Hyperledger is a collaborative software initiative launched by the Linux Foundation in 2016 to build a new kind of platform for the next generation of the Internet. The Hyperledger platform has been hinted at by the blockchain technologies underpinning bitcoin and Ethereum, but its application goes far beyond alternative currencies.
At its core, Hyperledger is a decentralized append-only log whose entries are arrived at by consensus and whose history is incorruptible, even in the face of disappearing or hostile participants on the network. Smart contracts build upon this log by automating business processes to write new entries to this log in a trustworthy way, enabling all sorts of interesting applications. This means Hyperledger can be used to address information-management problems that would otherwise require a single trusted participant at the center of the network. This is valuable not only in financial industry use cases, where avoiding centralized entities is desirable, but also in healthcare, environmental monitoring, emerging-market credit, supply chains, even education.
Building an open source community in this space has been challenging, because so many of the interesting use cases go far beyond what’s easy to do on one’s laptop. Nevertheless, interest and energy has been pouring into the Hyperledger Project. Arnaud Le Hors discusses how the project is organized, what it has accomplished, where and how it integrated the best practices of FOSS communities elsewhere, and what more there is to do.
Arnaud Le Hors is senior technical staff member of open web technologies at IBM. Arnaud has been working on open technologies for over 20 years, focusing on standards and open source development, both as a staff member of standards development organizations (SDOs) such as W3C and as a representative for IBM. Arnaud has been involved in every aspect of the standards development process, including the technical, strategic, political, and legal aspects, both internal and external to an SDO and to companies like IBM. Arnaud was editor of several key web specifications including HTML and DOM. He has also participated in open source projects such as Xerces, the Apache XML parser. Arnaud is currently the main representative for IBM at W3C, the chair of the W3C RDF Data Shapes working group, and a member of the Hyperledger Project Technical Steering Committee.
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