In a world of contracts, transactions, and records that govern our economic, legal, and political systems, we are in dire need of a system that is faster, safer, and ensures privacy in the digital realm. Blockchain promises to do just that. A blockchain is a growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data. Blockchains are designed to be resistant to modification of this data. In the words of Marco Iansiti and Karim Lakhani, “The technology at the heart of bitcoin and other virtual currencies, blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.”

When used as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a ruleset for inter-node communication and the validation of new blocks.

R3 and the Corda platform

R3 is a distributed database technology company founded in 2014 by David E. Rutter. R3 works with more than 200 members and partners from multiple industries, from both the private and public sectors, to develop Corda, an open-source blockchain platform. R3 aims to provide a more secure and scalable blockchain platform. According to R3, traditional blockchain platforms have issues around privacy, scalability, and interoperability. R3 launched Corda in 2016, and Corda Enterprise in 2018, to cater specifically to large global businesses. Corda Enterprise is the commercial version of Corda and is optimized to meet the particular demands of modern-day businesses. The Corda platform was developed in close collaboration with financial institutions, regulators, trade associations, professional services firms, and technology companies to ensure that all these industries are compatible with the platform. Corda-distributed ledger technology was designed to handle the toughest business challenges in some of the highest regulated industries in the world.

Hyperledger Fabric

What if you didn’t have to worry about enforcing trust between two parties? Imagine a platform that enforced the trust so businesses didn’t have to worry about middlemen. That’s what Hyperledger Fabric set out to do. Hyperledger is an umbrella project of open source blockchains started by the Linux Foundation and supported by big industry players such as IBM, Intel, and SAP. In fact, it was IBM that originally developed Fabric, a permission-based blockchain infrastructure. Hyperledger Fabric is unique because it provides a modular architecture with a delineation of roles between nodes, execution of smart contracts known as “chaincode,” and configurable consensus and membership services. Hyperledger Fabric became the fastest growing Linux Foundation project backed by industry giants from the technology and banking space. Due to the sheer number of members and the open source factor, Hyperledger Fabric is extremely flexible and can be used in various use cases.

Enterprise Ethereum Alliance

In 2013, Vitalik Buterin noticed the limitations of the Bitcoin blockchain and proposed a new general-purpose blockchain that could be used as a decentralized application platform: Ethereum.

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) is a consortium of industry giants such as Intel, Microsoft, JP Morgan, British Petroleum, and many more. The main focus of using the EEA is to ensure speed, low costs, and the elimination of middlemen for transactions. The EEA can potentially save these companies a lot of money. One of the main reasons the EEA exists is the need for privacy. The EEA seeks to augment Ethereum, enabling it to serve as an enterprise-grade technology, with research and development focused on privacy and confidentiality. With the addition of zero-knowledge proofs, other parties will not be able to identify details of transactions between two parties. Ethereum has great applications in the legal and financial sectors, and we may see its applications in the government sphere as well.