What Is Hyperledger?

Hyperledger is a global enterprise blockchain project that offers the necessary framework, standards, guidelines, and tools to build open source blockchains and related applications for use across various industries. Hyperledger's projects include a variety of enterprise-ready permissioned blockchain platforms, where network participants are known to one another and therefore have an intrinsic interest in participating in the consensus-making process.

Using the available components under the Hyperledger umbrella, a business can apply various modular blockchain solutions and services to significantly improve the performance of their operations and the efficiency of their business processes.

Key Takeaways

  • Hyperledger is an open source community focused on developing a suite of stable frameworks, tools, and libraries for permissioned, enterprise-grade blockchain deployments.
  • It is a global collaboration, hosted by The Linux Foundation, and includes member organizations that are leaders in finance, banking, Internet of Things, supply chains, manufacturing, and technology.
  • Several sub-projects exist, including Hyperledger Fabric, Sawtooth, Composer, and Cello.

Understanding Hyperledger

The Hyperledger project was created in December 2015 by the San Francisco, California–based Linux Foundation. It started with 30 member firms, and has grown to more than 120 member companies today.

Hyperledger was set up with the aim of accelerating industry-wide collaboration for developing high-performance and reliable blockchain and distributed ledger-based technology framework that could be used across the various industry sectors to enhance the efficiency, performance, and transactions of the various business processes.

Hyperledger is a global collaboration that includes leading businesses from the fields of finance, banking, Internet of Things (IoT), supply chain management, manufacturing and production, and technology. They include big names like Bosch, Daimler, IBM, Samsung, Microsoft, Hitachi, American Express, JP Morgan, and Visa, in addition to a host of blockchain-based startups like Blockforce and ConsenSys.

Hyperledger's Organizational Structure

Essentially, Hyperledger is not an organization, a cryptocurrency network, or a blockchain system. It does not support a cryptocurrency like bitcoin, but it works by providing the necessary infrastructure and standards for developing various blockchain-based systems and applications for industrial use. Think of Hyperledger as a hub, where various individual blockchain-based projects and tools that adhere to its defined design philosophy operate under its umbrella.

The various projects include the following:

  • Hyperledger Fabric is a platform for building various blockchain-based products, solutions, and applications for business use.
  • Hyperledger Cello allows blockchain to be used through an on-demand “as-a-service” deployment model (Blockchain-as-a-Service).
  • Hyperledger Explorer is a dashboard utility that allows for the monitoring, searching, and maintenance of blockchain developments and related data.
  • Hyperledger Burrow is a permissioned Ethereum smart contract blockchain node that handles transactions and executes smart contract code on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).
  • Hyperledger Sawtooth is an enterprise-level, permissioned, modular blockchain platform that uses an innovative Proof of Elapsed Time consensus algorithm.
  • Hyperledger Caliper is a blockchain benchmark tool that is used to evaluate the performance of a specific blockchain implementation.

All such projects under the Hyperledger umbrella follow the design methodology that supports a modular and extensible approach, interoperability, and security features. The projects remain agnostic to a particular token or cryptocurrency, though a user can create one as required.

Hyperledger Technology Layers

In terms of the architecture, Hyperledger uses the following key business components:

  • The consensus layer takes care of creating an agreement on the order and confirming the correctness of the set of transactions that constitute a block.
  • The smart contract layer is responsible for processing transaction requests and authorizing only valid transactions.
  • The communication layer takes care of peer-to-peer message transport.
  • The identity management services is the necessary function for maintaining and validating identities of users and systems and establishing trust on blockchain.
  • The API, or application programming interface, enables external applications and clients to interface with the blockchain.