The number of open source distributed ledger project continues to increase. Here’s a quick roundup of what’s out there, or coming soon.
OK, I guess there is Bitcoin and Ethereum in the permissionless world. Also, of note are:
Also, Digital Asset Holdings is planning to open source its Digital Asset Markup Language (DAML) for smart contracts, and is also suggesting that its Global Synchronization Log — a component of its own distributed ledger platform — might find a use within one or more of the Hyperledger Project’s developments.
Despite plans to patent its Corda distributed ledger, R3 is also making good on an early-stated objective of open sourcing it. That should begin to happen on November 30 when R3 submits it to the Hyperledger Project incubation process.
For more information, see this article in the Distributed Ledger.
Corda isn’t the only proprietary distributed ledger to take the open source route. Chain recently announced a development version of its Chain Core offering, which is also being provided under and open source license.
A couple of well known blockchain companies have recently rebranded. Here are some details …
Monax Industries — is the new name for Eris Industries. Monax is another name for marmot, which are fuzzy rodents that the Eris team seem to relate to. You cannot make this stuff up … from the company blog:
“We’ve long had an affinity for these fuzzy creatures. Marmots are natural ecosystem engineers, a keystone species that provides critical balance to the environment as a whole. Diligent burrowing transforms their mountain landscape into habitat that provides a framework for them and other species to thrive. Marmots bring order out of chaos, relishing planning, execution and tidiness. They are the engineers of their ecosystems. As we move away from our chaotic beginnings into a long-lasting framework, we embrace the tao of the marmot.”
So, back in 2003, JPMorgan Chase got fed up paying lots of money to IBM for its MQ Series messaging middleware and decided to build its own. AMQP — for Advanced Message Queuing Protocol — was the result, which was open sourced and became widely supported by many vendors. It was adopted as an ISO standard in 2014.
Why is this of interest to the blockchain world? Well, JPMC has begun to talk about its Quorum development, a blockchain platform based on Ethereum, which supports both public and private blockchains, the latter including selective publishing of data to only nodes that have agreed access to it, while having all nodes participate in block verification.
What’s more, the bank plans to open source its work in the near future and given its success (albeit, it took a while) with AMQP, one can imagine a future where it could provide a credible alternative to Hyperledger’s Fabric, or even proprietary offerings like Chain Core or R3’s Corda.
More information in this article on CoinDesk.
There has been a bit of press about this, since it was ‘announced’ via a paywalled article in the Wall Street Journal a couple of weeks ago (whatever happened to good old press releases, they worked just fine).
I just wrote a bit about it, having determined from the company that the planned patent covers the Corda distributed ledger software. It seems its ability to restrict access to data to just those that have access rights to it — and one can imagine why that’s a must for financial markets players — is something that R3 wants to protect via patent law.
The patent was a tiny surprise to me, as the company had recently indicated it was looking to open source its offering. I guess it might still end up doing that in some way. The devil will be in the detail of the patent once it’s made available. And R3 remains a member of the open source Hyperledger Project.
Corda is part of a bigger development that R3 is working on, called Concord, and elements of that should appear in the next few months. Patent or not, the long-term future for Corda will likely be one of commoditization (just as has happened with messaging middleware and big data platforms), while the money will be in the value added components to ease deployment, in integration and in business applications.
This is a term that reputedly came out of Microsoft in the 1980s — apparently commonly used (and practised) by the great Dave Cutler —and refers to a company that makes use of its own products to run its business.
It’s a direction that the WSBA and Positrust are taking with implementing the WSBA Certification Framework as it rolls out. In short, the WCF will be using blockchain technology to support tamper proof content dissemination and authenticated certificate issuance. It will be of practical use and also is a great way for candidates to learn about real-life uses of blockchain.
This application of blockchain might seem a bit contrived, but efforts are underway to have WCF subject to both national and international accreditation, so this level of security and due process will be important to establish the framework as credible for all stakeholders, including candidates, employers, recruiters, etc.
There’s more information in the press release here. WCF courses are scheduled for the next few weeks and registration is open.
For those building blockchain applications — maybe for post-trade clearing or risk management — that want to tap into an immutable 15-minute time series of Russell 3000 constituent price data, there is now such a service from blockchain tech company Factom and data vendor Intrinio.
True, the service is something of a proof-of-concept for a mission that Factom has to “Factomize Everything” — or at least all of the world’s data — but it points to a tangible use case for blockchains as data “oracles” for financial applications. Data provenance — tracking how and when data is created and processed and potentially changed — is emerging as a key topic for Chief Data Officers as regulators increase scrutiny on the nuts and bolts of trading operations.
Not content with providing U.S. price data, Factom is also making Chinese stock prices available via a collaboration with DataYes. Factom’s service uses an overlay network of servers to store the actual price data, which is periodically anchored to the bitcoin blockchain via a merkle tree of hashes. That technique allows Factom to secure masses amount of data on the notoriously non-scalable blockchain. Think big data meets blockchain.