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Linux group pushes out blockchain collaboration software

When adopted at scale, the blockchain has the potential to save the industry billions of dollars, the two companies said.

As a peer-to-peer network, combined with a distributed time-stamping server, blockchain databases can be managed autonomously. There's no need for an administrator because the users are the administrator.

When used for smart contracts, blockchain first captures all terms and conditions between an organization and its customers, then uses data gleaned across distributed nodes or servers to determine when those conditions have been met and payment is authorized.

Blockchain eliminates huge amounts of recordkeeping, which can get confusing when there are multiple parties involved in a transaction, according to Saurabh Gupta, vice president of strategy at IT services company Genpact. "Blockchain and distributed ledgers may eventually be the method for integrating the entire commercial world's record keeping," he said.

Using Hyperledger Fabric for smart contracts could also be used to automate the tracking of electronic healthcare records, so healthcare providers could confirm patient consent each time they want to share the sensitive information.

"There are different implementations of different smart contract systems in each of these four frameworks, but there's the potential to weave these together," Behlendorf said.

Hyperledger, is a global, open source collaborative effort hosted by the Linux Foundation to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies.

Similar to public relational databases, blockchain can be a public or private electronic ledger that can be shared among disparate users and that creates an immutable record of their transactions, each one time-stamped and linked to the previous one.

Each digital record or transaction in the thread is called a block (hence the name), and  allows either an open or controlled set of users to participate in the electronic ledger. Each block is linked to a specific participant.

A blockchain can only be updated by consensus between participants in the system, and when new data is entered, it can never be erased.

"After over a year of public collaboration, testing, and validation... Fabric 1.0 is a true milestone for our community," Behlendorf said. "Fabric can now advance to production deployment and operations. I look forward to seeing even more products and services being powered by Hyperledger Fabric in the next year and beyond."

Computerworld (US)