Book Image

Hands-On Blockchain with Hyperledger

By : Nitin Gaur, Luc Desrosiers, Venkatraman Ramakrishna, Petr Novotny, Salman A. Baset, Anthony O'Dowd
Book Image

Hands-On Blockchain with Hyperledger

By: Nitin Gaur, Luc Desrosiers, Venkatraman Ramakrishna, Petr Novotny, Salman A. Baset, Anthony O'Dowd

Overview of this book

Blockchain and Hyperledger technologies are hot topics today. Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Composer are open source projects that help organizations create private, permissioned blockchain networks. These find application in finance, banking, supply chain, and IoT among several other sectors. This book will be an easy reference to explore and build blockchain networks using Hyperledger technologies. The book starts by outlining the evolution of blockchain, including an overview of relevant blockchain technologies. You will learn how to configure Hyperledger Fabric and become familiar with its architectural components. Using these components, you will learn to build private blockchain networks, along with the applications that connect to them. Starting from principles first, you’ll learn to design and launch a network, implement smart contracts in chaincode and much more. By the end of this book, you will be able to build and deploy your own decentralized applications, handling the key pain points encountered in the blockchain life cycle.
Table of Contents (20 chapters)
Title Page
Copyright and Credits
Packt Upsell

Where blockchain technology has been and where it's going

Blockchain has already been a business disruptor, and I expect it to significantly transform industries, the government, and our lives in the near future.

The great divide

A significant divided exists between the cryptocurrency and Initial Coin Offering (ICO) world, and the world of regulated business. The latter consists of banks and financial institutions working collectively to assess market potential and operational efficiencies.

Both sides of this division have taken advantage of the momentum around blockchain to further their interests. The blockchain ecosystem has challenged the status quo and defied all odds to make a point—often behaving like an adolescent. It is driven by new business models, promises of disintermediation, and interesting technological innovations. As blockchain gains momentum, the value of bitcoin and other cryptoassets is seeing a meteoric rise, and now that ICO has emerged, it has defied the traditional regulatory framework around fundraising.

On the enterprise side, there are a growing number of industry initiatives around clearing and settlement to enable faster settlement and interbank transfers, transparency through digitization, symmetric dissemination of information in supply chains, and creating adhoc trust between Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

There's a common theme here—that blockchain is here to stay. As it continues to evolve and generate innovative solutions for industry use cases, it will keep inching towards maturity and deliver on its promises of efficiency and significant cost savings built on the foundation of trust.

An economic model for blockchain delivery

Business networks, underpinned by blockchain technology, may bring transformation or disruption to industries, but in any case, in order to thrive, blockchain needs an economic model. If disruption is the aim, investments in technology, talent, and market synergy can be combined with the lure of economic incentives. ICOs, for example, typically rely on tokenomics, a term that describes the economic system of value generation in those networks. The token is the unit of value created by the system or network, either through making a platform for providers or consumers, or through co-creating a self-governing value network in its business model that various entities can use to their advantage for creating, distributing, and sharing rewards that benefit all stakeholders.

The ICO front, largely funded by cryptocurrencies, has defied current fundraising mechanisms in venture capitalism (led by crowdfunding projects), and, importantly, the struggle to discern the difference between a security and utility coin is disruptive in principle.

ICOs are looking to create an economic system built on the principles of decentralization, open governance (or self-governance), and transparency, a system that rewards innovation and eradicates disintermediation. ICOs saw some initial failures and some successes, but they nevertheless provided a preview of the future, where cryptoassets will become a basic unit of value—with valuation and fungibility defined by the network they originate from—fueling an economy built for and around innovation.

On the enterprise front, there's been more focus on understanding the technology and reimagining ecosystems, business networks, regulations, confidentiality and privacy, and the business models that impact blockchain networks in various industries. Enterprises looking to explore blockchain want to see quick proof points, use cases that can demonstrate results quickly and help them innovate with blockchain.

Blockchain is helping industries move to a more symmetric dissemination of information by providing built-in control of transactional data, provenance, and historical context. This can lead to more efficient workflows and transformed business processes. Many early projects, however, didn't focus on the core tenets of blockchain, leading to disintermediation, decentralization, and robust self-governance models. There's a good reason for it, though: industries and conventional businesses tend to be focused on their current business agenda, models, growth, and preceding all, regulatory compliance and adherence. This emphasis on current business operations means they're not naturally inclined towards disruptive models.

Learning as we go

With any new technology, there is always a learning curve. As blockchain evolved and we began to work with regulated industries, we quickly recognized that in such industries, there are important design considerations to address, things such as confidentiality, privacy, scalability, and performance. These elements can have significant cost implications when it comes to designing blockchain networks, as well as the business models that govern these networks. These challenges have not only been interesting to solve; they've had a positive effect on conventional, regulated industries and businesses by re-energizing innovation in these organizations and inviting the best talent to join in tackling these challenges. Businesses are seeing that ecosystems and networks driven by blockchain technology will contribute to progress and success.

Permissioned networks (regulated, conventional, and enterprise business networks) may also need to begin uncovering an incentive model to motivate organizations to join a platform that promotes the idea of creation, distribution, and sharing of rewards, benefiting all stakeholders. The economic incentives behind tokenomics can't be blindly adopted by a lot of conventional businesses and industries, but that doesn't mean those industries shouldn't start the journey of exploring possible business models that will enable value creation and elevate some desperately needed modernization efforts.

The promise of trust and accountability

Blockchain technology promises to be the foundation for a secure transaction network that can induce trust and security in many industries that are plagued with systemic issues around trust and accountability. From a technology point of view, blockchain facilitates a system of processing and recording transactions that is secure, transparent, auditable, efficient, and immutable. These technology characteristics lend themselves to addressing the time and trust issues that current-day distributed transaction systems are plagued with.

Blockchain fundamentally shifts the multi-tier model to a flat-tier transaction processing model. This carries the promise to fundamentally disrupt industries by disintermediation, by inducing efficacy in new system design or simply by creating new business models.

Disintermediation indicates reducing the use of intermediaries between producers and consumers, such as by investing directly in the securities market rather than going through a bank. In the financial industry, every transaction has historically required a counter party to process the transaction. Disintermediation involves removing the middleman, which by definition disrupts the business models and incentive economies that are based on mediation. There's been a wave of disruption in recent years as a result of digital technologies, which have, in turn, been driven by marketing insights and the desire for organizations to provide a richer user experience.

Blockchain is a technology that aims to catapult this disruption by introducing trade, trust, and ownership into the equation. The technology pattern represented by blockchain databases and records has the potential to radically improve banking, supply chains, and other transaction networks, providing new opportunities for innovation and growth while reducing cost and risk.