The DLT Landscape has landed
An open-source, living segmentation of the evolving blockchain/DLT market, a business stack with a technology foundation
It is my great pleasure to introduce the DLT Landscape, an open-source market segmentation initiative created by Blockchain Technology Partners (BTP) for the enterprise blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) community.
The creation of the DLT Landscape was inspired by the growing complexity of the evolving enterprise blockchain/DLT market, in particular, the increasing number of projects and companies that are innovating in areas outside of the core ledger layer, which has considerably transformed the DLT vendor landscape in the last few years.
In my prior life as a technology industry analyst, I often found that people were using the same terms for very different things, comparing apples and oranges, creating a lot of confusion, especially in a complex world that is DLT.
We thought that creating a living market landscape that uses a technology foundation would be really useful for providing a better understanding of what the key technology pieces are and how they fit together, what projects and offerings are out there — whether those are open-source or proprietary — but most importantly, the DLT Landscape was designed to create a common language for the whole DLT community and be used as a strategic tool for better positioning, exploring partnership opportunities, tweaking go-to-market strategies, among other things.
The DLT Landscape is modelled after the CNCF landscape and is based on the same open-source code. Structurally, it starts with the infrastructure layer at the bottom of the landscape and goes on to distributed ledgers, technology intersections, interoperability, smart contracts and tokenization, business tooling and integrations, and features the application layer at the top. On the two sides you will find platforms and services.
About the layers…
Overcoming shortages in IT skills and resources is one of the key challenges associated with digital transformation in general, and distributed ledger technology is no exception. In the last five years or so, both cloud incumbents and smaller blockchain-specialist firms have launched platform offerings, seeking to free organizations from management and operations pains involved with setting up and running blockchain networks. These technology firms would typically offer on-premises, multi-cloud and hybrid deployment options, given the distributed nature of this technology.
Since the launch of the Bitcoin blockchain over a decade ago, a number of blockchain and distributed ledger protocols have emerged catering to enterprise-focused use cases and a variety of application areas. Based on experience, organizations continue to experiment with a variety of distributed ledgers and make decisions depending on use case requirements, existing technical skills and vendor relationships.
Living in a multi-ledger world, and not forgetting about business applications and legacy systems that organizations use, and with usability being a key requirement for adoption, interoperability in the DLT space is and will be critical to allow different networks and systems to connect with one another and let people and organizations (and machines!) transact across them. In a similar fashion, with DLT hardly living on its own, and the myriad of application areas where technology combos can provide powerful value propositions, we believe that technology intersections, whether AI, IoT or other, are critical for DLT adoption.
Smart contracts and tokenization also play a critical role in the enterprise DLT landscape. Smart contracts, in particular, have become known to the world as transaction protocols running on a blockchain or distributed ledger, embodying the self-enforcing business logic of a multiparty application or business process. Smart contracts formalize and automate the relationship between individuals, organizations and machines that participate in a network. Digital tokens, in particular, can improve the accessibility, efficiency, liquidity and transparency of existing asset markets, whether that’s money, a diamond or a piece of art.
Technical complexity that is closer to the application than the infrastructure layer also needs to be hidden, not only from the average user, but also from application developers who do not necessarily have blockchain-specific expertise. That is why we have dedicated a layer to business tools and integration in our landscape.
Also, we are seeing a wide range of industry-specific implementations and decentralized marketplace offerings, including business networks enabling the traceability and management of diamonds, drugs, fine wine, food items, vehicle parts, among other assets, throughout their lifetime, as well as decentralized marketplaces for trading personal, business and IoT data, as well assets such as in-game items.
Back to what you can do with the DLT Landscape…
Most layers in the landscape are split into three or more categories. We wanted the landscape to be comprehensive but digestible at the same time. The cards with the logos represent companies, networks, projects or organizations with their particular, fitting offering or implementation . The cards also provide you with information on the organization, pulled from Crunchbase. (I recommend keeping your Crunchbase profile up-to-date!).
The DLT Landscape is a living market landscape, created by and for the DLT community. We invite the whole DLT community to help us shape it, which is the reason why we created a product that is open source. You can submit a pull request and suggest changes. We at BTP created it, and will continue to curate it and host it, but it is independent of the company.
The DLT Landscape can be found here: https://dltlandscape.org/