Category

Hyperledger Composer

Developer showcase series: Raj Sadaye, Arizona State University

By 网志, 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.

Conducting Data with Concerto and Hyperledger Fabric

By 网志, Hyperledger Composer, Hyperledger Fabric

 

Guest post: Dan Selman, Maintainer Hyperledger Composer, Accord Project Cicero, CTO Clause Inc.

 

Is the business logic in your blockchain chaincode hard to find because it is buried in code that is doing JSON serialization and data validation? Are you developing REST APIs by hand for your domain model? The good news is that there is now a better way!

In this article for developers and blockchain solution architects, I introduce the Concerto npm module and show you how you can use it from Hyperledger Fabric v1.3 Node.js chaincode.

Concerto is a lightweight, 100% JavaScript schema language and runtime. It works in both a Node.js process or in your browser. The browserified version of Concerto is ±280 KB and the maintainers are working to make it even smaller.

Concerto has recently been modularized and moved out of Hyperledger Composer into the composer-concerto npm module, so you can use it in your Node.js applications,  Fabric Node.js chaincode or even in your web browser!

Things you can do using Concerto:

  • Define an object-oriented model using a domain-specific language that is much easier to read and write than JSON/XML Schema, XMI or equivalents. The metamodel gives you “just enough” expressivity to capture real-world business models, while remaining easy to map to most runtime environments.
  • Optionally edit your models using a powerful VS Code add-on with syntax highlighting and validation
  • Create runtime instances of your model
  • Serialize your instances to JSON
  • Deserialize (and optionally validate) instances from JSON
  • Introspect the model using a powerful set of APIs
  • Convert the model to other formats including JSON Schema, XML Schema, Java, Go, Typescript, Loopback, PlantUML…
  • Generate dynamic web-forms from your data model and bind them to JSON data
  • Import models from URLs
  • Publish your reusable models to any website, including the Accord Project Open Source model repository, hosted at: https://models.accordproject.org

Sidebar: Why Use Models?

All software applications have a data or domain model.

Models are required to create generic tools because you need to reason about the structure of user-defined domain models. As soon as you want to implement something like an Object-Relational-Mapper or REST API browser or web-form generator, you need a data model.

The data model for your application can either be implicit (duck typing…) or explicit. If it is explicit, it can be expressed using a wide range of technology including XML Schema, JSON Schema, protobufs, NoSQL design documents, Loopback schema, Java classes, Go structs, RDBMS tables, ad-hoc JSON or YAML documents…the list is almost endless.

These different model representations make different trade-offs with respect to:

  • Integration with computation
  • Optimization of serialization/wire format
  • Cross-platform usage
  • Industry acceptance
  • Human readability and editability
  • Expressiveness of the metamodel
  • Composability and reuse

If developers define models as part of application development, they tend to favour creating Java classes, Go structs, Typescript or similar, because they want to express the model in a language they are familiar with and that integrates closely with the type-system used for computation. The major downside with this approach is that it is almost impossible to then share and reuse these models outside of a single application. It also doesn’t integrate well with modern application development, where we may use different technology across the web, mobile, middle and backend tiers of an application. Out of sync models (or model mapping) is a huge source of anguish and bugs.

When industry-standard bodies define models, they tend to favour representations that are more cross-platform and less tied to computation, such as publishing XML Schemas. Developers tend not to like using these models because the mapping from things like XML Schema to Java classes or Go structs for use at runtime is lossy/messy/complex.

Concerto solves many of these problems by providing an Object-Oriented schema language that allows models to be moved outside of applications while mapping quite naturally to most common programming languages. We like to think of it as a “goldilocks” approach to modeling, “just enough” to cover most business use cases, with a natural mapping to most common programming languages, and with a JSON serialization.

An example

I’ve published a detailed code sample for Node.js chaincode and a HLF v1.3 client so you can start to experiment with using Concerto in HLF v1.3 Node.js chaincode: https://github.com/clauseHQ/fabric-samples/blob/master/concerto/README.md

The sample shows you how to deploy Concerto models to the blockchain and then use the models to validate instances and to serialize them to JSON for long-lived persistence.

Editing a Concerto model using the Concerto Form Generator

 

The sample defines a simple Concerto domain model for an employee, which is deployed to the blockchain.
Here is the definition of the Concerto model:

namespace io.clause

enum Gender {

  o MALE

  o FEMALE

  o OTHER

}

asset Employee identified by email {

  o String email

  o String firstName

  o String lastName

  o String middleName optional

  o Gender gender

  o DateTime startDate

  o DateTime terminationDate optional

}

The sample then uses the model to validate instances and to serialize them to JSON for long-lived persistence on the blockchain.

A React form, dynamically generated from the Concerto model

First the client creates a valid instance of an employee, and the chaincode validates it and stores it on the blockchain:

{ 

$class : 'io.clause.Employee',

email : 'bob@clause.io',

firstName: 'Bob',

lastName: 'Concerto',

gender: 'MALE',

startDate : Date.now()

}

When the client attempts to create an instance that is missing the required firstName field:

{

$class : 'io.clause.Employee',

email : 'bob@clause.io',

lastName: 'Concerto',

gender: 'MALE',

startDate : Date.now()

}

The instance fails validation, and the chaincode refuses to create the instance:

ValidationException: Instance io.clause.Employee#bob@clause.io missing required field firstName

What’s next?

We’ve just scratched the surface of what you can do with Concerto. The metamodel is flexible enough to capture almost any business domain model.

Here are some ideas for what to do next:

  • Generate Java, Go, XML Schema or Typescript code from your Concerto models, ensuring that other parts of your application infrastructure are all in sync with your canonical Concerto model. For any Open Source models that have been published to https://models.accordproject.org you can download these directly from the webpage.
  • Embed the Concerto Form Generator into your web application to dynamically generate web forms based on Concerto models.
  • Generate a Loopback schema from your Concerto model, and then use the Loopback framework to expose your modelled assets as a REST API.
  • Import types from the Open Source Accord Project Model Repository into your models: https://models.accordproject.org or publish your models to the Model Repository, or to any HTTP(S) site for import and reuse by others.
  • You can even write Accord Project legal contracts and type-safe Ergo logic over the types you’ve modelled. That’s an article for another day, however!

Get Involved!

If you are using Concerto already or would like to get involved with improving it further, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. In the true spirit of Open Source we welcome all contributions.

 

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!

 

Developer Showcase Series: Jean-Louis (JL) Marechaux, JDA Labs

By 网志, Hyperledger Composer, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Indy

Image: Jean-Louis (JL) Marechaux, JDA Labs

We return back to our Developer Showcase blog series, which serves to highlight the work and motivations of developers, users and researchers collaborating on Hyperledger’s projects. Next up is JL Marechaux from JDA Labs. Let’s see what he has to say!

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

The first advice I would offer is what I give on every single new technology adoption: Clearly identify the business need, and make sure that blockchain is appropriate to meet business needs. Blockchain is not a silver bullet. There are a couple of use-cases where blockchain is absolutely not the right answer. Be sure you assess blockchain applicability in your context.

I would also recommend to take an incremental and iterative approach for new Blockchain initiatives. Decompose your business problem to identity a simple use-case, something that can be described as an agile story. Implement this first story in a small prototype, to get familiar with core blockchain concepts. Then incrementally add new capabilities to your blockchain solution.

There are plenty of resources to help when you start a blockchain project. I personally recommend the Hyperledger online documentation, as it cover the key concepts and provide practical tutorials. Moreover, a tool like Hyperledger Composer is an easy way to define and test a business network with minimal investment. To me, Composer is a pretty good platform for an early blockchain prototype.

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 at JDA Labs, which is the R&D entity of JDA Software. The company has a focus on the supply chain and the retail industry, and we provide software solution to support the digital transformation of our customers. Because we are interested in digital transactions between multiple parties, blockchain seems to be a natural fit to address some automation and traceability problems. When products transit all over the world, through multiple countries and multiple companies, I believe that blockchain can help provide a better end-to-end visibility of the supply chain.

I started to be interested in blockchain when I was working at IBM. Around 2015 or 2016, I was part of an internal initiative to identify blockchain use cases for different industries. I had the opportunity to discuss with people far more knowledgeable than me in this area, and to learn basic concepts. When I started at JDA, I was exposed to a new business domain, and it quickly became obvious that blockchain could improve supply chain transparency and traceability. So I decided do more research and experimentation in this area.

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?

I see a lot of value in all the Hyperledger projects, so it is difficult to mention just a few.

But given my current job and my focus at this time, I would select Hyperledger Fabric and Indy.

Because it supports permissioned networks, Hyperledger Fabric seems appropriate in a supply chain environment where participants are usually known and vetted. The channel capability in Fabric provides a data partitioning mechanism to restrict visibility to some participants, which is required for some some business transactions. Hyperledger Fabric is based on a modular and scalable architecture to support most business needs.

I have not explored Hyperledger Indy capabilities yet, but given the nature of a blockchain business network, it seems important to have a strong mechanism to manage decentralized identities.

In addition to the blockchain frameworks, I am quite interested in the different tools (e.g. Composer , Explorer) that are developed under the Hyperledger umbrella to facilitate and accelerate blockchain adoption.

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

As a consumer, I always wonder where the products I buy are coming from. I can sometime get that information reading the product label, but can I really believe what is written? Why should I trust the organic certification body? Organic food fraud is massive. Traceability on fair trade products is weak. Provenance of consumer goods is nearly impossible to obtain.

Blockchain technologies can solve this problem by enabling full transparency and traceability on products. As a consumer, I would love to be able to scan a product in a store with my smartphone and get the proof of origin through a blockchain.

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

“If you want to eat an elephant, do it one bite at a time.” This comes from an old saying, but I remember receiving that advice for software development, long before Agile practices were popular. To be able to deliver complex software solution, it is important to have the big picture first, to understand the end goal. But then the best approach to deliver the solution is to adopt a step by step approach to incrementally develop the software.

And of course, I was told many times to read the manual. The “RTFM” acronym cannot be repeated often enough.

I think those two tips are relevant for any blockchain project.

(8.6.18) InfoQ: Evaluating Hyperledger Composer

By Hyperledger Composer, News

I have been following the three-year-old Hyperledger Fabric open-source project since its code base moved to GitHub about two years ago. The Hyperledger projects are hosted by the Linux Foundation and sponsored mostly by IBM. They promote the use of what are known as private, or permissioned, blockchains. With a public blockchain, the first anonymous miner who solves a cryptographic puzzle gets to commit the next block of ledger entries to the chain. Private blockchains solve the consensus problem among authenticated peers using algorithms such as Raft or Paxos.

More here. 

Meet the Hyperledger Summer 2018 Interns Part 2

By 网志, Hyperledger Composer, Hyperledger Fabric

We first announced the return of Hyperledger’s Summer Internship Program back in March. The program offers students one-on-one mentorship from some of the leading technologists in our community and builds their development portfolio with projects that will feed into the larger Hyperledger ecosystem. The students applied to work on an extensive line-up of internship projects proposed by our community mentors.

In case you missed the first post in this series, it included information about six of our interns. Today, we’d like to introduce the other six interns, see what they will be working on and help you get to know them a bit better. We asked each intern a few questions including:

  1. How did you first become interested in blockchain, and why are you excited to work on Hyperledger and your project in particular?
  2. How do you see blockchain technology evolving over the next five years?
  3. If there’s one or issue you hope blockchain can solve, what is it and why?

Let’s see what they had to say!

Daniel McSheehy

Pursuing a Bachelor’s in electrical engineering at the University of Texas

Hyperledger intern project: Hyperledger Fabric Chrome Extension

1. I was originally intrigued by Etherium and the possibilities of smart contracts. I worked on an Etherium game called EtherStocks based on these smart contracts. A user would use a chrome extension wallet called MetaMask that the website would detect and all the users assets and data would load. The user would never have to login and all the assets were safely stored in the user’s wallet. This is similar to my Hyperledger project, which is to build a chrome extension that can securely access the Fabric network and opt in to allow websites access to certain data. This could make Hyperledger Fabric more accessible but still very secure.

2. Before widespread adoption of blockchain, blockchain technology needs to be more scalable with reduced transaction costs and computational power. I predict there will also be advancements in permissioned blockchains such as Hyperledger Fabric that deal with security and storing sensitive information. Permissioned blockchains could then replace current IT infrastructures such as medical or supply chains.

3. In emerging countries, there is often a problem with a lack of stable currency and available capital. While obviously cryptocurrencies can replace unstable currencies, there’s also an opportunity for regulated blockchain crowdfunding. Startups in emerging countries could be offered funding from thousands of people all over the world. With smart contracts, these startups would be held accountable to continue to receive funding.

Shuo Wang

Pursuing a Master’s degree in computer science at Tsinghua University in China

Hyperledger intern project: Design Effective Operational Platform for Blockchain Management

1. I read the original paper on Bitcoin in 2016 and became attracted by its decentralized way to build trust. It is amazing to keep the whole system working without a centralized third party.

Hyperledger focuses on developing distributed ledgers among parties in an industry consortium. It aims at better performance and flexible smart contracts to support complex applications. I believe permissioned blockchain will change the business models of more and more industries, and Hyperledger is playing a leading role in that era of innovation. My internship project is for Hyperledger Cello, where I will be  building an operational platform to manage blockchain. I feel excited to work on Cello and help develop blockchain as a service.

2. Cryptocurrency has aroused great public interest in the last few years. More importantly, blockchain has introduced us to the philosophy of building decentralized trust, and we are exploring how it can change our lives in various aspects. In the next five years, I think blockchain will achieve higher transaction throughput with lower latency, which is currently a bottleneck to support business applications. Blockchain platforms will become more mature and secure so that companies will have the confidence to handle their business processes in blockchain. Based on this, more novel business models will come forth to change the world fundamentally, and I feel excited to be part of this process.

3. The supply chain is a great application scenario where blockchain can make a significant difference. Different parties in the supply chain share a distributed ledger of business transactions. Blockchain could make the whole process of supply chain more traceable and transparent. In addition, blockchain’s immutability helps the transaction records gain more trust from the financial institution. It is essential to the small and medium-sized enterprise because they could obtain more credit and more loans based on their business operation history in the blockchain.

Dixing Xu

Pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Information and Computing Sciences at the Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University

Hyperledger intern project: Hyperledger Fabric SDK-py

1. During my second year of university, I joined a research team and did some research on cryptocurrency trading with deep reinforcement learning [1]. Although it’s not necessary to learn the technology behind what you trade, I found the idea of decentralized currency fascinating and learned how to implement some test nets to play around with. Later, I participated in a hackathon, and our team used Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Composer to build a decentralized house-renting platform [2]. Hyperledger Fabric is very friendly for developers to build applications with a modular architecture. However, Hyperledger Fabric only supports Java & NodeJS SDK. So I want to help the community develop a Python SDK since Python is very popular among AI researchers and data scientists. I am really excited to see the interaction between the Hyperledger and the data science communities.

2. It is hard to tell where blockchain technology will lead to in five years since the technology is evolving very fast with many talented people are contributing. In my opinion, there will be more efficient algorithms to reach consensus balancing among speed, scalability and finality. More and more developers will get interested in developing DApps or writing smart contracts. I also see an exciting usage named “predictive smart contracts.” An example is GainForest [3], where the team use smart contracts to reward people for saving forestland  and neural networks to predict the deforestation for the area.The reward can be adjusted based on the risk determined by the prediction. Combined with blockchain and AI, the smart contracts formed strategic incentives from data. I think such applications that combine blockchain and other state-of-art technologies are very exciting and we will see more in the next five years.

3. I hope blockchain will solve the issue of inefficiency in value-based transactions and administration of central authority. With distributed ledgers, it is very easy to track records of all transactions and verify the validity of the transaction. There are several reasons for adopting blockchain technology. First, it can reduce the cost and simplify the logic. The ledger is not a new concept, but, with the openness of Internet and the security of cryptography, blockchain provides a faster and safer way to verify key information and establish trust. Last but not least, with smart contracts, one can easily build an autonomous system that improves the efficiency of verification and execution.

[1] Jiang, Zhengyao, Dixing Xu, and Jinjun Liang. “A Deep Reinforcement Learning Framework for the Financial Portfolio Management Problem.” arXiv preprint arXiv:1706.10059(2017).

[2] “DSharing” hackx.org, www.hackx.org/projects/169

[3] Dao, David. “Predictive Smart Contracts” Medium, 23 Nov. 2017, medium.com/@daviddao/predictive-smart-contracts-dc15b9986d8c.

Roger (Meng Kang) Hsieh

Pursuing a Masters degree in management information systems at National Chengchi University in Taiwan

Hyperledger Intern Project: Utilizing Hyperledger Fabric to Develop Supply Chain Application

1. At first, I heard about blockchain and Bitcoin from my friends. I didn’t know much about them. But then the price of Bitcoin grew and grew, and I started to get interested. This is the first time I am studying blockchain. My lab focus has been on fintech. I study deep learning and distributed computation. But we found that we need blockchain to verify whether our prediction results are worthy of trust. So I devoted myself to blockchain. I found Hyperledger Fabric to have many advantages like that it is open source and has a unique mechanism. I am looking forward to building a blockchain application. I am excited to work on my supply chain project. I hope I can succeed in building the project and making myself more proficient in technological and English speaking skills.

2. Blockchain is very important. It can make record immutable and can be anonymous or published. So I think blockchain will become an industry infrastructure norm like the internet. As long as the threshold is  easier. It can be easy to deploy on a server and easy to develop an application. Hyperledger, Ethereum … and so on will compete to become leaders of blockchain industry. Like iOS, Android and Windows.

3. I hope blockchain can accomplish financial information transparency. I hope it can make the government become more efficient and reduce corruption. And make supply chain information open to everyone so farmers, workers and the poor can get what they should get. With smart contracts, we can offer donations and scholarships when the right conditions are achieved. With blockchain we can make the world better.

Ugobame Uchibeke

Pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in computer Science and psychology at University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Hyperledger intern project: Hyperledger Composer Modelling Tools

1. My interest in blockchain was sparked by a meetup I attended in Toronto in the spring of 2017. I was amazed by the potentials of blockchain as demonstrated by a sample coffee seller and grower blockchain network. The talk and demo inspired me to learn more about the technology and start exploring platforms that are built on it. Around the same time, I got a offer to work at the Royal Bank of Canada in the Amplify Program with 54 other students from three countries who were brought into the bank to solve some of the bank’s biggest challenges using the latest and greatest technology. My project used Hyperledger, and we won two  of four awards and $25,000. We also filled a provisional patent. After this, I was hooked. I then went on to do some more blockchain work and wrote a research paper to be presented in the 2018 IEEE International Conference on Blockchain.

2. The original paper by Satoshi was for a network that was truly open and decentralized. This is good for many use cases like for Bitcoin and some cryptocurrencies. However, blockchain technology, the engine driving these cryptocurrencies, has more potential and can change the way we do business by digitally enabling more entreprises to be more robust, secure and profitable. In the next f ive years, I see private and permissioned blockchains being used by many companies to streamline their processes, enhance auditability and compliance, provide transparency and modernize security. For me, this is one of blockchain’s greatest potentials, and Hyperledger is at the forefront of this technological shift and disruption.

3. The fashion industry is full of many innovative and creative people who come up with ideas and design new clothes and trends. Sadly, they often do not get credit for for their work or they have the design copied by large fashion companies. A recent case was a shirt designed by Word, a woman-owned branding agency, to raise money for planned parenthood. Their design was later stolen and mass-produced by Forever21, the big fast-fashion brand. This is sad and I think something can be done about it. I would like to see us being able to store, verify, transfer, revoke and contest our rights to a design on the blockchain. I am passionate about this because my mother was a fashion designer who started with less than $5 and grew her business to many states in Nigeria, trained and sponsored more than 100 women, and came up with new ways to design clothes but did not get credit for her work. It’s personal for me and I would like to see upcoming fashion designers get credit for their work. I am looking forward to a time when we can do this on a blockchain network, and I am eager to continue learning and contributing to the advancement of blockchain technology.

Martin Martinez

A PhD student studying distributed systems, security in IoT and blockchain-related systems at the University of Southern California

Hyperledger intern project: Simulating Hyperledger Networks with Shadow

1. The first time I heard about a blockchain-related system was actually when I found out about Bitcoin. A few years ago, my curiosity led me to search around the web for information about how governments, organizations and even hackers could eventually track any individual who had Internet access. While reading about identity protection and how computer networks work, I came across Tor and how this system makes it more difficult to trace a user in the network. Additionally, I found out that, in order to make online transactions untraceable, users used a cryptocurrency called Bitcoin in this platform. Then, five  years later, my advisor started a blockchain class at my university, and I found out blockchain was the technology behind Bitcoin. The class involved multiple reading assignments about developments that shaped the blockchain landscape, which made me aware of the endless possibilities of this technology. Because of this, and after reading the paper written by Satoshi Nakamoto, I learn that blockchain as a technology had a bright future in lots of different applications.

Particularly, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work on my project, which involves the use of the Shadow network simulation tool currently used by Bitcoin and Tor deployments but not yet for Hyperledger. I believe there is a vast potential for what currently Hyperledger can offer, and I am looking forward to working with David, my mentor, and the rest of The Linux Foundation community to integrate the Shadow tool as a viable solution for simulating and assessing the performance of blockchain deployments in Hyperledger networks.

2. Similar to Satoshi Nakamoto, I believe that blockchain is not just the technology behind Bitcoin but a large-scale platform that will enable advancements in other fields. As a result, I can see advancements empowered by blockchain in fields such as storage (guaranteed immutability and protection of data), supply chain (quality verification of the goods) and even data mining (aggregation and distribution of the training data set). Over the next five years, more and more industries will embrace blockchain due to its properties and, in the long run, this will benefit society as well.

3. I am from Peru and I can see how the agricultural industry is still one of our strongest sources of income. However, at the same time, I consider that sometimes bigger companies take advantage of the small farmers by buying those supplies at a lower rate than what the market has to offer. Therefore, if these farmers could empower their product by showing their high quality and checking this information in a inmutable and distributed way, which is where blockchain can help, this will force bigger companies to offer a fair price for them. It can also help these companies keep track of the quality and ensure and show it to the end customers. Another problem that I see that my country sometimes faces is in the healthcare industry. Sometimes, health records for every patient are not provided during a transfer  from one clinic or hospital to another. This lack of information causes delays or even a bad diagnosis due to missing documentation of previous symptoms. Therefore, I believe blockchain and its immutability property could help patients to be able to transfer all their information between organizations while saving time and, sometimes, saving lives.

That’s it for all of our interns this summer! We look forward to seeing all that they can contribute to the Hyperledger community.

We hope you join them in the effort by contributing to Hyperledger projects. You can plug into the Hyperledger community at github, Rocket.Chat the wiki or our mailing list. As always, you can keep up with what’s new with Hyperledger on Twitter or email us with any questions: info@hyperledger.org.

 

LocalTrail Takes On Farm-to-Table Supply Chain with Hyperledger Fabric and Composer

By 网志, Events, Hyperledger Composer, Hyperledger Fabric

Pictured left to right: Brian Behlendorf, Rachel Black, Paco Garcia, Piers Powelesland, Saif Abu Hashish, Kevin Kim and Tracy Kuhrt

With the goal of highlighting the value of blockchain beyond payments and digital currency, the Consensus 2018 Building Blocks Hackathon challenged teams of developers to tap into the robust programming capabilities of technologies to build applications with use cases in industries ranging from capital markets trading, food supply chain, digital rights management, new peer-to-peer insurance models, and the internet of things. Participants were able to build on top of any blockchain protocol including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Hyperledger etc.

The Winning Team: Localtrail

The process of establishing a data trail of the food from farm-to-warehouse-to-market-to-retailer is very manual and incentivizes dishonest behavior. There is no effective way of trustlessly knowing if food is coming from the place that retailers say it is. The team behind LocalTrail, Rachel Black, Paco Garcia, Saif Abu Hashish, Piers Powlesland and Kevin Kim took on the challenge of providing transparency in the food and dairy supply chain. They’re aim was to make it possible to track the provenance of groceries and meals, as they reach the consumers’ plate. The end result was Localtrail, a community-first, transparent blockchain solution that tracks produce from farm to supply center to the end user, bringing accountability and trust to the farm-to-fork social movement.

To build the solution, the team used Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Composer and Tieron’s Chainpoint Node API. They coded in React Native and JavaScript.

According to Piers Powlesland and Rachel Black from the Localtrail team:

“Given the task of providing a supply chain system that would connect many small businesses we wanted to minimise the need for expensive infrastructure, and since the target sector was agricultural we also wanted to provide a system that would be easy to learn and use for non technical people. Consequently we decided to make the system available via a mobile app due to the ubiquity of mobile devices and people’s familiarity with them. We used react-native to build the app so that we could target both Android and iOS with a single app, and also have the option of turning it into a desktop web-app with minimal adjustments.”

“For the server-side blockchain implementation we chose Hyperledger Composer. Its user friendly graphical interface, allowed us to dive in and get started straight away, and its modeling language mapped well to our problem domain. It also helped a lot that the perishable-network sample project demonstrated a system very similar to the one we wanted to create. Furthermore Composer’s ability to automatically generate a REST api from a contract, meant that integration with our react native front end was a straightforward and familiar process.”

The Value Chain for Localtrail

The users of the Localtrail application include farmers, who grow the food, package it, and enter data; warehouse employees, who scan, perform QA check and ship to a market; market employees, who scan and perform QA check and sell to retailers; retailers, who scan and perform QA check, and serve food to end consumers; and the end consumers, who view the data from the process.

Congrats to the Localtrail team for creating an application that showed the power blockchain can provide within the food supply chain by improving transparency and trackability. We’re excited to see where they take this application. You can get the Localtrail code at https://github.com/piersy/LocalTrailHyperledgerComposer and https://github.com/rachelyoti/food-app-front-end.

You can also plug into the Hyperledger community at github, Rocket.Chat the wiki or our mailing list. As always, you can keep up with what’s new with Hyperledger on Twitter or email us with any questions: info@hyperledger.org.

Developer Showcase Series: Thomas Brooke, Brooke and Brooke Attorneys

By 网志, Hyperledger Composer, Hyperledger Fabric

Image: Thomas Brooke, Brooke and Brooke Attorneys

Next up in our Developer Showcase blog series is Thomas Brooke from Brooke and Brooke Attorneys. This blog series serves to highlight the work and motivations of developers, users and researchers collaborating on Hyperledger’s projects. Let’s see what Thomas has to say!

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

There is so much information out there and it is changing so rapidly that I would recommend keeping an open mind. It is impossible to tell what the blockchain ecosystem will look like even a year from now not to mention five years from now. With that being said I think I would pick a platform and build a project with blockchain technology or just play with it to get a feel of actually working with it. There is so much hype and conflicting opinions now and I think the best way to get a clear picture of the technology is to use it some way and see what it can do as opposed to what it might do.

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 am a practicing lawyer and a part time developer. I am very involved in the legal hacker movement and, no we do not hack into bank accounts or email accounts. We are an International group of lawyers interested in change, technology and ways to improve law. We want to “hack” law to make it better. This naturally lead me to look at “smart Contracts”, blockchain and Hyperledger. 

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

I am actually working on two projects. The first is the Cicero Project where I am volunteering in the technology workgroup. Cicero is a smart contract platform that allows legally enforceable contract language to be bound to executable business logic.

Cicero uses Hyperledger Composer and currently works with Hyperledger Fabric, both of which are currently in the Hyperledger project. To create a smart contract with Cicero you create a model of the relevant concepts, assets, and participants in the contract using Composer’s model language. The clause or contract is the text of the legal contract that works with the model and the business logic is currently encoded in javascript. As Cicero matures the team will develop a domain specific language for describing legal contracts.

A complete contract or Clause as it is known in Cicero can then be used as a template to create an instance of the contract that can be executed in conjunction with a blockchain such as Hyperledger Fabric or in conjunction with an API call to another resource. Cicero clauses can interact with the internet of things, web services or blockchains to create dynamic contracts that can automatically respond to changing conditions.

The second project I am working is a smaller scale project where we are making a a token based barter system for Main Street Mission a Food Pantry located in China Grove, North Carolina, my hometown. We are developing it using Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Composer. China Grove was a town that was hit hard when the local cotton mills closed and even though that was several years ago it still has not recovered. Main Street Mission has been in existence for about 10 years and it currently gives out food several days a week to about 350 households per month.

At Main Street Mission we are changing our method of operation and we are creating a more empowering system that uses tokens to create a shopping experience for our neighbors. We are using design thinking to actively involve our community in developing our new system. In our plan, people can earn tokens by participating in one of our classes or by helping at the mission. They will be able to spend their tokens on food from the pantry and participants will be able to exchange tokens with one another for food and services. We hope to create a small barter economy based on our tokens or Barts as we call them. We do not need the multiple peers or a sophisticated consensus system but the tools provided by Hyperledger Fabric and Composer are well designed and approachable, even for a small project like ours.

While blockchain has obvious advantages in large exchanges and supply chains I believe that the real test for a new technology is how well it can scale downward to help everybody. I recently gave a talk about blockchain and at the end someone asked; “This all sounds great but how is this going to help the small guy, the person with a mom and pop store.” One of our goals at Main Street Mission is to find out.

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

Simplifying blockchain to make it usable across a wide spectrum of use cases.

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

My developer hero is Rich Hickey, the developer of Clojure. One of his more famous quotes is:

”Simplicity is hard work. But, there’s a huge payoff. The person who has a genuinely simpler system – a system made out of genuinely simple parts, is going to be able to affect the greatest change with the least work. He’s going to kick your ass. He’s gonna spend more time simplifying things up front and in the long haul he’s gonna wipe the plate with you because he’ll have that ability to change things when you’re struggling to push elephants around.”

https://hvops.com/articles/simplicity-is-key/

What technology could you not live without?

My MacBook