Hyperledger, the open source blockchain project from the Linux Foundation, released Hyperledger Sawtooth 1.0, its latest open source digital ledger project. Sawtooth joins its sister project, Hyperledger Fabric which reached 1.0 in July last year.
Among the features in this latest open source distributed ledger product is on-chain governance, which lets members adjust the rules on the fly as required and dynamic consensus to modify the blockchain consensus protocol as the technology advances; advanced transaction execution, which provides the ability to execute transactions in parallel and support for multiple languages and Ethereum.
James Mitchell, CEO at Bitwise IO, a big contributor to the Sawtooth project, and a vendor who helps companies build applications on top of it, was drawn to these features. “We were attracted to it because of focus on fundamentals. We saw a lot of platforms based on bitcoin’s work. Sawtooth had some key points on what [we believed] a distributed ledger needed,” he said. That included a mechanism for adversarial trust and mechanisms to guarantee the trust.
It counts Intel, Huawei and Cisco among its corporate sponsors, but Mitchell says in all there were 54 contributors across 18 organizations, large and small.
You may be wondering why Hyperledger needs two such projects. Brian Behlendorf, who is executive director at Hyperledger sees room for more than one approach to distributed ledgers and the market can decide which one is best. “Let’s leave it up to developers to decide what features and differences they want to make and let market decide if this is meaningful difference or not,” he said.
Mitchell agrees. “All of these platforms will mature past 1.0. One of the exciting things is there is a ton of cross pollination. and we can afford to try different things and see what’s working well,” he said.
He adds, “All of the platforms have different approaches and [are being] tested in the marketplace of ideas. We’ll see more emphasis on interoperability. How do we take distinct blockchain implementations and tie the transactions on that network and a different network. As we see those things mature, we will see what features are most important or less important and see consolidation as things get adopted,” he said.
It could be that the two projects eventually merge or they could continue for some time on parallel tracks. Both men see this as a healthy sign for an early technology like Blockchain. They liken it to the early days of Linux when different distros battled it out (and really continue to do to this day).
Just as there isn’t one flavor of Linux, they hope that there will continue to be different open source blockchain projects that meet different needs and take different approaches to solving common problems. Hyperledger actually has several blockchain projects in various stages of development along with a number of specialized tools. Sawtooth 1.0 is available for download now.