This week in commercial blockchain development started with a bang. Hyperledger and Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) announced they would be working together to the benefit of blockchain technology as a whole on Monday. The two groups have been viewed as rivals in the past, but it looks like they are teaming up so that industrial blockchain uses can grow unimpeded.
EEA executive director, Ron Resnick, said that,
“This is a time of great opportunity,” and that, “Collaborating through mutual associate membership provides more opportunities for both organizations to work more closely together,” via a statement after the cooperative agreement was announced.
The deal that Hyperledger and the EEA struck seems to be simple enough. Both groups have joined the opposite organization, which should help blockchain technology develop faster. The newly opened doors will allow both members from both groups to freely share information, and tap into synergies that exist between the two groups.
Hyperledger Could Benefit From EEA’s Standardization Programs
Blockchain developers are more or less free from regulations. On the face of it this freedom is ok, but from an industrial standpoint, there is little to ensure that a company is buying into a quality product. That is where the EEA comes into the picture. Now Hyperledger developers can access the EEA’s certification programs, and easily show their platforms fit into some of the best blockchain standards that have been created so far.
Brian Behlendorf, Hyperledger’s executive director seems to understand the advantages that will come out of this tie-up. He said this in a statement, “Great open standards depend upon great open source code, so this is a natural alliance for both organizations.” EEA members will also be able to work directly with Hyperledger platform developers, and gain insight into how to implement standards as a project evolves.
Amber Baldet, has a history of working with both groups. She is also the founder of Clovyr, and former blockchain lead at JPMorgan Chase who has been closely involved in both groups. Ms. Baldet pointed out to Forbes that,
“There are already several organizations that belong to both Hyperledger and EEA, and good relationships among those in leadership positions,” and also, “It makes sense to work together toward the common goal of solving real business challenges with decentralized technologies.”
A Massive Market is Waiting for Blockchain
Anything that the blockchain community can do to help industry adopt a steady view of DLT is probably wise. IBM has had an easy time selling major companies on their blockchain technology, which is based in Hyperledger architecture. There is no reason why IBM’s platform is inherently better than any other developer’s version of Hyperledger, but without firmly established industry standards, it is tough for smaller companies to compete with an entity like Big Blue.
The new level of cooperation between EEA and Hyperledger will feature an open source codebase that anyone in either group will have access to. There will also be a third-party standards organization which will make certification easier for smaller companies that want to develop novel Hyperledger technology.
“I talk to biggest companies in the world, and they love the idea of what has been patterned in other market segments,” Ron Resnick told Forbes in an interview, “What I typically get is: ‘We love it, we want to be part of it.’ Bringing in Hyperledger, all it does is build greater confidence among these enterprises.”
Ready For the Real World
IBM’s take on Hyperledger was recently sold to Walmart as a solution for tracking food in its massive logistics system. It is telling that a relatively recent innovation like DLT can be realistically used to replace vital record keeping systems, with a lead time that is measured in months. Pilot programs like the one that Walmart and IBM are rolling out will help to shore up confidence in blockchain, as long as it is successful.
The fact that Hyperledger is being used by Walmart and IBM could be a big benefit to smaller developers as time goes on. A new level of cooperation between Hyperledger and EEA could help the next generation of blockchain developers to connect with larger companies, and demonstrate they are using solid code that will be able to adapt to a changing global environment for data sharing.