Hyperledger Fabric is among the fastest growing, open-source blockchain solutions for those who value security and the privacy of their transactions. Hosted by the Linux foundation and supported by IBM, it allows businesses to build “open, standardized and enterprise-grade distributed ledger blockchain frameworks and code bases”. But what is it and how can you use it? Keep reading to find out.
A short explanation of blockchain
A short explanation of blockchain technology might go like this: a blockchain is a growing string of records connected through cryptography, and it’s entire point is to be unhackable. A single record - a block - contains a cryptographic hash of its predecessor, a timestamp and information on how the block exchanged hands (transaction data). That’s all there is to it on surface level, and it makes the technology powerful - it can be used for smart contracts, cryptocurrencies and a number of other, innovative purposes.
Hyperledger Fabric - what is it?
Blockchain can be approached and applied from a number of varying perspectives. Hyperledger presents one: a focus on “open, transparent, reliable and interoperable enterprise blockchains”, as listed by IBM. According to some, Hyperledger Fabric is becoming the new standard for enterprise-level blockchain projects. It boasts several features that support this claim.
A permissioned network means a network of known participants, rather than everyone with an internet connection. It obviously has an impact on security. Transactions become partially confidential, as sides decide what is necessary to share and who should receive what data. This way, information on, say, prices of sold goods can remain unavailable to anyone outside the transaction. It might mean a better chance to negotiate new deals on more favourable terms. From the technical perspective, Hyperledger Fabric offers a pluggable build that helps development teams fit the solution to their exact needs.
The list of functionalities offered by Hyperledger Fabric is impressive. Identity management is what allows for permissioned networks. It works as a “membership identity service that manages user IDs and authenticates all participants on the network”. There are options for additional layers of permissions. Privacy and confidentiality are the top priorities here. It allows for Hyperledger Fabric’s use on competitive markets. Restricted messaging paths called channels add extra privacy protection for specific groups of users.
Efficient processing is key for a tool like Hyperledger Fabric. “To provide concurrency and parallelism to the network, transaction execution is separated from transaction ordering and commitment. “ On top of that, smart division of labor between nodes limits the processing needed for authorization and authentication. Finally, Hyperledger Fabric offers chaincode functionality. This means that there’s coded logic that comes into the picture for particular types of transactions. It can help treat all transactions of the same type (e.g. ownerships changes) equally, using one set of rules for them.
Why you should use Hyperledger Fabric
There are a number of characteristics to the tool that make it worth anyone’s time, and likely the reason behind Hyperledger Fabric’s status as a new blockchain standard. Here are a few that stand out.
- Permissioned membership is helpful for the financial and healthcare sectors in particular, as the approach helps them uphold data protection laws. While the users (e.g. bank account holders) need to be known to some extent, protecting their data is critical.
- Hyperledger Fabric scales well without losing performance thanks to its modular architecture. Transaction processing is divided into three stages: “distributed logic processing and agreement (‘chaincode’), transaction ordering, and transaction validation and commitment.” This means less validation is required to keep things safe, while scalability and performance are at optimal levels.
- Data is power, and Hyperledger Fabric acknowledges this by making it available only when necessary. This is achieved through data partitioning and channels.
- Support for plug-in components is an integral element of Hyperledger Fabric’s modular build. Identity management and encryption are some examples of what might be introduced into the system.
These are not all of Hyperledger Fabric’s advantages, but they are some of the most important ones. Considering the tool’s goal and mission, good choices have been made during its development.
Hyperledger Fabric deserves its growing popularity as the new blockchain standard for business, and for corporate transactions in particular. It’s scalable, safe and private, performs well and has a number of safety measure for data protection. It’s customizable enough to fit most needs without upturning a company’s entire existing toolset. All of these advantages are the reason for iRonin’s interest in the technology.
Interested in blockchain tech for your business? The best choice might be Hyperledger Fabric. If you value privacy and data security, we can help you achieve them without replacing your current processes, such as identity management.