Hyperledger is the global collaboration of industry’s best experts in finance, IoT, manufacturing, and technology. The goal of this Linux-based effort is to enable cooperation across the blockchain industry.
In a spot of good news for the blockchain and global business, Hyperledger has announced that years of work on scaling the technology has finally paid off. Being one of the most vexing issues inhibiting Bitcoin and others from becoming truly global transactional currencies, Hyperledger’s Sawtooth can now capably address scalability as well as security issues facing business’ employment of cryptocurrencies.
Several companies have been toiling on the seamless rollout of a distributed ledger that has as its core design element the smooth flow of enterprise.
Since circa 2014, a multidisciplinary team has been working on the project, code-named Sawtooth Lake, on the Intel Labs premises. They focused on the problems regarding scalability and security of cryptocurrencies as they sought real-time application in the world of business.
While retail investors have been clamoring for bitcoin and other promising cryptocurrencies for the meteoric rise in value they anticipate, businesses have had issues with adopting the technology as a working currency.
Proof of Elapsed Time (PoET) was adept by 2016 as a green, alternative consensus to Proof of Work (PoW). PoET is designed in a way to achieve Bitcoin-style consensus while not needing huge power consumption associated with PoW algorithms.
Hyperledger was starting to fly at the same time, and Sawtooth was initially Intel’s contribution to the Hyperledger, on an incubation basis. Thanks to this input, the developer fraternity working on the project was set abuzz with renewed impetus.
The diversity of coders and other contributors on the open source project resulted in the award of an “Open Source Rookie of the Year” accolade. From incubation forwards, the pace quickened, and in May 2017, the term “Lake” was dropped from the name and promptly moved Hyperledger to “active” status.
The pace of this achievement speaks volumes of the highly productive collaboration within a very diverse project community.
At least 20 companies and innumerable individuals were involved in the project, including Intel, IBM, and Microsoft Azure. Walking a tightrope between enabling blockchain application in the world of business while still maintaining its novel, intrinsic value has always been a daunting task.
Not content with PoET Transaction Families, the coalition has also introduced several new features for users. Parallel transactions, integration with Ethereum tooling, far smarter security and even more malleable consensus protocols are all encapsulated within the new platform.
Good news for transactional capability
Although those privy to the work have been aware of the testnet rollout for some time now, the final, successful launch of Hyperledger Sawtooth cannot be underestimated.
From the very real prospect of blockchain technology falling by the wayside on the back of negative sentiment around scalability and security, the Hyperledger announcement has resuscitated the entire concept.
Security and auditability concerns from global business have now been addressed and, although improvements are sure to follow, Hyperledger Sawtooth is a de facto working solution for all of these issues. Sawtooth is not the only blockchain project under the Hyperledger umbrella; in June 2017, the production-ready Hyperledger Fabric was released and in November 2016, a smart contract platform known as Iroha became the third project to reach the consortium’s incubator status.
James Mitchell, CEO of Sawtooth contributor Bitwise IO, stated that Fabric, Sawtooth and others will lead to exciting combinations to perfect the features of blockchain technology:
“All of these platforms will mature past 1.0. One of the exciting things is there is a ton of cross pollination. and we can afford to try different things and see what’s working well. All of the platforms have different approaches and are being tested in the marketplace of ideas.”
This article was updated February 1; while Intel initially started Hyperledger Sawtooth, they donated the source code to the Hyperledger foundation.