Hyperledger is a complete suite of permissioned blockchain solutions allowing businesses to create distributed applications.
Since its creation in 2015 by the Linux Foundation, solutions from Hyperledger have been criticized for its permissioned nature, which marked a drastic shift from the approach of public blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum. This article describes Hyperledger and the primary problem it aims at solving. It also introduces the wide range of solutions and libraries under the Hyperledger umbrella (e.g., Fabric, Besu) to determine whether Hyperledger's tools can fit your needs.
Hyperledger is a suite of open-source blockchain solutions, including multiple frameworks and tools, established by the Linux Foundation in 2015.Hyperledger is supported by companies, notably IBM, Intel, Accenture, Airbus, and some Japanese enterprises (e.g., Hitachi, NEC, Fujitsu).According to its charter, Hyperledger’s mission is to establish an open-source distributed ledger framework. It features a complete code base, serving business and enterprise needs, whereby users build and operate multiple “applications, platforms, and hardware systems to support business transactions”. Furthermore, the teams from Hyperledger aim to bolster the growth of a technical open-source community, working with companies in the ecosystem dedicated to growing the use of distributed ledgers for business applications.
Hyperledger finds roots in the Linux Foundation’s acknowledgment that blockchains are capable of improving data transparency and solving existing trust issues, yet, these were hindered by political views owing to the status of an underlying cryptocurrency (e.g., "ETH", "BTC").Hence, Hyperledger’s mission focuses on the development of an umbrella of multiple open-source solutions, including stand-alone products, libraries, and other tools to foster the use of blockchain technology across a wide variety of businesses.
Figure 1 - Hyperledger range of solutions, libraries, and other tools Source: Flying Block, Hyperledger. Hyperledger is comprised of multiple distributed ledger solutions, toolkits, and libraries.
Unlike protocols like Baseline, the whole suite of open-source solutions from Hyperledger rely mostly on permissioned networks, with participant identities clearly stated, yet, with some exceptions. Hyperledger is developing six open-source blockchain solutions: Fabric - the most popular solution from Hyperledger. Fabric is a stand-alone distributed ledger enterprise solution built around the concepts of modularity and flexibility to cater for a wide range of use cases. Besu - an Ethereum client, targeting enterprises, for use cases including public and private permissioned networks.
|Product||Description||Smart contract||Use cases||Consensus||Nature|
|Fabric||A stand-alone permissioned DLT for enterprises.||Go, Java||Whitelabel enterprise solutions||Flexible||Private/Permissioned|
|Besu||A Java-based permissioned version of Ethereum, with added privacy options||Solidity, DAML (EVM)||Whitelabel enterprise solutions||PoW, PoA (IBFT/Clique)||Public or Private/Permissioned|
|Burrow (Incubation)||A single-binary permissioned EVM-compatible blockchain||Solidity (EVM) Experimental languages (WASM)||Lightweight product supporting EVM-compatibility with Tendermint.||PoET, PoA(RAFT/PBFT)||Public or Private/Permissioned or Permissionless|
|Indy||A library for identity management, featuring the use of zero-knowledge proof.||-||Identity management solution that can be referenced by smart contracts in blockchains. Can also be implemented as a stand-alone solution.|
|Iroha||A permissioned distributed ledger for IoT projects||C++||Lightweight network built for Internet of Things and other mobile applications.||YAC (Yet Another Consensus) - a distinct vote-based consensus mechanism||Private/Permissioned|
Besides the above range of distributed ledger solutions, Hyperledger also features a set of libraries and tools.
As of writing, there are five core libraries from Hyperledger:
As of writing, there are five primary tools from Hyperledger:
As of today, Hyperledger is the largest umbrella of open-source blockchain solutions tailored to enterprise use cases. With more than a dozen products, including libraries, tools, and other white-label blockchains, the Hyperledger suite attempts to cater to a large number of use cases in multiple real-world industries such as supply chain, real estate, and financial services. Furthermore, large companies have been implementing solutions for it, mostly on Fabric. Notably, IBM, the technology giant, solely relies on Hyperledger solutions for its blockchain range of activities. However, there might be multiple drawbacks due to this diversity of offerings. Amongst them, some are:
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