News Technology Media Telecoms

Hyperledger to expand into Linux Foundation Decentralized Trust

linux foundation decentralized trust

Open source blockchain foundation Hyperledger has announced plans to evolve into a broader umbrella, the Linux Foundation (LF) Decentralized Trust. Apart from blockchain software, the foundation already supports decentralized identity and interoperability software. Now it wants to do more, particularly in security.

“Ledgers and ledger technologies are but one component of the decentralized systems that will underpin a digital-first global economy. LF Decentralized Trust is where we will gather and grow an expanded community and portfolio of technologies to deliver the transparency, reliability, security and efficiency needed to successfully upgrade critical systems around the world,” said Daniela Barbosa, General Manager, Blockchain and Identity at the Linux Foundation in a statement.

The Linux Foundation wants to host software used in the coming migration to tokenization and the modernization of infrastructure that will accompany the shift.

“This is important as we look to the future of developments in blockchain and tokenization, where an open-source, developer-led environment will help to continuously improve and evolve the software that underlies some of the core infrastructure that many financial institutions are utilizing,” said Catherine Gu, Head of CBDC and Tokenized Assets, Visa.

An obvious question is what other technologies might be included under the umbrella? For example, multiparty computation (MPC) is a decentralized cryptographic technique and a natural bedfellow for blockchains.

“We see a host of added security, implementation and integration, decentralized identity, interop and ledger technologies and applications on the horizon,” Barbosa added via email.

“We are currently working with various communities that are interested in bringing code bases and communities working on Zero Knowledge (ZKP), MPC and more decentralized innovations to the Linux Foundation. Technologies like MPC, threshold cryptography or FHE (fully homomorphic encryption) don’t really have an obvious home at the LF right now. There are a lot of things that are about decentralization but not specifically blockchain for which people and companies want to build projects collaboratively in the open, and that’s the primary reason we’re doing this expansion.”

Vertical as well as horizontal expansion

To date Hyperledger has been the home of open source software development, not so much standards. Today’s announcement mentioned that the new umbrella will “host new open source software, communities, standards, and specifications.” Hence this appears to be a vertical expansion in addition to a horizontal one.

Barbosa agreed. However, she highlighted that it’s not entirely new, pointing to Hyperledger’s work on verifiable credential specifications with AnonCreds.

As part of the expansion, LF Decentralized Trust will include ‘directed funding models’. Barbosa said that supplemental funds for projects are common with other LF projects. They allow community members to fund specific projects directly, with the fund deciding how the money is allocated.

Much of this work was already in progress with Hyperledger, but the security aspects such as ZKP and MPC are key expansion areas. For those attached to the Hyperledger brand, each project gets to decide whether to keep or drop it. Onwards and upwards.