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Developer Showcase

Developer showcase series: Raj Sadaye, Arizona State University

By | Blog, Developer Showcase, Hyperledger Composer, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Quilt

Back to our Developer Showcase Series to learn what developers in the real world are doing with Hyperledger technologies. Next up is Raj Sadaye.

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

One piece of advice I would offer someone interested in getting started with blockchain is to start working on a project or an application using the technology that they want to learn. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate or a complicated application, but could be something that has utility in the real world. While working on it, they might face difficulties or technical setbacks. The best way to tackle this is to reach out to the community of several other developers who are currently maintaining/ working on that technology. We can learn a lot by working on a project and reading the documentation thoroughly.

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?

My interest in blockchains developed when I was searching for a method to secure IoT device communication as well as make it de-centralized to increase speed. Blockchain technology turned out to be the perfect solution for this. Over the past 8 months, I’ve worked on several projects at Arizona State University’s Blockchain research Lab. In March 2018, I worked on building a PoC for a Carbon credits trading ecosystem using blockchain for Lightworks at ASU. The system enables various players of the market to control carbon emissions while maintaining sustainable growth by incentivizing carbon capturing actors. A brief description of this project can be found here. Currently, we’re working with the Center for Negative Emission of Carbon to design a way to verify capture as well as emission of carbon with minimal human intervention. My current research focus is developing a data sharing protocol that enables edge to edge communication in IoT devices. I’ve also been working on building the CSE 598: Engineering Blockchain Applications course on Coursera for Arizona State University.

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

Primarily, I’ve been working with Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Composer and overall, the experience has been really good. Hyperledger Fabric has a good set of tools to build the infrastructure for a distributed ledger solution. The certification authority is a high-quality tool that helps us with cryptographic validation and dynamically assigning certificates for actors being added to the network. Once a person is familiar with the documentation, it’s really simple to go about building applications. Hyperledger Composer is a tool that excited me the most over the last 8 month because it runs on top of Hyperledger Fabric and it can help a blockchain novice on how to build a distributed application. Both frameworks have really good tutorial sections that help developers get familiar with the technology.

As Hyperledger’s incubated projects start maturing and hit 1.0s and beyond, what are the most interesting technologies, apps, or use cases coming out as a result from your perspective?

In my opinion, supply chains and blockchain technology were always meant to go hand in hand. The most interesting app or use case that I’ve been recently come across is Everledger. Everledger rewires trust and confidence in a previously broken market by building consortiums of actors participating and maintaining provenance by supplementing blockchain technology with various other verification techniques. In the near future, I see other products also adopt such an architecture to avoid counterfeiting and adultery.


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

One issue I’m hoping to be solved using blockchain technology is verification of identity through digitization of personal documents. Verification of documents using hash-based fingerprinting assigning ownership of this digital record to the person rather than a centralized authority can help a lot in maintaining the privacy of data as well as avoiding frauds through detection of counterfeit documents being used.


Where do you hope to see Hyperledger and/or blockchain in 5 years?

In 5 years, I expect blockchain technology to move over the crypto-hype and focus on the real applications and use cases that it be integrated with. For Hyperledger, the most interesting upcoming project, in my opinion, is Hyperledger Quilt which aims to achieve interoperability in blockchains. I’d also like to see a solution within the Hyperledger project that enables seamless integration of blockchain application with the existing infrastructure.

Developer showcase series: John Greenhow, Peloton Blockchain

By | 网志, Developer Showcase, Hyperledger Composer, Hyperledger Fabric

Back to our Developer Showcase Series to learn what developers in the real world are doing with Hyperledger technologies. Next up is John Greenhow of Peloton Blockchain.

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

To anyone that wants to get started working on blockchain, my advice is to just start. As we set out, our team had to go through a headspace change similar to moving from assembly to object-oriented.

We picked a platform, picked a simple goal and ran through the installation and a test. More than once if necessary (I installed and setup Fabric twice). As soon as you physically can, look at the files on disk or in the database to see how they change – it will demystify things much more quickly.

We started off with Hyperledger Composer. This was a fantastic way in for us. It allowed us to model the business network we had envisioned and to write and test the necessary logic very quickly, all while going back to check bytes-on-disk to see how things worked under the hood.

My other piece of advice starts with an old saying, “when you’re holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. There will be use cases out there to which blockchain is not well suited as a solution, and that’s OK.  Spend time looking thinking about eco-systems and business networks and where the cost of a decentralized solution is really going to make a difference to everyone in the network.  It will pay off in the long run.

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?

Peloton Blockchain has developed software and a network for the tokenisation, issuance, discovery, listing, secondary trading and redemption of financial instruments and non-financial assets – in a way that is compliant with regulatory jurisdictions around the world.   

We can offer efficiencies in primary markets, new distribution channels for issuers and a whole new class of products for exchanges. We have 1 patent pending with 2 further patents in the pipe. Exciting times!

We’ve developed 3 products:

  • Issuer/Arranger System – this SaaS supports the tokenisation of products and publishing of new tokens or securities to a blockchain network; no development or scripting is required for new securities.
  • Blockchain Network – based on Hyperledger Fabric, this is a private, secure and scalable network designed to provide unparalleled breadth of distribution to issuers and lead arrangers; chain-code manages compliance and the full security lifecycle – we’ve built RESTful APIs to facilitate connectivity into crypto-exchanges and secure “nodes” for deployment.
  • Exchange System – an exchange trading platform designed for primary and secondary market trading of tokens and securities; we don’t (and won’t!) run a market ourselves, but we do provide the software and expertise if it’s needed to setup secondary markets.

Blockchain in general, and specifically Hyperledger Fabric, provided the best platform upon which we could build. The ability to deploy software to many different organizations and yet retain a trusted view of a ledger of security transactions and ownership opens a utopian vision for many in the capital markets. Blockchain is simply the perfect tool for this job.

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

We initially started on Composer and then moved to Fabric as we moved towards a production deployment model. We were sorry to leave Composer behind as it has so many great features – the modeling language and API generation chief among them.

Moving to Fabric involved a re-write into Golang, and we were really surprised by just how much code was needed to port what had been a fairly small project in Composer. I don’t say this to denigrate Fabric but to accentuate the power of Composer.

Our focus now is building out a production network. As well as deploying nodes to participating market operators, issuers and arrangers, we are hosting several nodes around the world to form a reliable back-bone to the network. To do this, we’ve utilized the AWS Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) and this has been a powerful tool in ensuring scalability.

We’re also looking ahead to production operations, and building web services and management consoles to automate and coordinate everything from upgrades to onboarding new network participants.

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

There are several routes available by which Hyperledger can continue to lower barriers to entry for new teams and projects. These include:

  1. A move to commoditization – installation, configuration and operation of databases, message buses, caches and many other complex software packages is out-of-the-box today. Experience in the field will contribute to incremental releases that continually shorten the time taken to be productive.
  2. Best of breed flagship – rolling together the (stable) killer features of different Hyperledger projects into a commodity enterprise project could reduce the risk stemming from dependency upon a single project and provide a single point of entry into the Hyperledger world for teams focused on solutions rather than platform evaluation. An example might include Fabric support for Composer models (or perhaps better, Composer cross-compilation to Fabric-ready Golang) packaged with Cello features pre-configured for particular use-cases.

Ongoing community out-reach, profile pieces and education remain invaluable and the more the better!

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

What really fascinates me about blockchain is that it rarely seems to be the most efficient or low-cost solution available. I’ve had endless conversations with technologists who see a simple, centralized solution as faster…easier…cheaper!

From the perspective of a single organization, this is true. Where the technology comes into its own is in making whole eco-systems of organizations more effective. Blockchain isn’t growing the one slice, it’s growing the whole damn pie.

How successful blockchain projects (in terms of adoption) are seems to depend on the benefits brought to all participants, rather than to a central orchestrator. To the central orchestrator, data is the new oil. Is that still the case if everyone has a copy of that data?

Seen through this filter, there is an implication of more broadly available efficiencies to many industries. This can only be good for economic growth in both developed and high potential markets.

Our project at Peloton Blockchain focuses directly on this, building highly connected networks of issuers, arrangers and exchanges to the benefit of all.

Where do you hope to see Hyperledger and/or blockchain in 5 years?

Ultimately blockchain is an application infrastructure layer, much like an RDBMS or messaging bus.

While there is (quite rightly) a lot of research and energy going into blockchain today, the hope is that the layer will become commoditized and that the focus will shift to the solutions that this enables for business networks.

Hyperledger already has projects that are well on the way to making this a reality and we’re really excited to see this continue.

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

Test your code!

Developer showcase series: Arielle Telesmanic, Scroll

By | 网志, Developer Showcase, Hyperledger Composer, Hyperledger Fabric

Back to our Developer Showcase Series to learn what developers in the real world are doing with Hyperledger technologies. Next up is Arielle Telesmanic of Scroll.

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

Blockchain is quite different from its centralized information system’s counterparts. It is very important to understand the fundamentals of Blockchain Technology and design a Blockchain ecosystem that is both cost effective and efficient to provide the favorable conditions needed to support industry migration or a public user base depending on intended use. Before getting to carried away at the drawing board learn about smart contracts, consensus models, blockchain states and the nature of the peer to peer distribution of data within a blockchain system. Ask yourself, “Can this scale? Is this a better alternative to traditional systems? What information do I need to record and how is this information being distilled to the right participants?

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?

Currently, I am working on the logistics and system design of three blockchain projects focused on ensuring data integrity in supply chains and streamlining data recovery in the advent of a data breach or leak. To complement the data recovery project, we are also developing a main net to strengthen the modularity and ease of use in migrating to a Blockchain. Our efforts include optimizing transaction speeds, side chain communication and a method to promote efficient change-management.

My interest in blockchain peaked as I noticed the advancements in quantum computing have been Signiant. Quantum computing’s ability to decrypt cryptosystems used in industry is concerning and there needs to be more development on quantum-resistant encryption and data verification/handling.

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

Currently, we are working with Hyperledger Fabric and Composer. Hyperledger’s framework uses chaincode which allows us to work with different states of the blockchain per transactions triggers by different applications. Out of the box, Hyperledger has promise in aiding the permissioned access to states of the ledger which is not typically supported in traditional Blockchain solutions. More information to follow on our integration efforts and contribution to the Hyperledger framework on Https://scroll.network

As Hyperledger’s incubated projects start maturing and hit 1.0s and beyond, what are the most interesting technologies, apps or use cases coming out as a result from your perspective?

Although Blockchain technology originated as a fintech solution, I am more interested in identity management and data quality assurance use cases (specifically data validity). The world is data-driven. Whether data is used to report manufacturing defects, drive patient care plans or execute a transaction that involves Personally Identifiable Information, it is of utmost importance that data is accurate.

Developer Showcase Series: Tian Chen, ArcBlock

By | 网志, Developer Showcase

Back to our Developer Showcase Series to learn what developers in the real world are doing with Hyperledger technologies. Next up is Tian Chen of ArcBlock.

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

First, get the concept and basic ideas right – read the white paper twice and think about it. Do not read the superficial blogs from the internet, which may lead you to a wrong direction. Then get your hands dirty with the node and RPC, look at the data, think about how things are working and then try to use the RPC to create small apps. After that, you will find which direction you’d like to go in – build the apps or build the infrastructure.

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?

At ArcBlock, we’re building tools that try to make developer’s lives easier. Our goal is to create an ecosystem around building dApps that is easy and joyful, not hard and tedious. We believe that blockchain technology could lead to the next revolution, and even move the entire human society. However the technology is still pretty immature -like the early internet, or pre web 2.0 internet, and building complicated apps are pretty hard. We would like to improve it. That’s why we got into blockchain.

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

The usability of Hyperledger project is a major issue to me.

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

We hope the usability issue could be solved in near future. It is not an outside world issue but the issue rooted in blockchain tech itself. We hope there becomes an easier way to use token assets without having to be super technical. 

What technology could you not live without?

Internet. of course.

      

 

Developer Showcase Series: Ian Costanzo, Anon Solutions Inc

By | 网志, Developer Showcase, Hyperledger Composer, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Indy

We return back to our Developer Showcase blog! This series serves to highlight the work and motivations of developers, users and researchers collaborating on Hyperledger’s projects. Next up is Ian Costanzo from Anon Solutions Inc. Let’s dig in!

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

Learn the fundamentals, and then get involved in an interesting open source project.

Working with Bitcoin is one of the best ways to learn the fundamentals of blockchain. The original white paper lays the groundwork in a clear and concise way, and there is a significant amount of documentation and examples available. Once you have a good understanding of the basic cryptography, merkle trees, proof of work, etc, it is much easier to work with more complex frameworks, which tend to layer on additional functionality (and complexity).

Then find an open source project and get involved. No matter what your interest there is probably a existing project in with a need for contributions in a number of areas. Documentation, introductory tutorials and testing are common needs. I’ve been involved in a few projects, and I’ve found there is always enthusiastic support (via slack, rocketchat, telegram, etc.) for new participants.

Also check for local meetups – I’m fortunate that in Vancouver there are a lot of blockchain enthusiasts, many meetups, and I’ve met quite a few interesting characters.

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’m working with the BC Government on their Verifiable Organizations Network (VON) project (https://github.com/bcgov/von) using Hyperledger Indy.  I got involved in a roundabout kind of way.

Originally I was working with a homeless shelter in Calgary (https://www.calgarydropin.ca/) – they had recently implemented a new CRM and were looking at ways they could improve service to their clients by (securely) collaborating with other service providers. Their primary concerns were security of personal information, and respect for the sovereignty of individuals to control their own information, where possible. I did a survey of the technology space, and found that the Sovrin network (and Hyperledger Indy) was a clear fit for their requirement. I was lucky enough to get in touch with the BC group who were working with the same technology, and then fortunate to be able to participate in their project.

I’m interested in how blockchain can be used to help protect our personal information, and give us more autonomy and control over how our information is shared and used.

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

I’m working with Hyperledger Indy, with the BC Government. My role has been to scale up the solution to handle enterprise requirements, including large data volumes and transaction throughputs.  It’s been a fascinating experience, because I get to work with a lot of very smart people in the BC Government, as well as at Sovrin, Evernym and the whole Indy community.  The technology is new, which is interesting, but we’re also exploring new ways in how the technology is being applied, which creates lots of challenges and opportunities.

Specifically I’ve been working on an Enterprise Wallet for the central credential “holder.” I’ve updated the wallet to support multiple identities and millions of credentials, and to run in an enterprise micro-services deployment. I’m excited for the next round of SDK wallet development, which is going to introduce wallet meta-data, native encryption and improved search capabilities, which are all going to support functionality the team is planning to add in the coming months.

I’d also like to mention that the BC team is working in partnership with the governments of Ontario and Canada. In Victoria we work out of the government’s “Innovation Center”, which is focussed on public/private partnerships and support for the open source community. All the work we are doing is open source, available for use, and we welcome new collaborators.

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

Ease of use for new developers, as well as scalability. Ease of use is something that Ethereum (for example) has done a very good job with. Solidity is pretty simple to learn, and you can write very sophisticated blockchain applications without having to get too deep into the weeds. This is why Ethereum is one of the most widely used blockchain platforms. The downside of Ethereum is scalability (Crypto Kitties almost brought down the whole network) but that is something they are putting some resources into.

I’ve worked with Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Indy, and I think anyone will agree that these are very complex technologies!  In order to get more widespread adoption documentation, training and tooling are critical. Their strength is that they are more specialized networks, however they come with a very steep learning curve, and this is something that needs to be addressed.

For Hyperledger Fabric, the introduction of Composer for application development was a huge step forward. Hyperledger Indy (what I am mostly working with now) could use similar tooling. There is work in progress on documentation and developer tools, but the more focus in this area the better!

As a private network, Hyperledger Fabric may not suffer from the same scalability concerns as public networks, but Indy supports a public network (Sovrin) so scalability is definitely a concern.

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

I like to think that blockchain can be used for the benefit of humanity, rather than just providing a living for those of us fortunate enough to be working with the technology.

Self sovereign identity has a lot of potential, putting information under the control of the individual rather than large corporations, allowing us to (selectively) share with our friends and colleagues, without having to worry about our information being mined and mis-used.  Also being able to benefit disadvantaged populations, like refugees and the homeless.

Privacy is another potential benefit of blockchain, having the ability to secure personal information, as well as being able to communicate and transact anonymously.

I’ve seen a lot of other really interesting applications proposed or prototyped, like using cryptocurrency to distribute aid directly to recipients (reducing the risk of graft), or using blockchain to track ethically captured tuna. I’m excited (and hopeful) for the future of this technology.

What technology could you not live without?

I resisted getting a smartphone for a long time, because I have a bit of a technology addiction. (I also don’t own a TV because I would just end up watching it all the time.) Now I have an Android phone, and I’m in constant communication. I always know the answer to every question (thanks Google) and where to go for lunch or the best route to get to the ferry. When I get involved in an interesting technology (like blockchain!) I become a bit of a workaholic and spend far too much time on the computer.

So the best technology for me is sometimes no technology at all. Leave the phone behind and go for a walk, to clear my mind. Sit down with a pen and paper to solve some problems, rather than try to work it out at the computer (This forces me to do some actual programming for a change, rather than just cut and pasting from StackExchange.) Read the newspaper rather than my news feed online.

Until the nervous twitching starts and I have to reach for my phone!