Apache Guru Behlendorf to Helm Hyperledger Project

The Linux Foundation on Thursday announced that Brian Behlendorf, a primary developer of the Apache Web server and a founding member of the Apache Software Foundation, has joined theHyperledger Project as executive director.

The project is a collaborative effort to advance blockchain technology by identifying and addressing important features for an open standard for distributed ledgers that will apply across industries. It aims to transform how businesses transactions are conducted worldwide.

The project “is all about bringing together developers to build common, distributed ledger technology,” Behlendorf told LinuxInsider. “With my expertise and experience in open source and technology, I will be focused on building an open source community to advance the software for the enterprise.”

He will “help bring members and community together to build a code base to achieve the vision of blockchain technology,” which is “critical for moving an open source project with such promising technology to the next level,” he said.

The Importance of Hyperledger

The Hyperledger Project “is an 11 out of 10,” Behlendorf asserted. It “has attracted a lot of developer and venture capital interest. Blockchain technology is applicable to a number of industries, including finance, banking, IoT, supply chains, manufacturing and technology.”

Every large company “has a dedicated team thinking about how their business will be impacted by this sort of technology.” He wants to “channel that interest from developers and the community, set standards, and advance an enterprise-grade, open source distributed ledger framework upon which users can build and run a variety of business applications,” he said.

Distributed ledgers “are essential to the next generation of the Internet technology stack,” but Behlendorf wants to focus on implementing a few use cases to show real needs rather than “painting a huge vision for the future.”

Natural Choice

“The key here is to keep in mind that the very nature of this technology requires high-trust individuals and high-trust processes,” said Al Hilwa, a program director at IDC Seattle.

“Having the Linux Foundation lead this is a natural fit given the organization’s long-running efforts and cultivated processes around managing large communities of developers in a very high-trust process,” he told LinuxInsider. “Picking Mr. Behlendorf to lead the effort is a similarly natural selection.”

Behlendorf “is an iconic crossover figure with roots and credibility that transcend the boundaries of individual open source communities and of vertical industries,” observed Bill Weinberg, a senior director at the Linux Foundation.

“In particular, Brian’s visibility in and into both Web technologies and financial services uniquely qualifies him to lead an initiative that benefits [various industries] and will draw contributors from the ranks for developers in those industries,” he told LinuxInsider.

Brian “is the perfect choice to lead the Hyperledger community,” said Jerry Cuomo, CTO at IBM Middleware.

“His experience, technical insight and passion are just what the project needs,” he told LinuxInsider.

Industry Impact

Bitcoin will revolutionize the financial services industry and eliminate the need for financial institutions as intermediary agents, Pascal Bouvier, a venture partner atSantander InnoVentures, has contended.

“We are trying to be pragmatic and cannot predict how the technology will disrupt or revolutionize entire industries, something as large as the financial industry,” Behlendorf countered. “Blockchain technology can be a good solution for the hard problems financial institutions face; how they choose to use it, we will have to wait and see.”

Hyperledger has the potential to do the following things, according to the Linux Foundation’s Weinberg:

  • Lower the cost of transactions and of accounting in general while speeding transaction processing;
  • Bring greater transparency and traceability to international financial transactions; and
  • Streamline the customer-supplier relationship in multitier supply chains such as automotive, mobile telephony and consumer goods.

It’s not likely that financial markets and corporate entities and individuals engaging in financial transactions will eschew existing institutions and practices, Weinberg argued.

“Existing financial institutions in the public and private sector are much better equipped to take on Hyperledger as a platform,” he said, “even as its impact changes the way they do business.”

Richard Adhikari

Richard Adhikari has written about high-tech for leading industry publications since the 1990s and wonders where it's all leading to. Will implanted RFID chips in humans be the Mark of the Beast? Will nanotech solve our coming food crisis? Does Sturgeon's Law still hold true? You can connect with Richard on Google+.

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