disrupted and why it needs disruption. Oftentimes that comes with a cultural transformation, a mindset shift.  Below is a sketch that was shared with me by a NC educator upon hearing my blockchain-enabled skills ledger keynote that I made to the Dept. of Public Instruction where I presented this culture shift.  Although I did talk about the technology, I lead with what it would mean for school systems and students and followed it up with a Design Thinking session on how to encourage the mindset shift in stakeholders.

A Design Thinking session for this use case could be held with a pilot school system or an association of school systems along with EdTech companies and others that are seeking to locate employees with specific skill sets.

For this example, resource-strapped schools are incentivized to participate because they are required to offer school credit for students to learn skills that they may not be able to afford or find. Schools offer credit to students who take online courses teaching skills like ‘Drone Maintenance’, ‘Cyber-Security’, or ‘IOT’.  Students want to get credit for as many skills as they can capture both inside and outside of the classroom and have their data live outside of any single school system. Schools and students in this case are users. EdTech companies are the service providers that are paid to curate content that clients want students to learn as they need to recruit. Clients would fund this blockchain as they reap value from finding skilled employees. EdTech companies get paid for creating great online courseware.

Students can use an application that stores their course credits and skills learned over time irrespective of institution on a blockchain. Having easy access to own data, students would be incentivized to participate. Since this data contributes back to the larger system the network would pay them commensurately based on how much of their data is used in order to create value.

Here is the rub though….the value of  blockchain sometime takes time to create. In this same example, the client, in this case recruiting companies, won’t be able to mine data for a group of people that has the skill sets they seek until the system is up and running for a period of time. Schools and students need to sign up, EdTech partners need to get on the system and be vetted by clients, etc. There needs to sometimes be an upfront investment that then is realized over time as data is mined and value is realized.

Considerations like certification of the content, pricing and other factors need to be analyzed as part of the workshop. Without engaging and well-scripted Edtech applications residing in this ecosystem, it may as well be a desert with tumbleweeds. Technology companies could use business models like this to post curriculum that we think is important to fill new collar jobs (like quantum computing, IoT, cyber-defense, design thinking, systems thinking, cognitive, cloud, etc.) in both traditional and non-traditional learning spaces.

Phaedra Boinodiris is a member of IBM’s Blockchain team and is passionate about Tech for Good. Since the start of her career at IBM she has been a Developer Advocate and IBM’s global lead for serious games and gamification. She is also the author of Serious Games for Business, published in 2014 by Megan-Kiffer press. Boinodiris was honored by Women in Games International as one of the top 100 women in the games industry. In November of 2015, Boinodiris was elected as a member of IBM’s Academy of Technology and has 6 patents in the gaming space. Boinodiris spoke at this year’s THINK conference in March on the subject of Re-Inventing K-12 Education.

Hyperledger Fabric Now Used in Day to Day Operations

By | Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

Guest post:  Jesse Chenard, CEO, MonetaGo

  

As members of Hyperledger for almost two years, we certainly believe in the promises and benefits that distributed ledger technology can bring to many different industries. In the past, we’ve read about the various proofs of concept (POCs) and pilots using Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Sawtooth, and other frameworks within the Hyperledger greenhouse of projects. The many use cases around these Hyperledger projects are vast.

All that being said, the buzz around blockchain is also deafening. Of course, we’ve heard rumblings from those that think this is all hype and won’t truly transform the way business is conducted today. I think it’s fair to say that many of those people have been vocal both behind closed doors and on stages around the world in their demands to see real production deployments in 2018. It’s important to provide a strong “signal through the noise” by validating that Hyperledger Fabric and other distributed ledger frameworks are ready to provide real business value to organizations by standing up to the rigors of a live deployment.

That’s why we’re excited to share this news from the trenches – we have successfully deployed what we believe to be the first enterprise grade blockchain into production for everyday use by multiple financial services organizations. It has been running for nearly two weeks now – everyone involved wanted to make sure it would stand the test of a production workload before making any announcements. So there you have it: completely separate legal entities have nodes on a shared distributed ledger network which they are using in their daily operations. In other words, we’ve created and deployed an enterprise blockchain which is live and kicking, and provides a common platform which is not controlled by any one financial institution to securely and confidentially share information.

Milestone achieved everyone!

Here’s some background information to provide context: The first purpose of this network is to reduce instances of fraud around receivables financing. Receivables financing is one of the fastest growing and most efficient trade finance mechanisms for small businesses to manage their working capital requirements. The Reserve Bank of India licensed three entities to provide a more efficient venue to do this: RXIL, A.TReDS, and M1xchange. RXIL is a joint venture promoted by National Stock Exchange of India and Small Industries Development Bank of India. A.TREDS is a joint venture of Axis Bank (India’s third largest private bank) and mjunction (the largest e-marketplace for steel in the world and also India’s largest e-commerce company which is itself a venture promoted by Tata Steel and SAIL). M1xchange is a leading global service provider in business process and technology management, offering broad spectrum of services in Finance and Accounting.

The Indian financing market currently provides $219 Billion USD to Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), yet there remains $188 Billion USD of unmet demand which the exchanges were designed to address. Together, they provide competitive marketplaces for small businesses to obtain the best financing possible. The platforms count some of the biggest Indian banks and a number of foreign banks as funding sources. Each of them helps to enable the discounting of invoices from corporate organizations, government departments, and public sector undertakings.

While it is normal for the exchange customers to go to multiple exchanges in order to obtain better price discovery, the exchanges all agreed that they needed a common platform to prevent the customers from obtaining multiple financings against the same set of invoices. By implementing a common blockchain platform, these exchanges were able to eliminate instances of double financing without sharing specific elements of any invoice or client. Ultimately, this implementation leads to the exchanges being able to offer better rates across the board to all of their customers, and provide access to capital for more businesses otherwise deemed too risky.

Keep in mind, these three Indian exchanges are competitors. Their clients are particularly sensitive about their sourcing inputs, and it is imperative that the exchanges not provide any of their client information to a shared registry controlled by any one entity. By creating a blockchain network built on Hyperledger Fabric, together with some intelligent cryptography, that concern is eliminated as the technology enables the exchanges to work together on a shared network to achieve shared goals without compromising privacy.

As a Hyperledger member, we think this is a significant milestone not only for our community, but for distributed ledger technology at large. We offer a special thank you to the Hyperledger team – the open governance around Hyperledger has helped foster our own innovation and growth, and this live deployment is a small testament to that larger group effort. As our first step also provides the opportunity for participants to build additional functionality on the new network, we look forward to writing about additional Hyperledger production deployments in the coming months – and to hearing about those of others.

 

[VIDEO] Hyperledger Interviews Alex Migitko, COO, GameCredits

By | Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

At the last Hyperledger Member Summit in Singapore, we had the opportunity to sit down with Alex Migitko, COO of GameCredits, and learn more about why they joined Hyperledger.

First, a little about GameCredits. GameCredits is an international, multicultural company looking to transform the gaming industry with the GameCredits cryptocurrency (GAME) and other blockchain-based products. Founded in 2016 in Belgrade, Serbia, GameCredits Inc. is now a 100-people team spread across 10 offices in five countries.

In a contributed blog post in December, Alex shared his observations about blockchain and the gaming industry:

“Blockchain is becoming increasingly present in the gaming industry, but more as a concept than a tangible solution. That’s understandable because the technology is fairly new and I’m confident that blockchain will find its place in this industry, which has always been known for fast adoption and innovation. What you can see so far are roadmaps and plans detailing how blockchain can be implemented in gaming. But in terms of actual use, there aren’t many companies that can show off a viable product. Most of these projects are still works in progress.”

–Read the full blog post, “Does Blockchain Have a Role in Gaming?

In his video interview, Alex shares how since joining Hyperledger as a general member, the GameCredits team has fast-tracked their progress with their blockchain projects as they have become more active community participants. They more easily get in touch with other synergistic member companies across the globe, they see direct results of the work of other people and have a more clear picture overall of where Hyperledger projects are going. While they’re currently focused on developing their own permissioned blockchain projects based on Hyperledger Fabric, their goal is to ultimately share that back with the rest of the world through Hyperledger.

Please enjoy and share Alex’s full interview below!

 

Developer Showcase Series: Fernando Martin Garcia Del Angel, Aabo Technologies

By | Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

Back to our Developer Showcase blog series, which serves to highlight the work and motivations of developers, users and researchers collaborating on Hyperledger’s incubated projects. Next up is Fernando Martin Garcia Del Angel, a project manager at Aabo Technologies. Let’s see what he has to say!

What advice would you offer other technologists or developers interested in getting started working on blockchain?

When I first started looking into blockchain, the way it was built, and the mathematical concepts that surrounded it I had the notion that by extension programming an application using this technology would be a technical and mathematical nightmare. However, once I started reading the Hyperledger Fabric documentation and built my first application I noticed how straightforward the whole process was; of course, it was different from any SDK I had used and it required me to think things differently but it wasn’t as hard as I first thought it would. So, my advice for any newcomers would be to lose the fear and just dive in, you won’t believe how much you’re able to do all out of the box.

My second advice to newcomers would be to read anything and everything you can about blockchain before starting. Starting out with almost no knowledge about blockchain would make you believe you’re setting up a distributed database application with confusing properties, but if instead you’re used to the concepts of blocks, transactions, consensus, and the technical reasons why blockchain is special then you’ll be able to take advantage of everything blockchain is capable of providing.

Finally, I’d really recommend to never start this journey alone. Even though this applies for any new technology you or your company would like to endeavor, creating a blockchain application requires some experience with distributed databases, networking and cryptography, which for a single person could potentially be too much to grasp. Having a team that can analyze the implications of the technology and discover possible use cases of it can potentially help you build a solid and valuable application.  

Fernando Martin Garcia Del Angel, Project Manager at Aabo Technologies

Give a bit of background on what you’re working on, and let us know what was it that made you want to get into blockchain?

I’ve just finished programming a profiling application and tester for blockchain networks; this application would take any network topology attributes from a Hyperledger Fabric network and then it would proceed to launch a smart contract containing methods for creating accounts and making balance transfers as a way of measuring how many transfers could be done per second on different settings and situations (such having orderers and peers not working randomly or launching DoS attacks with invalid transactions). Our results show that this technology is incredibly robust and fast even when most peers and orderers are compromised on the network.

Another application that I’m personally developing is an open source point of sales and inventory management system built on Node.js called “Luna”. This application is looking to become a standard for many small stores here in Mexico City for store owners who can’t afford expensive POS software but still need a robust solution to keep afloat on a digitalized market. It’s being developed to support blockchain networks out-of-the-box to easily connect stores that have multiple locations and would like their product, sales, customers and other information synced for the owner’s convenience when taking decisions.

I wanted to get started using blockchain mostly due to the way a transaction or change within the network stays recorded forever as well as the distributed aspect of the network. This meant that an application built with blockchain in mind would be able to scale alongside the business with minimal effort and reliably, making it for me the future of business applications

What’s the one issue or problem you hope blockchain can solve?

Mexico is known to have a problem with government transparency and the way public funds and assets are being used, something that blockchain could be able to solve. We were struck by a 7.1 earthquake that strongly affected Mexico City, Puebla and Morelos taking the life of 370 people and collapsing 228 buildings just on the capital. Mexicans who were the least affected took upon themselves to help whoever they could with whatever they had in an unprecedented act of unity that was registered by several news organizations for the world to see. However, there was an issue with supplies from several sources being stolen by people who wanted to resell them and even more problematic, the government taking these supplies to relabel them as being a donation from the state when in reality it was all being donated by citizens; this led to people writing over the products to deter people from stealing and reselling them and the government to simply relabel them.

The way I see it, this whole scenario could’ve been stopped if there was a unified system that could transparently and efficiently track where each donation went, where it was, their destination and once it was given to a victim of the earthquake. This would’ve not only facilitated tracking, but it would’ve also allowed people to trust that their donations were given to the people who needed it the most. Even now that it’s been about 2 months after the earthquake, I think blockchain solutions could be used to a great extent for emergency situations where transparency, speed and accountability are greatly needed.

What is the best piece of developer advice you’ve ever received?

Overall, the best developer advice for me hasn’t been directly about code development but mostly about documentation. A teacher once told us: “Write down whatever you do on a project as if it were a diary and always comment it to your peers.” This advice has helped me track issues on a project easily and get a sense of how the project has changed once these have been mitigated; this has also helped me get out of trouble whenever external factors intervene with the development of a project and a deadline isn’t met, I’ve been able to show which actions were taken at a point in time to solve them and how that turned out, making sure I’m being penalized only by those actions for which I’m directly responsible.

However, one of the best pieces of advice I could give to anyone developing an application is to never underestimate the value of project management and documentation, it has to be the single most important thing to do after coding. If at any point in time you need to include new people to the team or you need to refactor a method efficiently, documentation can save you a great deal of time understanding what needs to be done every time. This would seem like common sense for most companies and teams, but there’s still a great amount of people who think management and documentation are not relevant when coding and most of the time they’re proven wrong.

What technology could you not live without?

Even though this is a really old technology, I can’t live without using paper notebooks and agendas. I know nowadays our phones and tablets have way more processing power than even most laptops in the market and that modern technology allows us to customize most of the note taking process, but using traditional notebooks has allowed me to unwind when sitting for over 8 hours in front of a computer or in times of stress by jotting down my thoughts, writing my feelings or even by drawing anything and everything I’m thinking about. The sole fact that it doesn’t have a screen or needs recharging helps me bring it anywhere I want without the need to worry whether it’ll stop working or anything else.

Hyperledger Fabric v1.1 Released!

By | Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

Chris Ferris, Hyperledger TSC Chair & Hyperledger Fabric 1.1 release manager

The Hyperledger community is really starting to fire on all cylinders! Just yesterday, we added our tenth incubated project: Hyperledger Caliper – a tool for assessing performance and scale of a blockchain platform. Just over a month ago, the Hyperledger Sawtooth project published its first major release, and a few weeks ago, Hyperledger announced it added eleven new members. Finally, the levels of collaboration at the most recent Hackfest hosted by UCLA were nothing short of amazing.

Well, we have even more news: the Hyperledger Fabric maintainers are pleased to announce the availability of version 1.1.0. The new version can be upgraded in place from an existing 1.0.x installation and includes a number of new features as well as performance, scale and UX improvements. The documentation has been improved adding command references, new and improved samples and tutorials, operational tasks and a new architectural reference for some of the key components and concepts.

Some of the key new features include:

  • Node.js chaincode support- developers can now author chaincode using the most popular framework for the world’s most popular programming language
  • Channel based event service – to enable clients to subscribe to block and block transaction events on a per-channel basis.
  • Ability to package CouchDB indexes with chaincode, to improve performance
  • Ability to generate certificate revocation lists (CRLs)
  • Ability to dynamically update client identities and affiliations
  • Node.js SDK connection profiles to simplify connections to Fabric nodes
  • Mutual Transport Layer Security (TLS) between Fabric nodes, and between clients and nodes
  • Ability to encrypt ledger data for confidentiality using the chaincode encryption library
  • Attribute-based Access Control in chaincode
  • Chaincode APIs to retrieve client identity for access control decisions
  • Performance improvements for transaction throughput and response time

We’re really pleased with the progress we’ve made since we announced Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 release last summer, as are many of the platform’s adopters such as Alibaba, Belltane,  BlocLedger, IBM, Oracle, SecureKey, State Street and many others.

Belltane is building a Healthcare Provider Credentialing Application for Physicians, Insurers, Hospitals, Regulators, and Medical Schools. Initially built on Fabric 0.6, the upgrade to 1.0 required extensive rewrites and a new architectural design. So we were quite pleased with the ease of the upgrade process from 1.0 to 1.1. Essentially we simply upgraded the various components (Fabric, Go, and Node.js SDK) and rebuilt our application and redeployed. We are now excitedly modifying our application to take advantage of some of the new functionality in 1.1, in particular, the management of user attributes from the within the crypto where we had previously been required to handle that externally. Thanks to the Hyperledger Fabric contributors for providing such a smooth upgrade path and the new capabilities!” – James Worthington, CEO, Belltane

“As a community contributor to Hyperledger Fabric, we were able in hours to seamlessly migrate our software solution to the newly available Fabric v1.1 release. In addition to the many features now available with v1.1, we’re excited about the opportunity to experiment with the technology preview features planned for v1.2. With BlocLedger’s focus on leveraging blockchain to track, authenticate, and securitize e-signed documents, we’re particularly interested in assessing the positive impact PrivateDB will have on our solution.” – Eric Vaughn, Co Founder and CTO, BlocLedger.

“It has been great to see the levels of community collaboration that helped to make this release a reality. IBM aggressively tested the preliminary releases of the Hyperledger Fabric 1.1 and we are eager to deliver some key new features to the many clients of the IBM Blockchain Platform. We are seeing great results and are actively preparing for the transition to 1.1.0. Our latest offering, IBM Blockchain Starter Plan, will be among the first products in the market to deliver on this new release.” – Jerry Cuomo, VP of Blockchain Technology, IBM and the company’s representative to the Hyperledger Board

“The strength of the development community was a key reason behind Oracle’s decision to join the Hyperledger Project, and  Hyperledger Fabric 1.1 is a significant improvement we are excited to see materialize. Fabric 1.1 features, such as Node.js chaincode, enhanced security and improved performance can help address some of the key user concerns and we look forward to including these in Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service.” – Deepak Goel, senior director of blockchain software development, Oracle

“Since we started working with Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, we have recognized and benefited from a private-permissioned blockchain, allowing us to comply with data protection and confidentiality regulations. We are excited to see how version 1.1 will better protect consumers’ data and provide opportunities to collaborate with other members of the industry.” – Andre Boysen, Chief Identity Officer, SecureKey Technologies Inc.

“We see the transparency, scalability and accountability of Hyperledger Fabric to be the pillars of blockchain’s financial democracy, and we are very proud to be a part of those contributing to its building blocks.” – Moiz Kohari, chief technology architect, State Street Corporation.

So, if you haven’t given Hyperledger Fabric a try, maybe now is the time! We have a nice set of Getting Started tutorials that you can have up and running in just a few short minutes. There’s even a tutorial to upgrade an existing network from a previous 1.0.x install.

We encourage developers to join our efforts on all Hyperledger projects. You can plug into the Hyperledger community at github, Rocket.Chat the wiki or our mailing list. You can also follow Hyperledger on Twitter or email us with any questions: info@hyperledger.org.