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Hyperledger Fabric Adds Support for Ethereum

According to a recent report released by Hyperledger, a group of open-source blockchains and related tools founded by the Linux Foundation, the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain implementation now includes support for Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) smart contracts.

Hyperledger clarified that this adoption onto Fabric is not a use of all functions of the Ethereum blockchain, but specifically for the use of smart contract protocols instead of ledger technology or consensus mechanisms. Christophe Ferris, a member of the Hyperledger Technical Steering Committee and release manager for Fabric, answered several questions from Distributed.com about this new direction for the decentralized platform.

“Ethereum popularized the concept of a smart contract and, in turn, languages such as Solidity and Vyper became prominent,” said Ferris, adding that it “had created an ecosystem that was focused on simplifying the complexity associated with building decentralized applications and connecting them to deployed smart contracts.”

The usage of EVM smart contracts on Hyperledger Fabric will not require the usage of ether or any other particular tokens, as “ether and gas are necessary in Ethereum to incentivize miners to run the transactions; however, in Fabric that incentive is unnecessary, leading us to decide not to introduce any tokens as part of this work,” claimed Ferris. He went on to note that “most enterprise Ethereum projects have also chosen the path of not requiring gas to run smart contracts … From a user experience, they should experience minimal impact.”

The report also included a brief description of some of Hyperledger’s future plans for smart contract integration on Fabric.

“Performance was not one of our focuses in this initial release,” Ferris said. “In our future plans, we do want to look into that and better gauge what is the impact of this smart contract runtime.”

Still, Ferris is optimistic about the efficiency of this initial blockchain implementation, pointing out that “because of the nature of Fabric's consensus model, the performance will be much greater, and the latency to confirmation will be much less than can be achieved on Ethereum using [proof of work].”

The report concluded with an invitation to Hyperledger’s upcoming Global Forum in Switzerland, where a workshop will allow developers to experiment with EVM smart contracts and DApps to determine the best possible adaptations to the Ethereum ecosystem in the future. The specific plans of Hyperledger Fabric’s future changes may very well hinge on the talent that this forum attracts.

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