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Hyperledger (or the Hyperledger project) is an umbrella project of open source blockchains and related tools, started in December 2015 by the Linux Foundation, and has received contributions from IBM, Intel and SAP Ariba, to support the collaborative development of blockchain-based distributed ledgers.
In December 2015, the Linux Foundation announced the creation of the Hyperledger Project. The founding members of the project were announced in February 2016 and ten further members and the makeup of the governing board were announced March 29. On May 19, Brian Behlendorf was appointed executive director of the project.
The objective of the project is to advance cross-industry collaboration by developing blockchains and distributed ledgers, with a particular focus on improving the performance and reliability of these systems (as compared to comparable cryptocurrency designs) so that they are capable of supporting global business transactions by major technological, financial and supply chain companies. The project will integrate independent open protocols and standards by means of a framework for use-specific modules, including blockchains with their own consensus and storage routines, as well as services for identity, access control and smart contracts. Early on there was some confusion that Hyperledger would develop its own bitcoin-type cryptocurrency, but Behlendorf has unreservedly stated that the Hyperledger Project itself will never build its own cryptocurrency.
In early 2016, the project began accepting proposals for incubation of codebases and other technologies as core elements. One of the first proposals was for a codebase combining previous work by Digital Asset, Blockstream's libconsensus and IBM's OpenBlockchain. This was later named Fabric. In May, Intel's distributed ledger, named Sawtooth, was incubated.
Early members of the initiative included blockchain ISVs, (Blockchain, ConsenSys, Digital Asset, R3, Onchain), well-known technology platform companies (Cisco, Fujitsu, Hitachi, IBM, Intel, NEC, NTT DATA, Red Hat, VMware), financial services firms (ABN AMRO, ANZ Bank, BNY Mellon, CLS Group, CME Group, the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), Deutsche Börse Group, J.P. Morgan, State Street, SWIFT, Wells Fargo, Sberbank), business software companies like SAP, academic institutions (Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, Blockchain at Columbia, UCLA Blockchain Lab), systems integrators and others (Accenture, Calastone, Wipro, Credits, Guardtime, IntellectEU, Nxt Foundation, Symbiont, Smart Block Laboratory).
The governing board of the Hyperledger Project consists of twenty members chaired by Robert Palatnick, (managing director and chief technology architect for DTCC), and a twelve-member Technical Steering Committee chaired by Dan Middleton, Principal Engineer at Intel.
Hyperledger Fabric is a permissioned blockchain infrastructure, originally contributed by IBM and Digital Asset, providing a modular architecture with a delineation of roles between the nodes in the infrastructure, execution of Smart Contracts (called "chaincode" in Fabric) and configurable consensus and membership services. A Fabric Network comprises (1) "Peer nodes", which execute chaincode, access ledger data, endorse transactions and interface with applications; (2) "Orderer nodes" which ensure the consistency of the blockchain and deliver the endorsed transactions to the peers of the network; and (3) Membership Service Providers (MSPs), each generally implemented as a Certificate Authority, managing X.509 certificates which are used to authenticate member identity and roles. Hyperledger Fabric allows for use of different consensus algorithms, but the consensus algorithm that is most commonly used with the platform is Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT).
Hyperledger Iroha is being used in Cambodia to create a new payment system alongside the National Bank of Cambodia, and in various other projects across healthcare, finance and identity management.
Hyperledger Caliper is a blockchain benchmark tool and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation. Hyperledger Caliper allows users to measure the performance of a specific blockchain implementation with a set of predefined use cases. Hyperledger Caliper will produce reports containing a number of performance indicators, such as TPS (Transactions Per Second), transaction latency, resource utilisation etc. The intent is for Caliper results to be used by other Hyperledger projects as they build out their frameworks, and as a reference in supporting the choice of a blockchain implementation suitable for a user's specific needs. Hyperledger Caliper was initially contributed by developers from Huawei, Hyperchain, Oracle, Bitwise, Soramitsu, IBM and the Budapest University of Technology and Economics.
Hyperledger Cello is a blockchain module toolkit and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation. Hyperledger Cello aims to bring the on-demand "as-a-service" deployment model to the blockchain ecosystem to reduce the effort required for creating, managing and terminating blockchains. It provides a multi-tenant chain service efficiently and automatically on top of various infrastructures, e.g., baremetal, virtual machine, and more container platforms. Hyperledger Cello was initially contributed by IBM, with sponsors from Soramitsu, Huawei and Intel.
Baohua Yang and Haitao Yue from IBM Research are committed part-time to developing and maintaining the project.
Blockchain package management tooling contributed by IBM. Composer is a user-facing rapid prototyping tooling, running on top of Hyperledger Fabric, which allows the easy management of Assets (data stored on the blockchain), Participants (identity management, or member services) and Transactions (Chaincode, a.k.a. Smart Contracts, which operate on Assets on the behalf of a Participant). The resulting application can be exported as a package (a BNA file) which may be executed on a Hyperledger Fabric instance, with the support of a Node.js application (based on the Loopback application framework) and provide a REST interface to external applications.
Composer provides a GUI user interface "Playground" for the creation of applications, and therefore represents an excellent starting point for Proof of Concept work.
Hyperledger Explorer is a blockchain module and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation. Designed to create a user-friendly Web application, Hyperledger Explorer can view, invoke, deploy or query blocks, transactions and associated data, network information (name, status, list of nodes), chain codes and transaction families, as well as any other relevant information stored in the ledger. Hyperledger Explorer was initially contributed by IBM, Intel and DTCC.
Ursa is a modular, flexible shared cryptography library.
The technology would bypass the need for ATMs and formal financial institutions for customers by allowing them to send and receive funds directly, while central banks and physical financial institutions could use it for streamlined interbank lending activity, according to Martin Kendrik, the founder of the Cambodian Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin and Blockchain Community.