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An article to understand the role of Hyperledger and Interledger in the future international payment system



Many financial and other companies around the world are exploring or actively adopting blockchain technology for international payments. The proliferation of blockchain technology has raised concerns about market fragmentation and interoperability between different blockchains. So even though blockchain distributed ledger technology is in its relatively early stages, there are already efforts to standardize blockchain technology and specifications and develop protocols that allow communication between different blockchains. This has the potential benefit of allowing payments to be quickly transferred between different international payment networks, enabling faster global payments.

In this post, two blockchain standardization projects, Hyperledger and Interledger, are briefly introduced, along with early project "incubation" efforts based on formal international standards.

1. Hyperledger aims to create a standard blockchain technology

The Hyperledger project is a collaborative effort to define and develop an industry-standard blockchain technology that developers can use to build applications for multiple industries. It is an open source project hosted by the Linux Foundation, which is home to many other open source initiatives, including the widely used Linux operating system.

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The Hyperledger project works like most other open source projects: multiple companies contribute software code, and the contributions are reviewed, merged and further developed to create the project's eventual released software. Companies contributing software include IBM, financial asset firm Digital Asset Holdings (DAH), a financial software company that contributed the name "Hyperledger," and financial software consortium R3, which designs distributed ledgers for financial transactions, among others. Hyperledger currently has nearly 100 members and over 100 contributors.

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Beneath the Hyperledger project, there are several separate software development projects, all of which are in the early "incubating" stages. The Hyperledger Fabric project focuses on blockchain core technology, including support for smart contracts, and is intended to serve as the basis for developing blockchain applications or solutions. In blockchain, a "smart contract" is an agent-like miniature software program that automates transactions when certain conditions are met, such as the automatic purchase of goods when prices fall to a preset level. The purpose of a blockchain explorer is to create a tool for exploring and viewing data in distributed ledgers. Another project, Sawtooth Lake, is a blockchain suite from chip company Intel.

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The Hyperledger project is also forming different working groups to focus on the application of blockchain in different industries. Working groups around finance and healthcare have been formed, and one focusing on supply chains is in the works.

2. Interledger: Connecting a ledger network?

Interledger itself is not a distributed ledger project. Instead, it focuses on connecting disparate ledgers. The project centers on the Interledger Protocol (ILP), which aims to enable interoperability between different international payment systems around the world. The idea is that any payer should be able to pay any payee quickly, at little or no cost, without requiring both parties to have accounts on the same global payment service. ILP originated from Ripple, a software company that provides blockchain international payment technology to financial institutions.

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One of the protocol's developers draws an ambitious analogy between ILP and the communication protocols and formats that allow the Internet to exist, allowing information to flow freely and instantly around the world. Today's payment landscape is markedly different, as the developers note: "Today, sending money within any single payment system is relatively simple, fast and cheap. However, transferring funds between systems is cumbersome, if at all possible." , slow and expensive. This is especially true for international payments, which can take days and incur high fees through multiple systems and intermediaries (such as corresponding banks). With the increasing surge, the problem may persist as there are still communication issues between them.

In order to truly become a standard, ILP must be widely used in applications not directly connected to its original developer, Ripple. As a step toward this goal, Ripple made the ILP open source and contributed it to a new Interledger project, now hosted by the Linux Foundation. Now, there is also a group in the web standards organization W3C that is discussing Interledger payments.

3. International blockchain standards

The International Standards Organization (ISO) has also begun developing formal standards for blockchain technology. The Australian National Standards Organization - Standards Australia, and representatives of the standards organization from 35 countries, including the United States, Canada, Estonia, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom, led the establishment of the ISO Blockchain Committee. Standards Australia chief executive Dr Bronwyn Evans said the ISO blockchain committee would develop standards for interoperability, privacy, security and terminology between systems. However, the development of ISO standards usually takes many years.

Key points:

Blockchain technology is still in the early stages of application development, but it is rapidly proliferating. Ultimately, common blockchain standards and protocols could play a key role in enabling interoperability between international payment systems. At the same time, new technologies are often developed faster than unified standards are developed, so these issues may have little impact on near-term blockchain deployments.

Source: americanexpress

By Mike Faden

Translation: Emily|Daling Think Tank


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