Last month we demonstrated Digital Asset's commitment to open source by moving Hyperledger to the independent Linux Foundation. We are excited to collaborate with global leaders across finance and technology: Accenture, ANZ Bank, Cisco, CLS, Credits, Deutsche Börse, DTCC, Fujitsu Limited, IC3, IBM, Intel, J.P. Morgan, London Stock Exchange Group, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, R3, State Street, SWIFT, VMware, and Wells Fargo. The reaction to the announcement was fantastic; Hyperledger has been one of the most highly requested to participate in projects in the Linux Foundation's history. There are several extremely exciting additions since the initial announcement that will be made public soon.
It is vital for a piece of common, shared infrastructure to be open to critical inspection.
This would allow an open community to benefit from security fixes and functional additions from a wider range of developers than would be available to any single company or group.
This is why we are so delighted that the Linux Foundation accepted the Hyperledger project. The Linux Foundation team has tremendous experience bringing together many large technology companies, a community of individual contributors, and setting up the structures necessary to guide a project across various end user groups. They have proven the model time and again with various successful open source projects like CloudFoundry, Node JS, and the Open Container Initiative; saving billions of dollars of value. The robust, tried and tested governance model of the Linux Foundation separate business, marketing, and legal decision making from technical decisions, which are made purely based on merit and level of contribution.
Digital Asset’s Hyperledger implementation is an enterprise-ready blockchain server with a client API. Hyperledger has a modular architecture and configurable protocol properties.
Hyperledger employs an append-only log of financial transactions designed to be replicated at multiple organizations without centralized control. Technology companies today are well aware of the benefits of having a data backbone, or Enterprise Service Bus, to coordinate data across services within the company. The goal of Hyperledger is to allow expansion of the data backbone concept to the multi-organization level.
Hyperledger is designed to be the lowest level communication and consensus layer and aims to upgrade components of today's global financial infrastructure, which consists of a complex patchwork of systems, protocols, and adapters. We are open sourcing this project with the belief that as a critical part of the new financial infrastructure, this part of the software stack should be commoditized, collaborative and serve as the robust backbone to value-added applications.
What we are making available today is the most recent stable version of a combination of many man years of work across multiple startups: Digital Asset, Bits of Proof, Blockstack, and Hyperledger. It is a work in progress and we are in the process of replacing several components, adding others, and integrating with other open source projects. This particularly relates to security, scalability, and privacy, as outlined in the roadmap below.
Hyperledger was built with the requirements of enterprise architecture in mind by a team that has worked in financial institutions for decades. It has a highly modular design at both the code and runtime levels to allow for integrations with legacy systems. The networking rules are configurable to allow for distinct interoperable consensus groups, each with its own functional and nonfunctional requirements.
Hyperledger utilizes the same UTXO/script based transactional decision of Bitcoin and extends it with features required in financial services. While the public Bitcoin blockchain is not suitable for many uses within regulated financial infrastructure, much of its design and mature cryptography has been withstanding attacks in the wild, protecting tokens with a market cap in the billions of dollars. There has been a large amount of venture investment around Bitcoin and a huge body of development work done around it. By conforming to the UTXO model as a de facto standard there is a larger ecosystem of innovation to draw from.
Digital Asset has also included a prototype implementation of the Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance consensus module as an alternative to Proof of Work. We are collaborating with many of the other members of the project on the consensus module to ensure there is a scalable, secure, Byzantine Fault Tolerant consensus protocol that can provide settlement finality for wholesale financial institutions.
Other major additions are:
- Signed blocks
- Multiple native assets
After being submitted to the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger project, the roadmap will be determined by the Technical Steering Committee and community of contributions. The code base that we are contributing is the latest stable version but we have many more improvements that we will be contributing shortly:
- Enhanced privacy features
- Integration with multiple Byzantine Fault Tolerant consensus implementations
- JNA bindings to a consensus library derived from the Bitcoin consensus library. This will allow for security audit of the patchset defining the divergence from Bitcoin, which has a well understood set of consensus rules.
- Fixes following a 3rd party security audit and static code analysis.
- Support for some of the feature set of the Elements Project led by Blockstream, for example SCV and confidential transactions.