Among the blockchain and cryptocurrencies world, a lot of projects have seen the light. The most famous being Bitcoin and Ethereum, propelled by a wide media coverage. But one project has not made newspapers headlines yet is trying to achieve a tremendous work. As many blockchains are being built from scratch for lots of different needs all over the world, the Hyperledger Project launched by the Linux Foundation will try to standardize and democratize blockchain within the business world. Instead of letting companies solve their issues on their own, Hyperledger will combine a cross-industry knowledge to allow enterprises to build customized blockchains that would answer specific needs.
Let’s have a deeper look on what is Hyperledger.
In 2015, the Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced the collaboration of industry leaders to advance blockchain technology at an enterprise level. The original goal was to develop “an open source distributed ledger framework to build robust, industry-specific applications, platforms and hardware systems to support business transactions”. The Hyperledger Project was born. But what does this purpose really mean?
The first members to join the movement were mostly banks, financial services firms or IT companies. But as time went by, more and more corporations joined the project to the point that the member list reaches as of September 26th 270 contributing organizations from very different sectors and horizons. We can find in the list big industry-leader firms as well as start-ups, from logistic to healthcare and from finance to government, all of them having contributed either financially either by providing line of codes and development progress. The 2 biggest contributors are IBM and Intel. As of July 2018, Hyperledger hosts 10 projects with 3.6 million lines of code and close to 28,000 participants who have come to 110+ meetups around the world.
“Distributed ledgers are poised to transform a wide range of industries” — Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation, after the launch of the Hyperledger Project
As blockchain being a recent innovation and a hard-to-catch concept for non-tech profiles, the need for a cross-industry collaboration rised within the business world.
You have to understand that Hyperledger is not a company, not a cryptocurrency and not a blockchain. It is a worldwide collaborative effort to transparently and openly enlighten blockhain potential to solve business issues.
Understanding Bitcoin and Ethereum is pretty easy-going because it is practical and has proven true usefulness among developers and users. Understanding Hyperledger is another challenge.
Hyperledger has written a Charter in the beginning of 2016, a kind of white paper, stating the guidelines and what it is trying to achieve. Among the 4 missions announced we can read:
- Create an enterprise grade, open source distributed ledger framework and code base
- Promote participation of leading members of the ecosystem
Can it be more vague?
What you have to remember behind these sentences is that the Linux Foundation, through its Hyperledger Project wants to create an environment in which communities of software developers and companies meet and coordinate to build blockchain frameworks. Thus it is an infrastructure in which you can find ongoing blockchain-related projects. All of them are non-currency projects and industrial applications. And that’s an important point. You won’t have any Hyperledger Coin around because the project doesn’t intend to host its own cryptocurrency like Ethereum for example.
“By not pushing a currency, we avoid so many of the political challenges of having to maintain a globally consistent currency” — Brian Behlendorf, Hyperledger Executive Director
So, we have a global movement, organized in several projects, initiated by The Linux Foundation, lead by reknown persons from tech, open-source and data world with years of experience and supported by 270 contributing companies and organizations aiming to develop non-currency blockchain-based projects for the business world.
Let’s dive into those projects.