There is much more to the blockchain technology than being a platform for dodgy cryptocurrencies. That is a clarification the Executive director of HyperLedger was keen to make.
Speaking to The Register about the state of open-source blockchain technology, Brian Behlendorf sought to demystify the distributed ledger.
He has been in charge of HyperLedger since May 2016. The goal of HyperLedger is to lead to the creation of an open source code for the blockchain technology.
In 2015, just after HyperLedger was created, the director said the proof-of-work algorithm is his main concern. However, he was still bullish on the disruptive potential of Bitcoin to blockchain to mitigate growing centralization of the internet:
“As the world had gotten more digitized, it had gotten more centralized. When I saw the HyperLedger announcement, it resonated with me that there are other ways to do it. There are other consensus mechanisms that Proof-of-Work.”
What is Blockchain?
The blockchain is an online and open ledger of transaction blocks. Cryptographic hashes chains and secures these blocks before distribution of valid blocks across several nodes. simply put, a blockchain is a verifiable and tamper-proof database.
The sudden rise of Bitcoin’s popularity is how the overwhelming majority of the public got to hear of Blockchain. This strong association poses an image problem since blockchain is a versatile invention, with a wide range of applications.
The cryptocurrency world is rife with fraud and this negative perception can permeates to the technology in general. Sometimes there is wrongful association of those specific cryptocurrencies’ criminal activity with blockchain. This is why such evangelization, for lack of a better word, is necessary.
Proof of Work is Demanding and is Bitcoin’s Weakness
This isn’t far from the truth because blockchain can curb this. Transactions made on the blockchain are public and the potential to make controls automatic to minimize criminal activity is enormous.
For instance, the proof-of-work mechanism, which is allows consensus and Bitcoin mining, requires solution of complex mathematical calculations for block verification.
Those who mine need massive computing power to conduct the process. This mechanism matters when there are many anonymous participants in the network which according to Behlendorf is hardly the case in the business world. Some of these concerns are therefore at the very minimum overblown.
Behlendorf has faith that the technology will have a big role in an increasing number of legitimate business activities that are exclusive of cryptocurrencies.
HyperLedger itself has taken steps to implement the technology’s uses ranging from an implementation of the Ethereum smart contract engine to a novel digital identification system called Indy among others.