Teach Yourself — Hyperledger in 24 hours — Hour 00:00 — Hyperledger Introduction
Before we jump straight into Hyperledger Intro?, we all must understand why Hyperledger?, How it came into existence. What is blockchain ? , Why not public blockchain? & there are so many questions to be addressed.
What is Blockchain?
Series of blocks that are linked together pro-grammatically in the way of Hash reference form a chain. For example, transactions are grouped together to form a block, then each block will have a reference to other blocks in the way of hash. Let’s consider a simple example, you are standing in a queue a very big queue, by holding hands of other people behind you. Your holding position determines the link here, similarly, in the blockchain, every block will have its own hash(Block Hash), then each block will have previous block hash as a reference to form a link, for example, take a look at below picture.
Block 0: has a reference of Block 1 Hash
Block 1: has a reference of Block 2 Hash
Block 2: has a reference of Block 3 Hash( Block 3 not shown in this picture).
Readers: I understand the Blockchain after looking at above two examples, but why Hyperledger? what it is?.
Me: I know your curiosity, but hold on to it. You must understand, the issues/concern around public blockchain first before we move on to hyper ledger.
The blockchain is basically of many types, of which the followings are popular…
> Public Blockchain
> Private Blockchain
> Federated Blockchain
Here, public blockchain is something similar to our “Internet”, whereas other two are like “intranet”, that is enterprise specific.
In Blockchain, every block consists of a number of transactions. So a block is comprised of transactions. But who creates these blocks? is a question, those who create it, what they get benefits in return?. We have “Miners” who does this transaction mining & keep adding it to form a block. To mine the transactions, miners have to spend huge energy(electricity), since every transaction will have a value called Nonce(number used once), and it has to be cracked in order to figure out the transaction is valid or not. Those who figure out it first wins the rewards in terms of cryptocurrency.
Readers: Do you mean Bit-coin?.!..
Me: Partially yes, First and foremost thing you need to understand, is BIT-COIN is NOT EQUAL TO BLOCKCHAIN!. Most of us believe that BITCOIN == BLOCKCHAIN. It's NOT!. Bitcoin is a crypto-currency, we shall call it as protocol, whereas BLOCKCHAIN is a framework/platform on top of which crypto transaction can happen.
Readers: Hold-on, you said crypto-currency is not equal to the blockchain, but now you are saying crypto transaction can happen on top of blockchain.. confused!
Me: Ok, let me put it in this way, in order to send a payment from A to B, you need a gateway right?. Similarly, when you want to transact crypto-payment from A to B, you need some platform. it doesn't mean that it should be a blockchain platform, but some gateway. Now, BLOCKCHAIN consists of blocks, each block consists of transactions(here crypto-transaction for ex).
Readers: So all transactions in blocks are Crypto-transaction?
Me: Not completely!. that’s where Blockchain Platform such as “Ethereum”, “Hyperledger” comes into the picture. For example, in “Ethereum”(Public / Permissionless Blockchain), we have “Smart Contract” which is a unit of a program that can reside in Blockchain & through which you can perform the contract invocation. In Ethereum, we have “Ether” as a cryptocurrency, which takes a major role in mining transactions & adding into blocks. For every successful transactions mining, miners get “ether” as a reward. Please note, here, a transaction can be anything, assets/document/anything can be measured in terms of value can be transacted.
Readers: Interesting, but what is Permissionless?
Me: Permissionless network: Any participant can get into this network & access the data. For example, you are free to use “ Public Park“ right?, whereas in a permission network(Paid Park) only authorized participant(ticket for ex) can log in & access the data. this is where Hyperledger comes into the picture & all enterprises are using the same.
So, Hyperledger (or the Hyperledger project) is an umbrella project of open source blockchains and related tools, started in December 2015 by the Linux Foundation and supported by big industry players like IBM, Intel, and SAP to support the collaborative development of blockchain-based distributed ledgers.
Hyperledger Fabric is a permission blockchain infrastructure, originally contributed by IBM and Digital Asset, providing a modular architecture with a delineation of roles between the nodes in the infrastructure, execution of Smart Contracts (called “chaincode” in Fabric) and configurable consensus and membership services. A Fabric Network comprises “Peer nodes”, which execute chaincode, access ledger data, endorse transactions and interface with applications. “Orderer nodes” which ensure the consistency of the blockchain and deliver the endorsed transactions to the peers of the network, and MSP services, generally implemented as a Certificate Authority, managing X.509 certificates which are used to authenticate member identity and roles.(Source: wiki)
Hyperledger Eco-System is very big & we have so many contributors across the world, contributing to this open source community.
In this eco-system, Hyperledger Fabric is matured in terms of releases, implementation, documentation availability, community support use cases & enterprise adoption compared to other frameworks (which are coming good as well).
So the upcoming series will majorly focus on “Hyperledger Fabric” & it’s use cases, implementation, deployment etc.
Check this: Teach Yourself: Hyperledger in 24 hours