DEFINITION of Hyperledger Burrow

Hyperledger Burrow is one of the Hyperledger projects which operates as a permissioned Ethereum smart contract blockchain node. Its primary function is to execute the Ethereum smart contract programming code on a permissioned virtual machine.

BREAKING DOWN Hyperledger Burrow

Hyperledger Burrow is hosted by the Linux Foundation and was originally designed by Monax, an open platform to build, ship, and run blockchain-based applications for business ecosystems. The famous processor and chipmaker Intel has also co-sponsored the project, which is currently in incubation stage.

Hyperledger Burrow acts as a permissioned smart contract application engine whose primary job is executing and processing smart contract programs in a secure and efficient manner. It is built for a multi-chain environment that supports application specific optimization.

Many blockchain networks, like Ethereum, support smart contracts, self-executing contracts with that have contract terms directly written into the code. In simple terms, Hyperledger Burrow acts as a smart contract interpreter facilitating the execution of such contracts on the network adhering to the standards of the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). EVM executes Ethereum smart contract scripts using a global network of public nodes. The Burrow acts as a node on the blockchain, which uses EVM standards to provide both the conclusiveness of various smart contract transactions and high transaction throughput. (For more, see An Introduction to Ethereum Classic.)

Hyperledger Burrow comprises the following components:

A consensus engine takes care of ordering and handling various transactions on the blockchain, and ensures high transaction output. It has a built-in set of transaction validators and also prevents any possible malicious attempts at hacking and forking the blockchain. The consensus engine remains agnostic from the smart contract applications as another layer, the Application Blockchain Interface (ABCI), keeps the two separate, ensuring the security of the core engine from the various applications, which may at times include malicious ones.

Whenever a transaction occurring on the blockchain network calls for the execution of a smart contract code, the Smart Contract Application (SCA) component activates the necessary execution of that account’s code in a permissioned Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). The job of an EVM is to ensure that the Ethereum operation code specifications are adhered to by the executing application’s code, and the required permissions are correctly granted.

While Hyperledger Burrow currently remains in an incubation stage, in the future it may achieve better performance to meet cross-functional business needs.

It expects to support identity management, inter-blockchain communication, multi-chain ecosystem, blockchain lifecycle management, and smart contract life-cycle management. These features will help Hyperledger Burrow offer enhanced security, identity, and privacy, with the potential to improve scalability, performance, and governance of blockchain networks.