Hyperledger Fabric: What are channels and why would I need them?

Written by David Giliver — August 27, 2018

A common characteristic that many public blockchains share is a fully transparent ledger (i.e. everyone in a network has a copy of the entire history of transactions). This certainly has its advantages because it lowers the chances of fraudulent transactions and reinforces trust between the parties.

But what if everyone in the network didn’t need to know everything?

Well Hyperledger Fabric introduces the concept of channels, which are essentially separate “group texts” between different peers.

Each channel is independent and can have its own members, peers, and chaincode (business logic).

Real World Example

Alice is a distributor of avocados and Bob, Charlie, and Diana are owners of markets who buy from Alice. Suppose that Alice agrees to sell Diana avocados for a special price but needs Bob and Charlie to keep buying at the regular price. Well, Alice and Diana would be able to establish their own private channel for tracking transactions, while Bob and Charlie continue buying avocados at the standard price.

This simple but powerful concept can be expanded to other uses cases, and sensitive information can be kept confidential.