A story of BaaS, blockchain infrastructure, and the future of federated networks

Are you a blockchain developer/consultant or part of a business network evaluating blockchain? You probably already had or will have to deal with infrastructure complexities. Focus on what matters the most and read here how to solve those challenges the right way.

Walter Montes
Jan 3 · 7 min read
  • What if I don’t want to use that cloud provider?
  • Why are you centralizing everything to one cloud provider?

We decided to take our internal tool and bring it to the masses, to solve what we think is one of the biggest technical challenges for an exponential future of permissioned/federated blockchain networks and for side/hybridchains.

We switched our focus to products instead of directly engaging with customers. Enabling other companies like Service Providers or Consultancy Firms to provide solutions without bothering with the underlying infrastructure.

The status quo

Today, there are two main ways to deploy and manage permissioned blockchain infrastructure and side/hybrid chain nodes.

  • Blockchain as a Service (BaaS). Just like our customers and some mainstream media like Cointelegraph are pointing out already, centralizing things up cut out all the benefits from blockchain and DLT deployments. Those offerings force the whole business network to get an account in the same cloud provider, having to “trust” them, since you never really own the infrastructure. It’s a black-box approach. Not really compatible with blockchain, right?

Forma is the name of that internal tool (the one I mentioned before): it is our infrastructure orchestrator

Three simple steps

  1. Bring your environment (Kubernetes, Docker Swarm, DCOS) in your preferred cloud provider (private data center, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, DigitalOcean).
  2. Connect it to Forma and decide which blockchain framework to deploy for your nodes (Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Sawtooth, Quorum, NEM, Cardano).
  3. Integrate and deploy your DApps anywhere you want. You decide if the network faces the internet or if it goes through a VPN.

Do you want to be the first one to know when the open BETA starts? Please sign up here!

Our vision as a company has always been aligned to helping the enterprise adopt blockchain in a faster and more open way. We usually refer to it as making enterprise blockchain mainstream.

Why we think our approach is key for the future of enterprise blockchain

  1. When a blockchain network is locked to just one cloud provider, participants that don’t want to use “that” cloud provider will stay out of the network’s growth. By definition blockchain is a technology based on networks-effects, adding friction layers only make blockchain projects adoption even harder.
  2. Decentralization and robust governance models are key in real-life blockchain networks. If all the network participants can trust a single cloud provider, then why use a blockchain network at all?
  3. Operating a blockchain network requires a lot of technical matters, from containers, cryptography, disks, networks, amongst other things that developers and organizations don’t want to care about as long as the infrastructure is robust and secure. We aim to make managing 1 blockchain network as easy as managing 1,000. Your business is probably about giving business meaning to the tech, not being the top experts in blockchain infrastructure.
  4. Each blockchain network has a different use case fit. Today companies need to have highly technical infrastructural knowledge per each blockchain framework they use, but what if the best technology is not the one you already know? High entrance barriers will prevent organizations from using the right technology.
  5. Developers already have enough to deal with. From a new paradigm to the business understanding, to the whole ecosystem around the smart contracts. Dealing also with the infrastructure is unviable for most companies as they are typically not experts on infrastructure. Also, why spend thousands or their hard-earned revenue in something we can automate for a few bucks?

Some use case scenarios for Forma

We expect that Forma will be a cornerstone platform for most blockchain networks out there.

  • A startup creates a great industry-specific smart contract system with on chain and off chain functionalities. When going to production they use Forma to deploy nodes for each new customer in their own environment. They deploy and manage their innovative solution for all the participants easily. It is now possible for them to include new participants and sell subscriptions, kind of an open Blockchain as a Service.
  • A group of organizations coordinated by a neutral central authority (like the government) organizes all the participants into creating a blockchain network. Instead of they centralizing everything, they ask each big player to provision their infrastructure through Forma, and then deploy the smart contracts so that each participant can integrate with the system in a transparent way. This allows them to consolidate data in real time and reduce friction layers on the relationship.
  • A developer or a group of companies decide to set up a sidechain which will need a set of limited nodes to be deployed to the participants’ clouds. They use Forma to roll out the required components in record time and then integrate their systems and deploy their smart contracts.

About the future of permissioned networks/DLT systems, sidechains, and hybrid networks

We do believe and have experienced that blockchain is certainly a transformative technology. But the real change in the world won’t be possible until creating a real distributed and decentralized blockchain network is as easy as creating a database today.

Do you want to be the first one to know when the open BETA starts? Please sign up here!

WorldSibu

A unified development platform to create and deploy enterprise smart contract systems.

Thanks to Diego Barahona.

Walter Montes

Written by

CEO @WorldSibu — https://worldsibu.tech/forma

WorldSibu

WorldSibu

A unified development platform to create and deploy enterprise smart contract systems.