that is helping businesses learn and evaluate blockchains is Hyperledger, an open-source collaborative effort
hosted by the Linux Foundation. The group counts organizations such as Change Healthcare,
Daimler, IBM, Cisco and Intel as “premier” members and it has launched nine
projects to date, including the Hyperledger Fabric, Sawtooth and Iroha
Hyperledger’s executive director, believes that blockchain technology is poised
to become foundational in some industries.
“I can’t say you
will be out of business in two years if you are not using it, but there will be
some sectors that have meaningful use soon,” he said.
One of these
sectors is the diamond supply chain, in which Everledger has built a global distributed ledger to
establish and document the provenance of individual stones.
“If you are in the
diamond business and your diamond is not registered in the ledger, you might
have trouble reselling it soon,” Behlendorf said. “It would be like trying to sell
a car without a title.”
ask whether a centralized database will suffice just as well as a distributed
ledger powered by a blockchain.
“We don’t want
that, because when you are the center of the universe, you can play God and
change history in destructive ways and control who gets to write and not write
in ways that are hard to detect,” explained Behlendorf. “Instead, we want records
to be tracked, verifiable and distributed among a crowd, not just for
cryptocurrency but also for supply chains, provenance tracking and finance ...
We want to know what to audit and where information has flowed. This goes for
education records, prison records, births, property titles and other ecosystems
that act as central registries. There are other situations too where registries
are not yet centralized, and rather than create an eBay or an Uber, you want
something more distributed. This is what blockchain [technology] is uniquely
positioned to support.”
Hyperledger’s main interests is in helping enterprise businesses realize the
benefits of blockchain technology and become familiar with how it can help them
become more efficient and transparent. Business owners can use Hyperledger’s
course, “Blockchain for
Business — An Introduction to Hyperledger Technologies,” to learn the blockchain technology
basics and evaluate the technology’s relevance to them.
“We designed the course to be suitable for two different audiences:
developers and then business owners and managers who might want to learn some
use cases and view their own business through this prism,” Behlendorf said. “A great place to start is with Hyperledger Composer, which is an [Integrated Development
Environment] where you can build applications, and it has a front end that you
can use to show what you are doing.”
can also explore blockchain-based opportunities with customers, suppliers and
“These systems are
designed to connect multiple organizations in a business process, and even when
you are just testing something out or building a proof of concept, you want to
bring in suppliers, customers and maybe even competitors,” Behlendorf said. “If
you have small suppliers, they are more accepting of an 800-pound gorilla
calling the shots, but you’ll want to get competitors together on a network,
because greater mass means greater coverage.”
the example of Walmart, which might have a hard time getting every one of its
suppliers and farmers to plug into a Walmart-controlled portal, but may have
more success building a shared, blockchain-based network where transactions are
recorded and demonstrated transparently, where every party involved has equal
rights to the information.
This embrace of
both blockchain technology’s great power as well as its underlying encouragement
of shared resources may be Hyperledger’s best chance to see the technology
adopted as widely as it hopes.
“From a politics
and a business perspective, that is a much more compelling play,” Behlendorf