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Hyperledger Fabric

Running Productivity Apps on Hyperledger Fabric

By 网志, Hyperledger Fabric

What do you think of when you hear “smart contracts”? Cryptocurrencies? Tokenization of assets? Automating financial agreements?

But what could be more critical to your business than the tools you use to get your tasks done? Whether it’s a to-do list, internal communications, or even tracking time-off, these are key processes at the heart of everyday organizations. Any application or workflow that involves collaboration — between organizations, individuals, or even software systems — can benefit from a robust and secure definition of the processes involved.

OpenWork is a suite of smart contract-powered productivity apps. Thanks to the fact that the smart contracts are written in DAML, they can run on Fabric, Sawtooth, and Besu thanks to the community integrations. For more information about OpenWork, check out our series of posts on why we did this, a dive into the apps and their features, and where we plan on taking OpenWork.

In this post, we’ll walk you through the process of getting Board, OpenWork’s Kanban-style project management app, running locally on a Hyperledger Fabric network (you can see a running version here). The final stack will look something like the following diagram.

Getting Set Up

Prerequisite services:

  • Git
  • Docker
  • Scala with SBT
  • The DAML SDK
  • Python 3 with the dazl library installed (pip3 install dazl)
  • Node and Yarn

Files:

1. Running the Fabric Network

The DAML on Fabric repo comes with a test fixture for running a local 5 node deployment:

$ cd daml-on-fabric/src/test/fixture
$ ./restart_fabric.sh

Once that’s up and running, you’ll need to start the DAML service. One bit of housekeeping: you might need to update sbt.version in project/build.properties to match your local SBT version (latest is 1.3.8). Next, we’ll want to start the DAML Ledger API Server and load the ChainCode onto the endorser peers. In the root daml-on-fabric folder:

 $ sbt "run --port 6865 --role provision,time,ledger,explorer danban/quickstart/danban-upgrade-3.0.0.dar" 

2. Prime the Ledger

We’ll need some data on the ledger to get started. Some parties will need to be onboarded onto the ledger and then a new app contract will need to be instantiated. The fabric-quickstart folder contains some simple scripts to simplify this process:

$ cd danban/quickstart
$ daml ledger allocate-parties
$ python3 setup.py

3. Running the Frontend

Finally, we’ll want to run the frontend. It’s a fairly standard client-side Web app, but as the ledger API is gRPC, we’ll need an HTTP server for the app to talk to. To start the HTTP JSON API server:

$ cd ../client
$ daml json-api --ledger-host=localhost --ledger-port=6865 --http-port=7575
$ yarn install && yarn start

The app should open in your browser on a login page. DAML ledgers are flexible regarding user authentication, but the examples here use a JWT based scheme (you can read more here). For this example, you can log in as the user “Alice” with the following JWT:

eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJodHRwczovL2RhbWwuY29tL2xlZGdlci1hcGkiOnsibGVkZ2VySWQiOiJmYWJyaWMtbGVkZ2VyIiwiYXBwbGljYXRpb25JZCI6ImZvb2JhciIsImFjdEFzIjpbIkFsaWNlIl19fQ.6I3_M0PCpc3tqqFf1TbHZ84GQOkOl6KpmuVyoRYLvSg

Instructions for how to create tokens for other users are detailed in the documentation here.

What’s Next

Let’s say you’re up and running, planning your project on your Fabric-powered Kanban tool. Great! But now you want to collaborate with another team, already running a Hyperledger Besu network. You could try and agree on a common framework to use (good luck!), but DAML gives you another way — synchronizing data from the apps across running Hyperledger networks on different frameworks. This is going to be possible soon with our work on DAML interoperability, which we recently previewed at the Hyperledger Global Forum.

OpenWork is just at the start of a process to see how far smart contract-powered productivity apps can go. There are features to be built and more apps to be added to the suite. We’d love your support. If you’re a developer or a user and you want to get involved, check out the OpenWork page for our repos and contact resources.

Retail Proof-of-Concept Proves Viability of Blockchain for Serialized Data Exchange

By 网志, Hyperledger Fabric

As a consumer, you are probably familiar with the “track my package” function that most major couriers offer. Whether your package is being delivered by FedEx, UPS, or the postal service, you can punch in your tracking number and see exactly where that package is, where it’s been, and when you should expect it to arrive at your door. However, the products inside of those packages aren’t exactly an open book. The majority of goods that we consume travel hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to our doorstep or to the store down the street, but oftentimes companies can’t tell us exactly where their goods came from or where they’ve been since. Aside from those last few miles, consumers and companies are blind to the entire lifecycle of most products.

This is a common narrative at the intersection of blockchain and supply chain, and there are two main reasons why most companies can’t tell you a step-by-step story for each of their products. The first reason has to do with identity. FedEx can give you the history of your package’s final mile because each package is assigned a unique identification number. However, that ID only relates to the package, not the product inside, and outside of the FedEx ecosystem, that identity doesn’t do you a whole lot of good. Contrary to what most people think, barcodes don’t assign unique identities to each product either. Rather, they specify the type of item, like a women’s small cardigan or a 12 oz can of diet soda. Consequently, there could be millions of items that have the exact same barcode information, which makes it impossible to tell identical products apart.

Many companies have already started addressing this item-level identity issue by embedding RFID tags in product labels or printing QR codes onto product packaging. These two methods, along with other serialization solutions like NFC tags and 2D data matrices, allow companies to assign unique digital IDs, also known as Serialized Global Trade Identification Numbers (SGTINs), to every single product that they produce. As you can imagine, this degree of serialization creates massive volumes of incredibly rich data that can be used to enhance consumer experience, streamline supply chain operations, and enable more granular visibility throughout the value chain.

This brings us to our second problem, which is tied to data exchange. Data sharing between businesses today is largely limited to high-level business documentation exchanged via EDI. Furthermore, most EDI networks are not equipped to handle the billions of additional data points generated by serialized products, and even if they were capable of processing all of this data, cost would be a major concern if current pricing mechanisms were kept in place. So, for the companies who have already invested in identification technology, the only options for sharing serialized data with trade partners are managed server solutions or proprietary data pipelines, neither of which scale across an entire industry.

Surprisingly enough, retail has one of the highest serialization rates of any industry, with billions of products already having unique digital IDs. Lululemon products contain RFID tags, Nike shoes have QR codes, and Hot Wheels cars have embedded NFC tags. Apparel and footwear alone are responsible for over 14 billion RFID-tagged products across the globe today, and that number is rising rapidly year over year. Consequently, retail participants are intimately aware of the sad state of serialized data sharing, so, in early 2018, twenty-three suppliers, retailers, logistics providers, and technology partners came together at the Auburn University RFID Lab to determine whether or not blockchain could be the solution to their data exchange problems.

This initiative was named CHIP (an acronym for CHain Integration Project), and it was centered around one question: “can blockchain serve as an effective means for serialized data exchange?” Corporate partners were divided into three subgroups focused on business objectives, data standards, or privacy & security, and, after several months of discussions, the collective group was able to determine the business and technical requirements for the proof-of-concept solution. Five brands and retailers chose to participate in the proof-of-concept: Nike, PVH Corp., Herman Kay, Macy’s, and Kohl’s. Each company committed to sharing serialized data streams from various points along the supply chain ranging from source to store, and these data streams had to be transformed into a common standard before being written to the blockchain. For the proof-of-concept, the group decided to build a Hyperledger Fabric-based solution and implement EPCIS as the core data standard for the network.

Each partner that participated followed a series of sequential steps. First, they had to select the serialized data systems that they wanted to plug in to the proof-of-concept and identify the solution providers that supported those systems. Secondly, they had to standardize their data, which they accomplished independently or with the help of the team at RFID Lab. Lastly, they had to integrate their standardized data streams into the blockchain solution constructed by the team at the RFID Lab, which they accomplished through a series of manual uploads or through API integration.

Within the network itself, each partner pair was organized into a channel and each supply chain node was represented by a peer. Whenever a brand shipped product to its retail partner, outbound RFID systems would trigger a series of item-level transactions that would be written to the appropriate side chain. Whenever a retailer received product from the brand, inbound RFID systems would capture item-level information from the shipment and any items that matched what the brand saw outbound would be written to the blockchain. In Nike’s case, data was provided from a manufacturing point and from a downstream distribution center, with a focus on shipments between those two facilities.

Throughout the course of the project, over 639,000 items were captured by RFID systems in partner supply chains, and 223,036 of those items were written to blockchains. The difference between these two numbers is due to the fact that retailers reported RFID data for all their inbound shipments, not just the shipments related to the brands they were partnered with. Because both retailers were receiving shipments from hundreds of brands, only a small subset of the data was actually written to the blockchains they shared with specific partners.

Additional analysis focused on finding the first product written to the blockchain for each partner pair so that the items could be purchased and put on display at the Auburn RFID Lab. After analyzing the serialized data embedded in the blockchain, the team was able to identify the first products to pass through multiple touch points in the supply chain and also track down those products for purchase. The first product to pass all the way through the Nike channel was a pair of Kid’s Air Force Ones and the first product to pass through the Macy’s/Herman-Kay channel was a Michael Kors Camo Parka Jacket. The PVH/Kohl’s channel produced a Warner’s Full Coverage T-shirt Bra.

While 639,000 out of 14,000,000,000 RFID-tagged products might seem insignificant, it is a crucial step towards the next generation of the retail supply chain. Data capture systems are being deployed constantly and products are being serialized at unprecedented levels, but in order to unite the supply chain and leverage this rich data, there must be a common mechanism for data sharing. Now that the first question of the initiative has been answered affirmatively, it’s time to determine whether or not the solution can scale and help solve actual business problems.

If you’re interested in learning more about the project or the next steps for the initiative, check out the official CHIP Proof-of-Concept whitepaper here.

Ramping up Roaming: Telekom Innovation Labs New Hyperledger Fabric-Based Solution to Automating the Growing Volume of Telco Wholesale Agreements

By 网志, Hyperledger Fabric

Telekom Innovation Laboratories has built a solution, using Hyperledger Fabric, that simplifies and facilitates processes between telecommunications network providers for commercial use cases in the areas of wholesale roaming, wholesale voice and data on demand.

Network operators are facing big problems in handling increasing volumes of roaming traffic. They have hundreds of roaming agreements with other operators in place that need to be updated, implemented and settled, mostly on a yearly basis.

Due to lack of automation of interconnection agreements and complexity of current processes, operations are slow and require a lot of manual work. This leads to financial losses due to roaming transactions that cannot be properly tracked and charged. These days, agreements are to a large part analogue contracts on paper that need to be proofread multiple times by many people. The agreed commercial terms then need to be implemented into the software systems manually later on. Some network operators exploit the current process to their financial benefit by not implementing agreements at all or only with delays, leading to financial losses and disputes. Typos can also lead to disputes and financial losses. A holistic, analytic view on all agreements is impossible. At the end of the contract period, the contracts need to be settled, which means that volumes need to be compared, discrepancies clarified and fraud deducted, which is another lengthy and cumbersome undertaking

The processes in place are dated and are not fit for expected increase of roaming traffic, especially when IoT roaming and 5G will become more widespread. Current systems are hard to scale and lack flexibility.

We at Telekom Innovation Laboratories believe that, in the future, automated processes need to be in place in order to enable telecommunications providers to deliver even better services to customers and be ready for new technologies and services that are already evolving, for example 5G and IOT. The current processes are simply not suitable for handling the technologies of the future.

Using Hyperledger Fabric at its core, our solution will optimize the process and, more importantly, enhance the trust between telecommunications providers.

The solution has two main layers:

The application layer provides interfaces for the many different processes mentioned above (e.g.,  enabling commercial roaming teams to create, sign and implement wholesale roaming agreements in a fully digitized way). It also has a UI for the commercial managers to interact with.

The network layer provides a solution that enables telcos to install nodes in their own IT infrastructure and join the main network in a semi-automated and effortless way.

Between these layers, an API enables the flow of data and transactions.

The current version focuses on the digital creation and signing of wholesale roaming discount agreements. A digital solution immediately leads to more transparency across internal teams (e.g., finance, legal, commercial), reduction of third party dependencies, reduction of bad debts and a better cash flow situation and therefore increases the profitability of telecommunications providers.

One of the reasons to pick Hyperledger Fabric was the integrated certification authority (CA). With this component, we can ensure that transactions are linked to the legitimate actors, which is very important from a legal perspective. All network operators have signing regulations and processes in place, which ensure that only certain persons inside the organization can sign contracts, while others can only create or edit them. Being able to mirror this process in our solution was a key requirement.

Another reason for our choice was the fact that Hyperledger Fabric is a reliable open source solution backed by a large developer community. We at Telekom Innovation Laboratories believe that the decentralization of blockchain cannot just be a functional aspect but needs to extend to licensing as well. This is the only way to  ensure that code can be reviewed, changed, and improved by all participating parties in a blockchain network without having to tackle complex licensing issues. Licensing is challenging already when it comes to bilateral relationships, but is almost impossible to handle if there is a multitude of parties involved in the same system.

In order to ensure maximum control for each network operator joining our system, each operator runs its own full organization on the Hyperledger network. Every organisation entity consists of the following components: peer, frontend, database, certificate authority (CA). The components are packaged as docker components and groups as Pods in Kubernetes and can be installed on the premises of each client organisation that joins the network. There are several reasons for choosing this approach:

  • Each participant in the network can have control over its data (contracts) as well as administrative rights to the technical components. Sensitive data can therefore be stored on premise or on private cloud or even dedicated hardware, managed by the organisation.
  • Using the distributed blockchain architecture, a copy of the ledger is located on multiple organisations at the same time. Transactions flow is implemented by the orderer in the core network, where the consensus algorithm is implemented. This allows for much higher security, as there is no single point of failure and each organisation participates in the networks at the same level as all other organisations.
  • Private certificate authority (CA) allows each organisation to issue cryptographic materials needed  to connect to the network, sign contracts and manage transactions. This allows for higher security and flexibility compared to a single centralized CA.

The system currently uses a single blockchain channel, which contains all transactions by all organisations. This means that all transactions are visible by all participants in the channel. However, no contractual data is stored on the ledger. It contains metadata for each transaction that has been executed (e.g., signing a contract by the other party and agreeing to its terms). The hash can be computed based on the raw contract data and therefore can be used as proof in case of dispute that the actual parameters in the contract have been agreed by both parties. A copy of the ledger is distributed in all organisations, but the actual sensitive data is located only at each of the organisations’ respective databases and is not visible to other parties in the network. This ensures that there is a high level of security due to the large amount of participating actors in each transaction, while at the same time keeping up the required confidentiality when it comes to actual commercial data.

The contract data is stored on MySQL server running within the bounds of each individual organisation. This database stores data only related to its own contracts, so there is no distributed contract storage within the network.

Contract data are synchronized only between participating organizations when a transaction occurs (e.g., when a new contract is being created). This synchronization takes place between the frontend components of each organisation. They use a separate API that uses TLS encryption and mutual authentication to secure the transport of data.

A major feature of our solution are installation packages and scripts that allow an easy on-premise creation of a new organization. Through this, we already managed to add major operators to our blockchain network.

Currently, we are also working on integrating the end of period settlements into our solution. As we approach production, we will move to using a RAFT ordering service.

Deploying Hyperledger Fabric in Production

By 网志, Hyperledger Fabric

In recent years, a number of economic sectors have seen the great promise of blockchain and are already using or piloting it in different use cases. But proof-of-concept projects are often led by evangelists, developed in R&D, and always in controlled environments. Moving to production requires stakeholder buy-in and can be a real challenge, especially at the current time with blockchain.

The Hyperledger Hyderabad Meetup organized a meetup to demonstrate the potential of Hyperledger technologies and discussed the challenges related to the production deployment of Hyperledger Fabric. This session was headed by a startup team out of the Hyperledger Hyderabad community itself, called ChitMonks, who have set a benchmark in their use case in the chit fund industry. 

The chit fund industry, with estimated assets under management (AUM) of ₹1.50 lakh crore, involves a great deal of paperwork. In some instances, it forms the backbone of the informal economy in developing countries like India. This results in drudgery for both the foremen (who organizes the chits) and the regulators (the State governments). 

Administration of chit funds through companies are happening manually. Every time a company wants to start a chit, they have to submit a huge pile of documentation on a monthly basis to the registration and stamps department, which is the regulator. Consequently, there is a lack of transparency for subscribers, and audits need to be done to ensure the government and chit fund company have matching documentation. The information gap between the chit fund company and the regulators produces a loophole for frauds, which are hard to trace back.

The approach of ChitMonks is to place a private blockchain-based, consortium-driven infrastructure and establish a process-based trust, by bringing all the stakeholders involved in the process to the same platform of blockchain.

Actors and Key activities

ActorTypeRoleKey Activities
ForemanROSCA Business OrganizerParticipant / Blockchain Node Maintainer Initiates ROSCA transactions in the systemResponds to queries related to ROSCA transactionsResponds to queries related to Health of company operationsOptionally maintains the node in the network. 
RegulatorState Government EntityRegulator / Blockchain Node MaintainerApproves or Monitors the ROSCA operations of the companiesMonitors the health of the company financialsAddresses Subscriber GrievancesMonitors the payments made to the subscribers and compliances related to it
SubscriberROSCA ParticipantParticipant Approves transactions that involve his participation.Provides consent to the information-seeking queries 
BankTransaction validatorParticipant and/or ValidatorProvides validation to payment transactionsProvides services to ROSCA companies like FD, automatic money sweeping, etc
AuditorTransaction validatorValidatorProvides audit approvals of the company financials to fulfill the  ROSCA regulations.
Non-Banking Financial services CompaniesOther Business ProviderOther Business Provider/ Blockchain Node MaintainerProvides other financial services to ROSCA organizers and their subscribers
Insurance CompanyOther Business ProviderOther Business ProviderProvides insurance service  to ROSCA SubscribersProvides insurance service to ROSCA organizers / Companies
Auction ServiceService ProviderService Provider / Blockchain Node MaintainerProvides auction services to smoothen and automate the ROSCA auction services
Many new service providers to join….………….

Technical Architecture 

The three major entities involved in the process are:

  • Foremen: it’s a consortium of all the chit fund companies.
  • Regulators: it’s a consortium for all the regulatory entities (generally the local government bodies). 
  • Subscribers: they are the end beneficiaries of the chit fund companies.

The foremen and regulators act as the two organizations in the network. And each of the organizations has two peers each. The organizations also have their respective C.A. (Certificate Authority) for letting any new member join the consortium.

  • A channel is established between the two organizations to keep data in synch between regulators and the foremen.
  • The chaincode is framed around the Chit Funds Act, 1982, passed by Indian legislative. This chaincode takes care of all the guidelines like commissions by foremen, a form of chit agreement, filing of chit agreement, minimum capital requirements for the commencement of a chit, creation of a reserve fund by a company and many more aspects of chit fund.
  • The orderers follow Raft ordering service, after being maintained on Kafka ordering service for quite some-time.
  • The state DB chosen here is couch DB, after testing it with Go level DB, which can handle complex data and adds rich querying practices. 
  • Here the ledger holds only relevant data for both the organization’s, keeping a separate off-chain database for specific purposes.
  • The infrastructure is designed as such where a foremen organization can own and maintain organization nodes. Typically, a big organization can own the infrastructure, medium and small organization can be part of consortium org/nodes. This makes the blockchain network more self-sustaining and more decentralized.  

So, here the blockchain system is used in a very optimized way by keeping only the shared data over the system. To make this complex system easily accessible for both organizations, each of the entities has different applications for their purposes.

As already mentioned, ChitMonks serves its platform to more than 700+ chit fund companies. Data privacy was the biggest concern for them, since the consortium of all the chit fund companies are structured as an organization here, and they all have access to the same state DB. To ensure data privacy, ChitMonks used private data collection introduced by Hyperledger Fabric in its 1.4 release. In this case, each transaction is encrypted, and the keys to check data are shared between the regulator and chit fund company over the private data collection provided by Hyperledger Fabric’s latest release.    

Challenges Encountered

Asset Modeling – Asset modeling helps to define the entities and assets involved in the process of business.  Challenges include the incipient regulatory framework and the relatively limited experience of managing large amounts of data with respect to entities (i.e., who will own what data and hierarchy involved each level of the process). While there haven’t been verifiable data breaches of blockchain backbones to date, there have been deficiencies in the implementation of smart contracts, mostly due to failures in coding. But a well-defined set of terms and conditions from the government authorities (which is also the regulatory and one of the organizations in our Blockchain infrastructure) for  the chit fund business helped ChitMonks to encode an ultimate and sustainable asset modeling. 

Testing chain code – Hyperledger Fabric provides us an immutable infrastructure. So, it’s important to test the chaincode well before deploying it. ChitMonks took the approach to perform unit testing at every change to follow up on potential bugs.   

Docker infrastructure – Containers might thus move from one host to another, especially while scaling the number of containers up or down or during container redeployments. There is no static relation between hosts and services they are running anymore! For troubleshooting, this means one must first figure out which host is running which containers. And, vice versa, when a host exhibits poor performance, it’s highly valuable to be able to isolate which container is the source of the problem and if any containers suffer from the performance issue.

Continuous Integration tools (CI) such as Jenkins can build and deploy Docker images across application environments very easily. Builds can be automated and also can be monitored efficiently using CI administrator console.

Maintaining the Kafka cluster – Initially, ChitMonks established its Hyperledger infrastructure with Kafka-based ordering services. Kafka provides a scalable multi-orderer infrastructure and poses a viable fault-tolerant solution for Hyperlуdger Fabric infrastructure, but it required us to maintain zookeepers along with it in production, which added a layer of complexity. So, ChitMonks have shifted to Hyperledger Fabric 1.4, which allows raft ordering services.  

The Raft consensus is a mature consensus algorithm and is easier to implement on a large scale than Kafka. It can extend a network with new organizations, as we don’t need to rely on a third-party Kafka cluster. In the previous versions of the platform, it was impossible to change a consensus type of a blockchain network without full redeployment. However, Hyperledger Fabric v1.4.2 introduced a mechanism that makes it possible to migrate a network from a Kafka consensus to a Raft-based one. And Hyperledger has provided a very easy step-by-step guide for migrating from Kafka to raft consensus.

Conclusion

The meetup was received with a very enthusiastic response. Many of the attendees were very happy to see a local startup deploying production-grade applications. The ChitMonks engaged well with the audience to help them understand the difference between a POC and production level applications and shared their perspective on scaling a blockchain-based product!

Kartikey is a co-organizer of the Hyperledger Hydrabad Meetup and works as a Software Engineer at MSR Cosmos and is a team member of TEDxHyderabad. You can reach out to me via TwitterFacebook or LinkedIn.

Hyperledger Announces Hyperledger Fabric 2.0

By Announcements, Hyperledger Fabric

First Hyperledger project to hit 2.0 milestone, raises the bar for enterprise blockchain 

New release optimized for production deployments with decentralized chaincode features, private data enhancements and improved performance

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – (Jan 30, 2020) – Hyperledger, an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies, today announced the general availability of Hyperledger Fabric 2.0. This major release of Hyperledger Fabric, a distributed ledger framework that’s been under development by the Hyperledger community since 2016, delivers a number of features and enhancements needed to increase the efficiency and security of production deployments. 

Much of the work on Hyperledger Fabric 2.0 focused on new ways to manage the chaincode (or smart contract) lifecycle to maximize flexibility, remove bottlenecks and create more options to distribute governance. Security and data privacy were also big development priorities, so many features and enhancements are geared towards delivering more granular control of private channels and minimizing vulnerabilities. 

Key Hyperledger Fabric 2.0 features include:

Decentralized governance for smart contracts — Hyperledger Fabric 2.0 introduces decentralized governance for chaincode, with a new process for installing a chaincode on your peers and starting it on a channel. The new Fabric chaincode lifecycle allows multiple organizations to come to agreement on the parameters of a chaincode, such as the chaincode endorsement policy, before it can be used to interact with the ledger. The new model offers several improvements over the previous lifecycle, including requiring multiple organizations to agree to the parameters of a chaincode, creating a more deliberate chaincode upgrade process and simplifying endorsement policy and private data collection updates

New chaincode application patterns for collaboration and consensus — The same decentralized methods of coming to agreement that underpin the new chaincode lifecycle management can also be used in your own chaincode applications to ensure organizations consent to data transactions before they are committed to the ledger. Organizations can add automated checks to chaincode functions to validate additional information before endorsing a transaction proposal. Additionally, human decisions can be modeled into a chaincode process that spans multiple transactions. The chaincode may require actors from various organizations to indicate their terms and conditions of agreement in a ledger transaction. Then, a final chaincode proposal can verify that the conditions from all the individual transactors are met, and “settle” the business transaction with finality across all channel members.

External chaincode launcher —The external chaincode launcher feature empowers operators to build and launch chaincode with the technology of their choice. Use of external builders and launchers is not required as the default behavior builds and runs chaincode in the same manner as prior releases using the Docker API.

Private data enhancements — Hyperledger Fabric 2.0 enables new patterns for working with and sharing private data, without the requirement of creating private data collections for all combinations of channel members that may want to transact. Specifically, instead of sharing private data within a collection of multiple members, you may want to share private data across collections at a transaction or state key level with selected channel members. Each private data collection may contain a single organization, or perhaps a single organization along with a regulator or auditor.

State database cache for improved performance on CouchDB — When using external CouchDB state database, read delays during endorsement and validation phases have historically been a performance bottleneck. With Hyperledger Fabric 2.0, a new peer cache replaces many of these expensive lookups with fast local cache reads.

Alpine-based docker images — Starting with 2.0, Hyperledger Fabric Docker images will use Alpine Linux, a security-oriented, lightweight Linux distribution. This means that Docker images are now much smaller, providing faster download and startup times, as well as taking up less disk space on host systems. Alpine Linux is designed from the ground up with security in mind, and the minimalist nature of the Alpine distribution greatly reduces the risk of security vulnerabilities.

For more on the features and enhancements, see What’s new in Hyperledger Fabric 2.0.

“Hyperledger Fabric has established itself as a popular and practical distributed ledger framework and has powered much of the transition from conceptualization to commercialization we’ve seen in enterprise blockchain,” said Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director, Hyperledger. “Fabric 2.0 is a new generation framework developed by and for the enterprises that are building distributed ledger capabilities into the core of their businesses. This new release reflects both the development and deployment experience of the Fabric community and confirms the arrival of the production era for enterprise blockchain.”

Hyperledger Fabric is already widely deployed in PoCs and production networks of all sizes and scales. To ensure smooth transition to this new version, there is a range of documentation specifically for Upgrading to the latest release. There’s also documentation on Upgrading your components and Updating the capability level of a channel, as well as a specific look at the Considerations for getting to Fabric 2.0

Community quotes:

“The release of Hyperledger Fabric 2.0 is an important step forward in the on-going evolution of DLT, and was developed based on feedback from real-world use, including improved chaincode management capabilities and performance enhancements,” stated Rob Palatnick, Managing Director and Global Head of Technology Research and Innovation at The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) and Governing Board Chair at Hyperledger. “DTCC’s work with Hyperledger enables us to bring DLT expertise and knowledge in-house while contributing our learnings and progress on enterprise-scale projects with the DLT community. We look forward to our continued efforts around Fabric 2.0 and in working with Hyperledger.

“I am delighted to see Hyperledger Fabric v2.0 released,” said Nao Nishijima, Researcher, Hitachi, Ltd. “Hitachi has contributed to the social innovation through the development of superior, original technology and products since its foundation in 1910.  Hitachi believes that Hyperledger Fabric v2.0 and related blockchain technologies will further expand the possibility to merge sustainability and business and to resolve social issues through the contribution to the initiatives like Society 5.0 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Hitachi continues to contribute to the Hyperledger community and to provide blockchain solutions for various industries.” 

“IBM is excited about this key milestone in Hyperledger Fabric’s development lifecycle,” said Jerry Cuomo, IBM Fellow and VP of Blockchain Platform, IBM. “We are proud to have been part of the community that has collaborated on its development, and we are eager to upgrade the IBM Blockchain Platform — industry’s first multi-cloud implementation of Hyperledger Fabric — to leverage the new capabilities and improved performance in this milestone release.”

“IntellectEU is grateful to have been a part of the Hyperledger community since the very beginning,” said Thomas Bohner, VP of Blockchain at IntellectEU. “The release of Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 was a breakthrough for enterprise blockchain. Today we are excited about the Hyperledger Fabric 2.0 release. More specifically the private data enhancements that will drive adoption for our clients in the financial services industry. Our engineering team will be applying decentralised governance for chaincode when helping our clients migrating to Fabric 2.0.” 

“Oracle is excited about Fabric 2.0 GA release,” said Mark Rakhmilevich, Senior Director, Blockchain Production Management at Oracle. “Hyperledger Fabric underpins Oracle Blockchain Platform, which is used by numerous customers in production, and a number approaching production deployments.  The new capabilities in this release will directly benefit these customers who are looking for greater data privacy capabilities, increased performance, and decentralized consensus mechanism.  I also think the new decentralized governance model for chaincode updates and organization-specific extensions will enable broader flexibility and help with the chaincode update process in consortia environments. These practical improvements will help to accelerate adoption of Fabric across our enterprise customers and government organizations. Oracle is very committed to Hyperledger Fabric and we’d like to congratulate the Fabric community on this important milestone.”

“We’re excited to stand alongside our friends as they launch Hyperledger Fabric 2.0,” said Troy Ronda, Chief Scientist for SecureKey Technologies Inc. “This release demonstrates a mature project with enhanced performance and deployment features that will allow for innovative identity projects to come to fruition, like our Verified.Me service. Hyperledger’s projects – such as Fabric and Aries – provide important open source components for building ecosystem services like Verified.Me, and we’re happy to contribute to such an excellent and dedicated community.”

Additional Resources:

About Hyperledger

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

Welcome Hyperledger Fabric 2.0: Enterprise DLT for Production

By 网志, Hyperledger Fabric

As the first project of the Hyperledger greenhouse in 2016, Fabric introduced its v1.0 release in July, 2017. Since then, a number of enhancements and new features have been implemented based on the feedback from industry and community. 

To celebrate the 4th birthday of Hyperledger Fabric, what can be a better gift than the major release of v2.0?  Before we jump into the new additions and features in this release, we think this major milestone is a good time to reflect on some of the key design objectives behind Hyperledger Fabric and how it has evolved to this point.

An open, proven, enterprise-grade blockchain framework

Echoing the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) trends and requirements in finance, supply chain and other industries, Hyperledger Fabric was initiated by tens of leading companies globally in early 2016. Since then, under the support of the Linux Foundation, hundreds of open source developers have been working together to design and implement a practical DLT framework to meet these real demands by integrating the advanced techniques of databases, networking, distributed consensus, and cryptography.

Hyperledger Fabric has quickly become one of the most popular open source DLT projects, with hundreds of deployments worldwide. In 2019, 30 companies in the “Forbes Blockchain 50” were using it.

Due to its open source model and popularity, Hyperledger Fabric has been adopted by major Cloud Service Providers including Alibaba, AWS, Azure, Baidu, Google, Huawei, IBM, Oracle, SAP, and Tencent.

What is Hyperledger Fabric?

Hyperledger Fabric is an enterprise-grade, distributed ledger platform that offers modularity and versatility for a broad set of industry use cases. Rather than a permission-less system where anyone can transact and access data, Fabric offers a permissioned, secure, and scalable platform that supports smart contracts and data privacy. This architecture allows for solutions developed with Fabric to be adapted for any industry, thus ushering in a new era of trust, transparency, and accountability for businesses.

While members of a network work together, businesses still often need to maintain separate relationships within their networks to keep certain interactions private. For example, a purchaser might be selling the same product to different sellers at different prices.

Fabric provides a spectrum of options to support transaction and data privacy. You can use separate “channels” if you need total transaction isolation between member organizations. And you can use “private data” within a channel if you’d like to keep data private while writing hashes on a shared ledger as transaction evidence. Private data can be shared on a need-to-know basis and then verified against the on-chain hash evidence. 

Why Hyperledger Fabric?

Because Hyperledger Fabric has matured in the open source community with a focus on enterprise use cases, it has evolved to support the features and production operations that enterprises demand. Here’s a few of the features that make Fabric unique relative to other distributed ledger technologies:

  • Permissioned and modular architecture
  • Flexible endorsement model for achieving consensus among transacting organizations
  • Pluggable consensus for transaction ordering and block distribution
  • Open smart contract model – flexibility to support various solution and data models (account model, UTXO model, structured data, unstructured data, etc)
  • Data privacy – complete transaction isolation using “channels”, or share private data on a need-to-know basis using private data “collections”
  • Low latency of finality/confirmation
  • Multi-language smart contract support: Go, Java, Javascript
  • Support for EVM and Solidity
  • Governance and versioning of smart contracts
  • Queryable data – keyed queries, range queries, and JSON queries on-chain, and event hooks to integrate data into your preferred database or analytics engine
  • Designed for continuous enterprise operations, including rolling upgrades and asymmetric version support

Hyperledger Fabric 2.0: The Latest Evolution

The evolution continues and we are excited to see the next generation! Let’s welcome Hyperledger Fabric v2.0 by taking a quick glance at the highlighted features compared to the v1.0 release:

  • New chaincode lifecycle management. The totally redesigned chaincode lifecycle management process introduces decentralized governance for smart contracts, with a new process for installing a chaincode on the peers and starting it on a channel. The new Fabric chaincode lifecycle allows multiple organizations to come to agreement on the parameters of a chaincode, such as the chaincode endorsement policy, before it can be used to interact with the ledger.
  • New chaincode application patterns for collaboration and consensus. The same decentralized methods of coming to agreement that underpin the new chaincode lifecycle management can also be used in your own chaincode applications to ensure organizations consent to data transactions before they are committed to the ledger. Additionally, organizations can now extend their copy of a chaincode to meet their individual requirements. For example, an organization can add its own chaincode validations to better protect the organization’s specific interests before agreeing to endorse a transaction. As long as there is consensus on the chaincode execution results among the required endorsers for a given transaction, the transaction will be committed to the ledger as in prior releases.
  • Data privacy on a need-to-know basis. In addition to the traditional use of channels and private data collections to share data among a subset of network members, the new implicit organization-specific private data collection feature in v2.0 allows organizations to privately share data with other organizations in the channel on a need-to-know basis, eliminating the need to define channels or private data collections for many combinations of members. Hashes on the channel ledger serve as transaction evidence to ensure that private data can be verified when shared, or later audited as needed.
  • New external chaincode launcher. The external chaincode launcher feature empowers operators to build and launch chaincode with the technology of their choice, removing the requirement to give the peer access to a Docker daemon. For example, an operator may decide to deploy chaincode as an external service in a Kubernetes pod.
  • New consensus type of Raft. The new Raft consensus for ordering service introduced in v1.4.1 is now the recommended consensus service, eliminating the dependency on an external Kafka cluster. This makes the ordering service a decentralized governing model that can be provided by multiple ordering organizations. Additionally, an ordering node can now choose which channels it will serve instead of the legacy requirement of serving all channels. This brings an important scalability improvement to better support a large number of channels and transactions, not to mention the obvious privacy improvement.
  • Performance improvements. A number of performance improvements have been added throughout the v1.x releases and in v2.0. A new cache has been added to the peer to improve performance when using CouchDB as the state database. Additionally, transaction validation is parallelized in the commit phase. The ordering node message processing flow has been optimized to remove redundant checks, and the write block processing is now asynchronous. Chaincode queries can be paginated, making it feasible to support large result sets with high performance. It’s now possible to achieve thousands of TPS in practice.

Hyperledger Fabric 2.0 is already getting strong interest within the blockchain community:

“The release of Hyperledger Fabric 2.0 is an important step forward in the on-going evolution of DLT, and was developed based on feedback from real-world use, including improved chaincode management capabilities and performance enhancements. DTCC’s work with Hyperledger enables us to bring DLT expertise and knowledge in-house while contributing our learnings and progress on enterprise-scale projects with the DLT community. We look forward to our continued efforts around Fabric 2.0 and in working with Hyperledger. – Rob Palatnick, Managing Director and Global Head of Technology Research and Innovation at The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) and Governing Board Chair at Hyperledger

“The release of Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 was an enormous accomplishment and provided the enterprise blockchain community with an extensible framework upon which HACERA has built products that accelerate the building of business networks. HACERA has been part of the Hyperledger Fabric development team since the beginning and after working as the release manager for Fabric 1.0 in 2017, HACERA’s main contributions to Fabric have focused on two of our core strengths – identity and privacy (based on Zero-Knowledge Proofs). With Fabric 2.0, we are now able to offer HACERA Kore (for managing and governing decentralized networks), HACERA’s DAML-on-Fabric Enterprise 2.0 as well as seamless integration of a secure and decentralized data availability layer (The Unbounded Network). What a way to start the new decade!” – Jonathan Levi, CEO of HACERA, The Unbounded Network and Vice Chair of the Token Taxonomy Initiative/Framework

“I am delighted to see Hyperledger Fabric v2.0 released. Hitachi has contributed to the social innovation through the development of superior, original technology and products since its foundation in 1910.  Hitachi believes that Hyperledger Fabric v2.0 and related blockchain technologies will further expand the possibility to merge sustainability and business and to resolve social issues through the contribution to the initiatives like Society 5.0 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Hitachi continues to contribute to the Hyperledger community and to provide blockchain solutions for various industries.” – Nao Nishijima, Researcher, Hitachi, Ltd

“IBM is excited about this key milestone in Hyperledger Fabric’s development life cycle. We are proud to have been part of the community that has collaborated on its development, and we are eager to upgrade the IBM Blockchain Platform — industry’s first multi-cloud implementation of Hyperledger Fabric — to leverage the new capabilities and improved performance in this milestone release.” – Jerry Cuomo, IBM Fellow and VP of Blockchain Platform, IBM 

“IntellectEU is grateful to have been a part of the Hyperledger community since the very beginning. The release of Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 was a breakthrough for enterprise blockchain. Today we are excited about the Hyperledger Fabric 2.0 release. More specifically the private data enhancements that will drive adoption for our clients in the financial services industry. Our engineering team will be applying decentralised governance for chaincode when helping our clients migrating to Fabric 2.0.” – Thomas Bohner, VP of Blockchain at IntellectEU

“Oracle is excited about the Fabric 2.0 GA release. Hyperledger Fabric underpins Oracle Blockchain Platform, which is used by numerous customers in production, and a number approaching production deployments. The new capabilities in this release will directly benefit these customers who are looking for greater data privacy capabilities, increased performance, and decentralized consensus mechanism. I also think the new decentralized governance model for chaincode updates and organization-specific extensions will enable broader flexibility and help with the chaincode update process in consortia environments. These practical improvements will help to accelerate adoption of Fabric across our enterprise customers and government organizations. Oracle is very committed to Hyperledger Fabric, and we’d like to congratulate the Fabric community on this important milestone.” – Mark Rakhmilevich, Senior Director, Blockchain Production Management at Oracle

“We’re excited to stand alongside our friends as they launch Hyperledger Fabric 2.0. This release demonstrates a mature project with enhanced performance and deployment features that will allow for innovative identity projects to come to fruition, like our Verified.Me service. Hyperledger’s projects – such as Fabric and Aries – provide important open source components for building ecosystem services like Verified.Me, and we’re happy to contribute to such an excellent and dedicated community.” – Troy Ronda, Chief Scientist for SecureKey Technologies Inc.

To try out the new version of Hyperledger Fabric, see the Getting Started documentation. A new test network in the fabric-samples repository makes it easier than ever to start using Hyperledger Fabric within minutes!
For more details of the new features in Fabric v2.0, see the What’s New documentation.

Conflict minerals and child labour: Enabling better business with blockchain traceability

By 网志, Hyperledger Fabric

The hidden costs of raw materials

How much do you know about the making of your phone? How important is it for you to know where all the materials came from?

There are now over 3 billion smartphones in the world and the growth in numbers is expected to continue. This, along with demand for other electronics like tablets, laptops, electric vehicles, even vacuum cleaners, is driving a huge need for raw materials such as cobalt, tin, tungsten and tantalum. Cobalt is used in every lithium-ion rechargeable battery on the planet, while the 3 Ts, also known as conflict minerals, are found in all manner of electronic goods.

Conflict minerals have been classed as such due to their sourcing in conflict areas such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Militias will frequently seize control of a mine and force people to work in dangerous conditions for minimal or zero pay. With weak law enforcement in these areas there are many examples of slavery, theft of natural resources, environmental damage and human rights abuses.

The other issue that is rife here is child labour. The Guardian estimates there are more than 255,000 creuseurs (diggers) mining cobalt in the DRC, at least 35,000 of whom are children, some as young as six. These children will spend an entire day digging up enough cobalt-containing heterogenite stone to fill a sack, which they will then try to sell to Chinese traders for about $0.65.

Traceability-as-a-Service

For a long time. people have been talking about blockchain and how it is a technology looking for a problem to solve. Circulor is one of the first companies to build a solution using Hyperledger blockchain and artificial intelligence that provides traceability and transparency across the supply chain where it is really needed – conflict minerals, rare earth minerals, toxic and polluting waste, child labour-based production, to name a few. 

Responsible companies need to know the answers to the questions:

  • To what extent is your supply chain traceable?
  • Are you confident in the provenance of your raw material?
  • Can you prove the provenance?
  • What impact are you having on people and nature?

With extractive industries, true traceability requires reaching far upstream and being able to track material flows through refining, amalgamation and manufacture. Circulor addresses two core challenges – reliably creating a digital identity for a physical commodity at its source in the field, as well as connecting the inputs and outputs from a manufacturing process to enable that identity to be inherited. 

In order to make the identity reliable and digital, Circulor’s solution gives a commodity a dynamic identity, or dynamic twin, so that it can be tracked along the supply chain journey, from source to consumer, even if the commodity changes on the way. Then through the material journey, we use machine learning tools to identify anomalies or fraudulent activity.

With their entire supply chains mapped out for the first time, manufacturers are able to definitively prove responsible sourcing and sustainable production. In relation to conflict minerals and child mining, there are a number of controls in place to enable this. Artificial Intelligence is utilised for facial recognition, ensuring only authorised people are involved in the process, while anti-GPS spoofing measures guarantee that transactions are only done at accredited facilities.

One of these measures is tags that can only be used in a specified geo-fenced area, such as a mine site or production facility. This is an important safeguard because, especially with the case of tin and tungsten mining in Rwanda, the current tagging system is insecure, and tags are frequently traded on the black market. If a commodity has one of these tags, even though it holds no real information on location or identity, that is often enough for it to pass any security checks. Circulor’s tags are linked to specific locations and individuals.

A picture containing ground, nature, outdoor, valley

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Photo by Hasin Hayder on Unsplash

Enabling better business

In partnership with Kumi, Circulor recently completed a successful project with Volvo Cars, using Hyperledger Fabric blockchain technology to trace the cobalt in the company’s forthcoming electric vehicles. Volvo Cars is leading the way in its industry to conduct responsible production, not just in its own operations but now in all of its suppliers as well. It recognised the importance of being able to prove to its consumers that it sources raw materials ethically and sustainably.

There is no doubting a current consumer trend towards a greater concern for our impact on people and the environment. Last year, the UK spent over £83bn on ethical goods with the continued growth driven by increased environmental concern, showing that more consumers than ever are looking for ways to shop that help people and the planet. Businesses are taking note – Circulor has just signed on with another automotive company to conduct a similar project and there are various examples of opportunities in other industries, such as waste, recycling, agriculture and more. In partnership with Kumi and other forward-thinking organisations, traceability provides huge potential to enable better business.

Sources:
https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-conflict-minerals-funded-a-war-that-killed-millions/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/theworldpost/wp/2018/04/19/conflict-free/

Cover image courtesy of Circulor

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

By 网志, Hyperledger Fabric, Special Interest Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By 网志, Healthcare, Hyperledger Fabric

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

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

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

Why Hyperledger for healthcare?

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

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

The DocuSeal framework

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big picture: supply chains and blockchain

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

Coverage image credit

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

By 网志, Hyperledger Fabric

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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