What is Hyperledger – An Industrial Approach to Blockchain
What is Hyperledger?
“Hyperledger is an open sourced community of communities to benefit an ecosystem of Hyperledger based solution providers and users focused on blockchain related use cases that will work across a variety of industrial sectors.“
– Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director of Hyperledger.
If that didn’t make sense to you, then worry not because I’ll be explaining everything about Hyperledger in this blog. I will be going over the following topics:
- What is Hyperledger?
- Why we need Hyperledger?
- How Hyperledger Works?
- Notable Changes in Hyperledger
- Hyperledger Projects
You may go through this recording of Hyperledger Tutorial where I have explained the topics in a detailed manner with examples that will help you to understand this concept better.
Before I tell you what Hyperledger is, let me tell you what Hyperledger isn’t. Because with so many blockchain platforms around the IT industry today, it’s really easy to get confused. So, to begin with, Hyperledger is not:
- A cryptocurrency
- A blockchain
- A company
What is Hyperledger?
Hyperledger is an umbrella project, under the Linux Foundation. NodeJs, Alljoyn, Dronecode are some example projects that have adopted the “Linux Way”, i.e. to weave a community of developers who work on open source projects thus maintaining a cycle where a piece of code is constantly getting modified and redistributed.
Linux Family – What is Hyperledger
The ethos of Hyperledger is that the world will have multiple private chains running separate markets. Since every business is unique in itself, applications that tend to these businesses should be developed using personalized rules. Unlike ethereum which tends to force developers to build their applications around generalized protocols.
Hyperledger project began with a small number of developers in late 2015. These developers came from various sectors like data science, manufacturing, banking etc., and had one common goal in mind, i.e. to make blockchain as a technology more accessible to developers and industries. The project began with the testing of interactions between applications and secure blockchain networks.
Beginning of Testing – What is Hyperledger
Why do we need Hyperledger?
During rigorous testing, developers involved realized that in blockchain networks, where every peer needs to validate each and every transaction and run consensus at the same time, take a huge blow in terms of scalability. Above that, transactions with a measure of confidentiality and privacy attached to them cannot be executed on public blockchains due to the exhaustive measures that are taken to ensure the integrity of a transaction.
Restriction of public blockchains – What is Hyperledger
Suppose Bob, living in India, wanted to buy chocolates from Alice in Switzerland. As they were old friends, Alice decides to sell her chocolates to Bob at a pretty generous discount. The catch here is that Alice sells her products to a number of different markets and still needs them to buy from her at standard rates. Other than that, to get the product from Alice to Bob a lot of third parties are required to complete the transaction.
Alice’s Markets – What is Hyperledger
These third parties may have to verify other aspects of the product like quality assurance, logistic verification, payment verification and much more. But they do not need to know about the special deal between Bob and Alice. On a public blockchain network, every ledger on the network will get updated about the deal as miners validate and add transactions to the chain.
Private and Confidential Contracts – What is Hyperledger
How does Hyperledger work?
On a Hyperledger based network though, it’s a completely different story! The peers directly affiliated with the deal are connected, and only their ledgers get updated about the deal. Third parties who help carry out the transaction only get to know the exact amount of information they need with the help of permission and regulations levied on the network.
Hyperledger Network-What is Hyperledger
Suppose Alice and Bob were executing their special transaction on a Hyperledger based network, she would look up Bob through an app which in returns queries a membership service. After the membership has been validated, the two peers are connected and results are generated. In this two-party agreement, both results have to be the same for them to get validated. But in other transactions with multiple parties, more rules can be applied. These generated transactions are now sent to a consensus cloud for ordering, following which they are committed to their respective ledgers.
Hyperledger Transaction – What is Hyperledger
Notable changes in Hyperledger
All this is made possible due to Hyperledger’s modular architecture which makes properties like consensus a plug-and-play feature. In this architecture, the most notable changes are seen in the peers of a network. The peers have been divided into two separate runtimes and three distinct roles, namely:
Architectural Changes – What is Hyperledger
- Committer: These peers only write validated transactions returned from the consensus mechanism to the respective ledgers. Committer nodes can act as Endorsers on networks with fewer restrictions. But, as restrictions are increased, this condition is completely avoided
- Endorser: These nodes are responsible for simulating transactions specific to their network and prevent non-deterministic and unreliable transactions. While committers may or may not be endorsers depending on network restrictions, all endorsers act as committers
- Consenters: These nodes are responsible for running the consensus of the network. They run on a completely different run-time, unlike endorsers and committers which run on the same run-time. Consenters are responsible for validating transactions and deciding which ledger the transaction be committed to.
So if you remember, I had mentioned that Hyperledger is an umbrella project. This means that there are numerous projects under Hyperledger itself. These include projects such as:
- Hyperledger Fabric, used extensively in supply-chain networks
- Hyperledger Sawtooth, is being used in the fishing industry to track the journey of fishes
- Hyperledger Burrow, which is being used to run Ethereum smart contracts in a Hyperledger network
- Hyperledger Iroha, finds usage in mobile application optimization with the help of blockchain
- Hyperledger Indy, is being used as a decentralized identity database service for businesses
Now that we know what is Hyperledger, why it is needed in today’s IT industry, and how it works, let us compare Hyperledger to the two most famous blockchain networks: Bitcoin and Ethereum.
|Cryptocurrency||Bitcoin||Ether||None; can be implemented if deemed necessary|
|Consensus||Proof of Work (SHA26)||Ethash||Practical Fault Byzantine Tolerance|
|Smart Contract||None||Yes (solidity)||Yes (chaincode)|
Now that I’m done explaining Hyperledger, I hope you enjoyed reading my blog!
If you wish to learn more about blockchain and build a career in blockchain technologies, then check out our Blockchain Certification Training which comes with instructor-led live training and real-life project experience. This training will help you understand Hyperledger Fabric in depth and help you master the subject.
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