Together with twenty other corporations, The Linux Foundation has announced a research effort to unify and further develop blockchain technology, the core of many of today’s cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin.
At the start of 2014, in a New York Times article, Marc Andreessen, one of Silicon Valley’s top investors, listed Bitcoin and its underlying technology, its blockchain, as one the top three inventions of all time, after personal computers in 1975, and the Internet in 1993.
The blockchain is nothing more than a public ledger of transactions, secured via cryptographic algorithms, shared amongst all computers participating in the ledger, and tamper-proof, even from a server’s owner.
The technology was made famous by Bitcoin, but it’s also agnostic enough to be used in other fields of activity as well. These include the financial sector, insurance, manufacturing, government, and so on.
Companies are looking for a universal blockchain technology
The problem with blockchain technology is that there are various versions out there, developed by scattered and unknown communities of developers.
Before banks and other government institutions could use a new technology in their products and services, they would first have to be sure it’s secure, performant, and bug-free, with no zero-day bugs that can grant a small group of developers access to the data and transactions exchanged and recorded in the ledger.
Due to their close proximity to Bitcoin, banks were the first ones to probe this technology. Back in the middle of September, a group of nine banks started a more in-depth, collaborative study of blockchain’s usability in storing data about commercial transactions in a decentralized manner.
Banks were hoping to find a better, faster, and less costly way to carry out and record their transactions, removing the need for third-parties that verify transactions (for a small fee).
Back then, JP Morgan, State Street, UBS, Royal Bank of Scotland, Credit Suisse, BBVA, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Goldman Sachs, and Barclays participated in the research, carried out through R3, a US tech firm they hired to build their own blockchain.
Enter The Linux Foundation, watchful guardian of FOSS
Some of this work is now being offered to the Foundation’s initiative, which will be named Hyperledger.
The Linux Foundation will be joined in its efforts by Accenture, ANZ Bank, Cisco, CLS, Credits, Deutsche Börse, Digital Asset Holdings, DTCC, Fujitsu Limited, IC3, IBM, Intel, J.P. Morgan, London Stock Exchange Group, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), R3, State Street, SWIFT, VMware and Wells Fargo.
With the Foundation managing the most successful collaborative open source project of all time (the Linux kernel) and watching over multiple other projects as well (Node.js, IoTivity, Dronecode, etc.), there’s no other more respected and trusted third-party administrator.
More details will be provided in the coming months via the project’s official website.