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Hyperledger Fabric

Blockchain-based digital identity: How Hyperledger is helping to turn hype into reality

By | Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

Guest post: Andre Boysen, Chief Identity Officer, SecureKey Technologies

Identity has never been easy, but it’s particularly tricky in the digital age. For too long we’ve been forced to use outdated processes to prove who we are when we’re trying to get things done. It shouldn’t take a half-day off work and a trip to a government office to renew a passport, or an entire evening to update a smartphone plan, yet we’re being forced to do so because companies need controls to prove we are who we say we are and the gold standard for doing this today is a counter visit.

Thanks to blockchain, that’s changing. Distributed ledger technology is giving us the opportunity to do what we haven’t been able to do so far – prove with greater certainty that you are you, to immediately access the services you want online, in person or on the phone. Utilizing this approach, we can develop a digital identity and attribute sharing network designed to allow consumers to use digital credentials they already have with organizations they already trust (like their banks), and verify their identity quickly to access services from trusted institutions (like telcos, government services, even sharing economy companies) instantly and with certainty. No more need to create another username and password combination that will be easily forgotten, or dedicate hours on end to perform a simple task, like updating a driver’s license, setting up a new phone or checking your credit score.

SecureKey changed consumer single-sign-on for the better when we introduced the concept of triple-blind authentication with SecureKey Concierge. The simple idea was that using a single credential could actually increase privacy, because none of the transaction participants got a complete picture of the user’s transaction. The bank does not see your online destination, the government does not see which bank you used or your account details and SecureKey does not know who you are. The challenge for us when we moved beyond accessing services to registering for new ones was how to implement the triple-blind model for identity information.

While it was technically possible to do this with public key infrastructure (PKI), there were some difficulties. For example, if the receiver had to check the signature on the data for verification, the blinding broke. A possible solution to this was the introduction of a key exchange that effectively blinded the receiver. However, this created a fourth factor in the transaction system, which increased complexity and made it much harder to trace a transaction in the event of a compromised account.

Enter blockchain. The advent of this technology adds some key capabilities and allows us to solve our service registration challenges.  Among its many benefits, blockchain  allows us to implement triple-blind attributes, data signing for service integrity and resiliency to mitigate against a single point of failure.

The benefit goes beyond the individual citizen to the businesses they choose to use. In an age where everything is hackable and millions of customer records are stolen or dumped online every month, organizations are realizing that one of their most toxic assets can often be customer records. Organizations that can confidently verify the identity of their customers quickly without the need to store that customer’s data on their own networks experience a twofold benefit: not only is there a real world cost savings for their IT infrastructure, but there is also a massively reduced risk of being financially accountable in the event that bad actors attempt to steal their customer data, namely because the data never needs to reside on their servers in the first place. This greatly reduces the risk of customer data becoming toxic and negatively impacting a company following a breach or leak – something we’re seeing become much more frequent each and every month.  

We’re still in the early days of blockchain, but through communities like Hyperledger Fabric, hosted by The Linux Foundation, we’re seeing how its applicability can be endless. From currency to identity and further afield, blockchain is moving quickly beyond the buzzword stage and becoming critical to the evolution of services in the digital age.  There is a lot of blockchain hype to be sure, but for identity blockchain is going to be really helpful.

Developer Showcase Series: Aram Barnett, Vergo

By | Blog, Hyperledger Composer, Hyperledger Fabric

Our Developer Showcase blog series serves to highlight the work and motivations of developers, users and researchers collaborating on Hyperledger’s incubated projects. Next up is Aram Barnett, Blockchain Engineer and Managing Partner at Vergo.

What advice would you offer other technologists or developers interested in getting started working on blockchain? 

First, identify why you need blockchain. With all the hype surrounding the technology, it’s easy to think you can capitalize on the hype by sprinkling some blockchain into your app. Without a well-defined plan on how and why you are going to apply it, you are simply wasting your time and money.

Second, I want anyone interested in the technology to commit to learning about the details surrounding the progress blockchain has made rather than just the media hype that surrounds it. According to Gartner Hype Cycle, blockchain is at the peak of the technology hype cycle, and soon blockchain will be transitioning into the “trough of disillusion” where people outside of the development community will think that all of the promises of blockchain are not possible. However, unlike many new technologies on the hype cycle, blockchain will quickly escape the trough of disillusionment and grow exponentially when businesses realize the value of private ledgers. It’s is not easy but with enough dedication and a thorough understanding of the fundamentals, a developer can contribute to the blockchain community and create world changing applications. Third, get familiar Go and Javascript.

Hyperledger Composer, the tool that we use to rapidly build and test business networks, uses Javascript to enable the creation of business actions. Once you dive in the technology, be mindful of the difference between permissioned versus non-permissioned ledgers (a.k.a. public versus private blockchains, respectively) and what they offer. We will soon be releasing our own teaching resources for developers get up to speed on Hyperledger and the best practices on developing blockchain based business networks.

Aram Barnett, Blockchain Engineer and Managing Partner, Vergo

Give a bit of background on what you’re working on, and let us know what was it that made you want to get into blockchain?

I first heard about blockchain when I purchased my first bitcoin in 2011. I was so infatuated with bitcoin I dedicated 3 years of my life to running an alternative asset management fund that exclusively traded cryptocurrencies, learning everything I could about bitcoin and blockchain. I always knew that the real value of bitcoin came from the blockchain and in 2015 I began focusing all of my efforts on developing smart contracts on ethereum and coming up with business use cases.

I am currently working on Vergo, a company I co-founded to create blockchain-based business networks for open source and enterprise use.We’re working to make existing corporations more efficient by cutting excess expense associated with business transactions. To further support this community, we are open-sourcing some of our business logic to help other developers learn about this unique technology. We believe that this technology will allow developers to create turnkey businesses in which open-source business logic is easily deployable. This will increase access to entrepreneurship around the globe and empower people to start their own businesses.

More importantly, we believe we have the ethical responsibility to help transition the world to this new era in a responsible manner in which participants understand the consequences of enhanced business network efficiency and automation. We strive to ride the new wave of technological innovation by giving equal attention to corporate efficiency and social well-being.

If you look at  the Gartner Hype Cycle, mentioned earlier, blockchain is at the peak of public hype about its potential. This new wave of technology is scary to some and at peak hype it can seem like anything is possible. I made the choice to ride the blockchain wave. Since I first got involved with bitcoin and subsequently blockchain in 2011, I knew that it would be a promising technology that needs to be developed and implemented globally. We are currently at peak hype, so public interest will decline in the next few years. However, the underlying technology will still be revolutionary and over time the corporate sector will realize how truly valuable it is to their networks.

As Hyperledger’s incubated projects start maturing and hit 1.0s and beyond, what are the most interesting technologies, apps, or use cases coming out as a result from your perspective?

The most interesting project to come out of is Hyperledger Fabric. We are excited about the progress of Fabric 1.0 and what it has to offer to large and medium enterprises. I met with the lead developers at the Hyperledger hackfest in Washington DC to learn more about Fabric and help contribute to the project. Vergo is very interested in this because we see the long-term impact that Fabric will have on how companies deploy blockchain solutions. We are very excited to be building applications and business logic on top of the Fabric ledger that these talented developers have built. We are currently discussing the possibility of cooperation between Vergo and some IBMers to display our business applications running on the IBM z mainframe. Another exciting application called Hyperledger Composer, the application we use to model, build, and test our business networks very quickly using their  business development language. After speaking with  Simon Stone, one of the maintainers of Hyperledger Composer, we are very excited for the future of Composer as a development tool and the services they plan to integrate into it.

What’s the one issue or problem you hope blockchain can solve?

Blockchain has the ability to solve a lot of problems. The ability to capture the nature of “businesses” and their “workers” and digitizing those relationships could lead to efficiency increases across almost every industry.

I think what I am most interested in, in regards to public-facing blockchain solutions, is the possibility of interoperability between chains and the assignment of an identity to every person. For instance, imagine from the very day you are born you were assigned a bank account, a verified identity and trackable health records all stored on a government ledger. From here, your financials, health records, and identity would be immutable and secure and would follow you over the course of your life. The interoperability between your identity and your financial records, for example, would verify you exist while not disclosing your personal data every time you make a transaction. By solving the problem of identity, many other possible solutions arise.

Where do you hope to see Hyperledger and/or blockchain in 5 years?

Let me answer your question with another question: Where do I not see it?

Blockchain-based business networks are inevitable. I think there will be varied solutions for individual businesses and sectors that provide accessible solutions to problems associated with the analysis of big data and efficiency of transactions. Blockchain will be easier to collect and analyze data, which will enhance our understanding of business practices and markets.

Additionally, I hope that turnkey businesses will emerge across the world using open source logic developed out of the Hyperledger framework. The ability to replicate businesses with extreme ease will increase access to opportunities for economically disadvantaged peoples. I hope that the pool of open source logic is such that it allows anyone with enough emotional intelligence and work-ethic to provide a valuable product to a customer even without understanding underlying business logic.

[VIDEO] Hyperledger Interviews Ram Komarraju, CLS Bank

By | Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

We spoke with Ram Komarraju, Chief Architect at CLS Bank. CLS Bank is a founding member of Hyperledger. Having an open source initiative that is industry wide like Hyperledger is vital to the adoption and success of distributed ledger technology (DLT), according to Ram.

CLS Bank’s major focus is to work with the Hyperledger community to make sure the design of Hyperledger Fabric meets the requirements and needs of the enterprise including resiliency, security and scale. Ram believes a key value of being a part of Hyperledger is building an open source DLT solution that is accepted across industries for a wide variety of use cases including financial services and others.

Watch the full interview:

(7.31.17) CoinDesk: Japan’s Fujitsu to ‘Commercialize’ Hyperledger Fabric Software by Next Year

By | Hyperledger Fabric, News

The research arm of Japanese IT firm Fujitsu has unveiled new technology it developed for the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain project as part of a plan to commercialize the software by next spring.

Billed as a means to speed up the rate of transactions for high-performance uses, Fujitsu Laboratories said today that it has developed and tested new tools to speed up transactions with Fabric. The first production-read version of Fabric was launched by the Linux Foundation earlier this month, coming weeks after the publication of a release candidate.

More here.

Winning HyperProperty Project at Consensus 2017 Uses Hyperledger Fabric as Banker and Deed Manager

By | Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

Blockchain enthusiasts from around the world recently attended the Consensus 2017: Building Blocks Hackathon where sponsors issued hackathon challenges to competing teams. Hyperledger issued the challenge to “implement any board game as a blockchain app with one or more Hyperledger projects.”

The winning team: HyperProperty

HyperProperty by De’on Summers, Zhenting Zhou, and Kyle Tut won the Hyperledger challenge with an online property acquisition and banking game utilizing Hyperledger Fabric and deployed with IBM’s Bluemix. The project provides a fantastic example for how Hyperledger technology can facilitate transactions without a middleman.

Pictured left to right: De’on Summers, Brian Behlendorf, Zhenting Zhou, and Kyle Tut

 

The HyperProperty team had the perfect combination of back-end, front-end, and prototyping experience. De’on Summers built the backend and chaincode for HyperProperty. De’on is a blockchain developer from Nashville, TN at Hashed Health. Zhenting Zhou built the front-end interface for HyperProperty. Zhenting is a front-end developer from NYC that became interested in blockchain technology through cryptocurrency. The team also leveraged prototyping expertise from Kyle Tut who is the founder of Kyna, a blockchain patent exchange increasing the liquidity of global innovation. Kyle has previously spent time building IoT blockchain prototypes for logistical applications.

The team’s design goals

The HyperProperty team chose to apply blockchain technology to the game of Monopoly because it provides a good representation of economics, properties, and financial systems. Since everyone already knows the rules of Monopoly, the team felt confident that they could showcase the gameplay with Hyperledger Fabric — ensuring players can’t cheat on dice rolls and tracking board moves, banking transactions, and property purchases on the ledger.

The game of HyperProperty

The architecture of HyperProperty consists of three types of objects:

  1. Properties
  2. Players, which contain each property that the player owns and the player’s account balance
  3. The game board, which consists of all properties and each player’s position

The game demonstrates a tokenized economy because each property exists as a token on Hyperledger Fabric. When a player buys a property, the token for that property gets assigned to the player and his or her account balance goes down.

Coding the game involved taking the initial game of Monopoly and using Hyperledger Fabric to create a trustless, immutable environment so that players don’t have to worry about cheating or the bank paying someone under the table.

The game works by writing four types of events to the ledger:

  1. Game start
  2. Dice roll
  3. Buy property
  4. Pass

At the start of a game, a new board is written to the ledger with all the initial data about properties and players. It’s a clear slate. When a player rolls the dice, a request goes to the backend for the dice to be rolled and the outcome of the dice roll is written to the ledger. This includes an update with the player’s new position. When a player buys a property or passes, the state of the board is updated again with anything that has changed such as the properties that the player owns, the player’s new account balance, and whose turn it is.

The gameplay for HyperProperty is really simple because Hyperledger Fabric acts as the banker and deed manager. The game begins when player 1 aka “MoneyDude” and player 2 aka “Doge” show up to the game. Player 1 rolls the dice. Player 1 can then decide to either buy the property or pass. Once player 1’s turn is over, player 2 rolls the dice. This process is repeated until someone goes bankrupt. Throughout the game, each player’s cash on hand is automatically tracked and written to the ledger.

Next steps for facilitating transactions with Hyperledger Fabric

Lessons from the HyperProperty project can be applied to any tokenized economy where assets are represented by tokens on a blockchain. The project shows that Hyperledger Fabric can be used to guarantee who owns what properties, which is perfect for things like land registration. When assets need to be traded, the participants in the trade can exchange value for the token and accomplish transactions without a middleman. This has the potential to facilitate more efficient and less costly transactions for a lot of things in the real world, including real estate transactions.

If you’re looking to facilitate transactions with Hyperledger Fabric, be sure to play the HyperProperty game at https://peaceful-lake-75705.herokuapp.com/ and get the code from GitHub at https://github.com/Dsummers91/HyperProperty-server and https://github.com/zhenpanda/hyperledger_property_app.

[VIDEO] Hyperledger Interviews Chris Ferris, CTO Open Technology, IBM

By | Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

We spoke with Chris Ferris, Chair of Hyperledger’s Technical Steering Committee, and CTO of Open Technology at IBM.

Blockchain is already changing how IBM does business with its Global Finance System. It is a $4B system and at any time about $100M is in dispute but IBM has reduced that down to $40M by applying blockchain technology.

According to Chris, blockchain will help drive process improvement for their customers’ business interactions, and could have meaningful change in how those processes actually work. The collaboration IBM gets in Hyperledger’s very diverse community is the biggest advantage. It’s not just technologists, there’s leaders from finance, supply chain, automotive, and even aerospace. Chris believes it’s the diversity of thought, technologies and use cases that are the best aspect of participating in Hyperledger.

You can watch the full interview here:

(7.13.17) JAXenter: Develop your application on the blockchain with Hyperledger Fabric

By | Hyperledger Fabric, News

Just 16 months ago, Hyperledger Fabric became the first of the now eight Hyperledger projects to be incubated. Hyperledger Fabric was also the first of the Hyperledger projects to exit incubation to “Active” status in March, after a year in incubation.

The efforts around Hyperledger Fabric have grown into a true, vibrant community including engineers from:
Arxan, Cloudsoft, CLS, d20 Technical Services, The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), Digital Asset, Fujitsu, GE, Gemalto, HACERA, Hitachi, Huawei Technologies, Hyperchain, ImpactChoice, IT People, Knoldus, The Linux Foundation, Netease, Passkit, State Street Bank, SecureKey, IBM, SAP, Thoughtworks and Wanda Group.
There were also contributions from 35 unaffiliated individuals. In total, 159 developers have contributed to Hyperledger Fabric.

More here.

(7.12.17) Health IT News: Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 offers gives blockchain app developers new sandbox

By | Hyperledger Fabric, News

In what’s being billed as a huge milestone for blockchain developers, Hyperledger – a collaborative launched by the Linux Foundation to advance blockchain technologies in healthcare and elsewhere – has gone live with its Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 platform.

Launched as an open source foundation for developing blockchain and distributed ledger applications, Hyperledger Fabric was developed by more than 150 engineers from 28 organizations such as Arxan, Cloudsoft, Fujitsu, GE, IBM and SAP.

More here.