Over the years, as Blockchain technology continues to expand and develop, we’ve seen the inclusion of numerous Blockchain frameworks and tools in the Blockchain domain. One such Blockchain framework is Hyperledger.
Hyperledger came to the limelight in 2016. It is an open-source suite of tools and projects designed explicitly for streamlining the process of development of Blockchain apps and systems via enhanced collaboration between businesses and developers working with the DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology).
In this post, we’re going to focus on one of Hyperledger’s most successful and popular projects – Hyperledger Fabric.
What is Hyperledger Fabric?
Hyperledger Fabric is an enterprise-grade, distributed ledger framework that aims to provide two core features for Blockchain use cases – modularity and versatility. Fabric’s modular architecture seamlessly accommodates the diversity of the industry use cases of Blockchain technology by leveraging plug-and-play elements like privacy, consensus, and permissioned services.
Some of the core features of Hyperledger Fabric are
- It has a highly modular, permissioned architecture.
- It features a plug-and-play consensus.
- It has an open smart contract model that imparts the flexibility to implement any desired solution model (account model, UTXO model, etc.).
- It has a low latency of finality/confirmation.
- It has support for EVM and Solidity.
- It supports queryable data (key-based queries and JSON queries).
- It offers a flexible approach to data privacy – it performs data isolation via ‘channels,’ data sharing on a need-to-know basis by leveraging private data ‘collections.’
- It features a flexible endorsement model for achieving consensus across required organizations.
- It facilitates continuous operations, including rolling upgrades and asymmetric version sup-port.
Hyperledger Fabric is a permissioned Blockchain network that is set up by organizations that come together to build a consortium. The organizations that take part in this consortium are known as members.
Perhaps the best feature of Fabric is its network-within-network architecture. Although members of the network come together with the intention of collaborating, since each member organization needs to retain their private data, they maintain separate relationships within their network. Each member organization in the network creates a setup for their peers who participate in the network. The configuration of these peers is done using cryptographic components such as Certificate Authority.
These peers within a network receive transaction invocation requests from the clients inside the organization. Here, a client refers to any specific application, portal serving particular organization, or business activity. These clients interact with the Fabric network by leveraging the Hyperledger Fabric SDK or REST web service. The chaincode (Smart Contract) installed in the peer nodes triggers the transaction invocation request.
The Fabric network is based on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) wherein all the peers maintain one ledger per channel (that they subscribe to). However, unlike Ethereum, in the Hyperledger Fabric network, the peers have different roles. The three types of peers are:
- Endorser peer – Endorser peers are those nodes that validate the transaction and execute the chaincode while also simulating the outcome of the transaction. However, these peers do not update the ledger.
- Anchor peer – At the time of channel configuration, an anchor peer or a cluster of anchor peers are configured simultaneously. These peers receive updates from the endorser peers about the transactions, and then they broadcast the updates to the other peers in the organization. Since anchor peers are discoverable, they can be easily discovered by the orderer peer or any other peer.
- Orderer peer – Orderer peer functions as the primary communication channel for the Fabric network. The orderer peer creates the block and delivers it to all the other peers. It is responsible for maintaining a consistent ledger state across the network.
Hyperledger Fabric: Applications
1. Digital payments
While Hyperledger is a decentralized private Blockchain network that facilitates the secure transaction between two parties, Fabric is focusing on creating Interledger for the financial sector. Interledger works on the concept of connecting different ledgers, thereby making it easier to carry out transactions through the same channels.
The idea behind designing Interledger is to encourage communication between different international payment systems across the globe. The design is such that any payer in any location of the world should be able to pay any payee, quickly and with minimal costs, without both parties needing to set up accounts on a particular global payment service.
2. Diamond tracing
The diamond mining business is a tricky one. During the mining and extraction process, the diamonds pass through and swap multiple hands. Naturally, if strict measures aren’t taken, double-dealing and fraud are commonplace in this trade.
With Hyperledger Fabric, companies involved in diamond mining, including miners, separators, exporters, and retailers, can form a consortium. By doing so, Fabric can track and record all the transactions, thus, keeping the entire process transparent.
3. Food supply chain
For long, companies across various sectors have been using Hyperledger to track the processing of products throughout their manufacturing journey. In the food manufacturing sector, companies use Fabric to form consortiums to both improve the food supply process and gain the trust of customers.
With Fabric, authorized users can access the food supply chain data whenever they wish. They can track the entire history as well as the current location of any food item. Also, if any food item is infected or defected, manufacturers can identify the source of infection or defect and take necessary measures for the same.
4. B2B contracts
With Hyperledger Fabric, enterprises can codify their business contracts to enable the automation of contractual agreements between two or more parties safely and securely. While the Blockchain concept essentially keeps the information as “public,” Fabric’s network-within-network architecture ensures that the confidential and sensitive information of B2B contracts remains with the member organizations.
5. Digital identity
In the face of the growing data breaches and cybercrimes, companies are increasingly becoming concerned about their data and network security. Since traditional network security systems fail to provide robust security and reliability, more and more companies are now inclining towards the Blockchain technology to secure their sensitive data. By using a permissioned Blockchain ledger like Fabric, organizations can effectively control l when, where, and with whom they share their digital credentials.
We hope this article was successful in providing you with the fundamental idea behind Hyperledger Fabric, how it functions, and what are its applications. If what you read interests you, dig deeper and get to know more about Hyperledger Fabric!
These unique Hyperledger frameworks and tools prove that Hyperledger holds immense potential for Blockchain technology. You can use these tools to develop highly scalable and robust industrial and non-monetary applications.
You can find out more about blockchain technologies in our blog, so be sure to check it out later.
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