Blockchain for Business in 2021 – Towards Public Chains and Decentralization. Baseline Could Be The Direction to Take.
By Pete Harris, Executive Director, Austin Blockchain Collective
Hyperledger, the Linux Foundation’s blockchain initiative, just celebrated its fifth birthday. Initially known as the Hyperledger Project, it originally focused on a single enterprise blockchain development – a private/permissioned platform dubbed Fabric. Its early members were a couple of dozen major corporates, with IBM as a key champion, influencer and code contributor.
Five years on, Hyperledger has grown substantially. It now has more than 200 members big and small and comprises 16 core projects, including competing ledgers, development tools, identity frameworks, etc. Until recently, however, its focus remained on the private blockchain space. That changed in 2019 with the announcement of Hyperledger Besu, an Ethereum client built by ConsenSys, which supports both private and public chains.
According to Hyperledger’s annual report for that year, “Besu represents the growing interest of enterprises to build both permissioned and public network use cases for their applications.” Another report in 2019 – commissioned by consultants EY and analyst firm Forrester Research – found that some 75% of enterprises were interested in exploring public blockchains.
As those enterprises embark on their public blockchain research, they will find more than a few variants to choose from. Ethereum is by far the most established, and with its ETH 2.0 scalability upgrade now begun, it will surely remain the leader for some time to come. But many other public chains are now launched and being developed, including the Web3 Foundation’s Polkadot, Cosmos, Cardano, DigiByte, Decred, EOS, NEAR, Solana, NEM’s Symbol, VeChain, etc.
With so much innovation focused on (and investment in) the public blockchain space, and relatively little on private variants, bets against enterprise adoption of public chains would attract very long odds indeed.
Scalability aside, perhaps the most common criticism of public chains is that they are not relevant for – indeed not usable by – enterprises that need to keep their vast data assets private for competitive or regulatory reasons. It’s a valid POV, but this year the Baseline Protocol has emerged to counter it. Baseline is going to be very useful for businesses. And it’s going to be huge.
About the CURATOR
Pete Harris is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Austin Blockchain Collective. He is also Principal of Lighthouse Partners, which provides business strategy services to developers of transformational technologies. He has 40+ years of business and technology experience, focusing in recent years on business applications of blockchain and Web 3.0 technologies.
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