Growing the Enterprise Blockchain Ecosystem Through Open Standards and Open Source Code

Growing the Enterprise Blockchain Ecosystem Through Open Standards and Open Source Code

By Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director of Hyperledger at the Linux Foundation
and Ron Resnick, Executive Director of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance and Hyperledger today announce that we are formally joining each other’s organizations as Associate Members. This will enable more active and mutual cross-community collaboration through event participation, connecting with other members, and finding ways for our respective efforts to be complementary and compatible. The collaboration between our organizations will further accelerate adoption of blockchain technologies for business.

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance sponsors the development of specifications and standards for enterprise blockchain networks, with a focus on those aligned with the broader Ethereum ecosystem. Hyperledger fosters the development of open source software for establishing, managing, and connecting enterprise blockchain networks. Thus, our two organizations have similar objectives, with highly complementary approaches to achieving them.

Our two organizations have similar objectives, such as broadening and strengthening the community around and the adoption of enterprise blockchain technologies. What we hope to get across to the public is that anyone who ever put a “versus” between EEA and Hyperledger got it wrong; it’s now conclusively “EEA AND Hyperledger.”

This relationship will enable Hyperledger developers to write code that conforms to the EEA specification and certify them through EEA certification testing programs expected to launch in the second half of 2019. As members of each other’s organizations, both communities will be able to collaborate across tens of Special Interest Groups, Working Groups, meetups and conferences globally, across hundreds of thousands of developers in both communities.

EEA community members working on specifications and standards can turn to Hyperledger to collaborate on software implementations of those standards. Those could be done as lightweight efforts in Hyperledger Labs, or proposed as top-level projects to the Technical Steering Committee for approval to join the other 10 Hyperledger projects. Our cross-cutting working groups on identity, architecture, performance/scalability could also be leveraged. Both organizations host Meetups and events around the globe, adding to the opportunities for collaboration.

There is already work underway that shows our alignment. In 2017, Hyperledger launched the Hyperledger Burrow project, an Apache-licensed implementation of the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) bytecode interpreter. Earlier this year, Hyperledger Sawtooth added support for the EVM as a transaction processor, bringing smart contracts developed for the Ethereum mainnet over to Sawtooth-based networks. That effort, dubbed “Seth,” is now in active use, and the developers anticipate submitting it for conformance testing to the EEA Spec 1.0 as soon as possible. Likewise, support for the EVM is now available in Hyperledger Fabric.

As a further example, there is currently a working group on Trusted Execution Environments in EEA, and a prototype implementation of those proposed standards, called “Private Data Objects,” being built as a lab at Hyperledger. Hyperledger Labs provide a channel for innovation and testing of ideas to experiment with new frameworks and modules before achieving MVP or stable code.

This concept of simultaneously developing community-driven open standards and production-quality open source reference implementations is a best practice of Internet-scale software development work. Previous examples include the IETF and Apache working on HTTP, and ECMA and Mozilla working on JavaScript.

Down the road, we hope this mutually beneficial relationship will encourage Ethereum developers to consider submitting their enterprise projects to Hyperledger and Hyperledger project maintainers to consider taking de-facto interfaces appropriate for standardization to the appropriate EEA working groups. This relationship will also enable Hyperledger developers to write code that conforms to the EEA specification and certify them through EEA certification testing programs expected to launch in the second half of 2019.

Both organizations will continue to work with other standards bodies, and other open source communities. By working together, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance and Hyperledger will bring substantial benefits to developers and enterprises, and accelerate the adoption of enterprise blockchain technologies.

Thanks,
Brian & Ron