The Hyperledger Fabric 2.0 update and what it means for the future of Enterprise blockchains

Utpal Pal
Promenant
Published in
5 min readFeb 1, 2020
HLFabric

We are just a month into 2020 and we have major upgrade of hyperledger fabric — 2.0. The announcement of hyperledger fabric 2.0 attracted a lots of interest throughout 2019 from enterprise blockchain ecosystem. IBM backed hyperledger fabric is already one of the most preferred blockchain platform among the enterprises.

Features and enhancements needed to increase the efficiency and security of production deployments — Linux Foundation.

Stalwarts from blockchain industries recognize this upgrade “Production Ready” which can bring mass adoption to enterprise blockchain industry.

Summary of Hyperledger Fabric 1.x -

Hyperledger fabric V1.x served the needs of enterprise blockchain for business about 4 years, with last of it’s class released as V1.4.

With the introduction of hyperledger fabric 1.0 hyperledger introduced new dimension of business opportunities in a permissioned distributed network. With each new roll out of fabric V1.x (1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4) it matured to provide better security, identity management, improved consensus mechanism which enabled the businesses to sign contract and exchange sensitive information without making the information public.

Photo by Bluehouse Skis on Unsplash

Even with so many drastic differences from many blockchain, fabric had so many grey areas that needed to be addressed. Finally 2.0 — where previous drawbacks have been carefully redressed. In this blog, we will discuss about the new features of Hyperledger Fabric and how it made up with the drawbacks of previous version of fabric.

Hyperledger Fabric 2.0, what’s new —

From fabric 1.0 to 2.0, hyperledger fabric community, developers came a long way to cater to the needs of enterprise blockchains. 2.0 delivers many new and important features to cast away the drawbacks of previous versions. The changes will benefit users as well operators, including support for new application and privacy patterns, enhanced governance around smart contracts, and new options for operating nodes.

Major feature upgrades —

Photo by Ashwin Vaswani on Unsplash

Decentralization of Smart Contract Governance —

  1. One major drawback in earlier version of Fabric was chaincode governance, where only one organization had the provision to write, deploy and update chaincode for all the stakeholders in network. But in Fabric 2.0 it has been improved through introducing a new model of chaincode governance. The new fabric chaincode is governed by multiple stakeholder’s consensus. This model requires a sufficient number of stakeholders to agree upon a new channel policy, chaincode parameters, endorsement policy.
  2. The new chaincode lifecycle allows decentralization of chaincode upgrade facility instead of one member taking control. Stakeholders in a channel need to accept upcoming upgrade to facilitate the changes in business operation.
  3. Private data collection and endorsement policy configuration can be modified without reinstalling the chaincode in fabric 2.0. Such flexibility allows organizations to change their method of data sharing on the fly, adding or removing private data collection to intended parties.
  4. Fabric 1.x provisioned of having identical chaincode to be installed to all the channel parties to validate the transaction, where in 2.0 organizations can extend a chaincode for their own usecase, or make minor bug fixes without requiring the whole network to commit to same changes.
  5. Chaincode inspection made easy, as chaincode packaged in readable tar format, which can be read by the participating nodes and decision regarding installation can be made transparently.

Infrastructure dependency made simpler —

  1. External chaincode launcher in fabric 2.0 empowers operators to build and launch chaincode with the technology of their choice. In Fabric 1.x peers/nodes required to have access to docker daemon in order to build and deploy chaincode in network, this privilege is undesirable in many production releases.
  2. In earlier version chaincode were deployed inside docker container to run, in 2.0 chaincode can be executed in the operator’s choice of environment, including external builders, container services like kubernetes pod.
  3. Fabric docker images made smaller using Alpine Linux, this will provide much faster download and startup times as well it will take less disk space in a secured environment.

Performance Improvement —

Performance has always been a talking point of blockchain platforms. While using CouchDB as external state database read delays during endorsement and validation phase has been a bottleneck. In Fabric 2.0 a new cache system in peer replaces many of these expensive lookups with fast cache reads hence significantly improving performance in transactions validations.

Introduction of FabToken —

Though hyperledger fabric doesn’t need any currency to power the transaction, in Fabric 2.0 users are given the opportunity to use their assets as token. The newly introduced FabToken can be used to initiate transaction on assets transfer. Users can issue cryptocoin using the FabToken sample and use the simplified transfer, redemption process of tokens.

What does it mean for businesses —

The true potential of decentralization can be utilized in the latest version of fabric(2.0) to facilitate complex business processes.

Improved chaincode lifecycle gives equal capability to network participant to manage how business is carried out through decentralized decision making. It will help organization to adopt enterprise blockchain faster than ever in a trusted environment.

Performance improvement will attract more organization to test and deploy their business model in Fabric 2.0 while reducing the significant costs in infrastructure, Thanks to Alpine Linux based images of Fabric 2.0.

Hyperledger released it’s last Fabric version as Fabric 1.4.x which stands as a Long Term Support version, businesses can easily maintain fabric 1.4 or easily upgrade to latest version Fabric V2.0 (Guide to Upgrade to 2.0 — Coming Soon).

Conclusion —

While many other enterprise blockchain like R3 Corda, Quorum etc. are trying to capture the interest from enterprises, with 2.0 Hyperledger Fabric has taken a big leap towards the enterprise adoption. Fabric’s new improved and advanced feature will encourage the uses of Hyperledger fabric in different business use cases empowering and simplifying the the capability in future.

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Utpal Pal
Promenant
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Co-Founder and CTO @promenanttech