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Hyperledger Releases First Blockchain Framework Standard

Hyperledger releases its first open source blockchain framework for organizations to build custom platforms and applications.

Hyperledger Fabric blockchain framework improves data sharing.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Hyperledger announced the availability of Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 blockchain framework. The open source framework is hosted by The Linux Foundation to be used in developing blockchain solutions and applications across all major industries, including healthcare.

Hyperledger is a collaboration hosted by The Linux Foundation, with the goal of creating an open source, cross-industry blockchain framework. Hyperledger contains 159 engineers from 28 organizations that contributed to the Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 release.

Hyperledger members include but are not limited to GE, IBM, Huawei Technologies, SAP, and Hyperchain.

Hyperledger Fabric aims to provide a common and standard distributed ledger that organizations can use to build their own unique applications, platforms, and hardware systems for business transactions.

The Hyperledger Fabric framework leverages container technology to host smart contracts called “chaincode” that make up the system’s application logic.

Hyperledger Fabric was one of eight incubated blockchain projects from the collaboration and the first to enter active status back in March.

"Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 is a true milestone for our community," Hyperledger Executive Director Brian Behlendorf said in a statement.  "After over a year of public collaboration, testing, and validation in the form of POCs and pilots, consumers and vendors of technology based on Hyperledger Fabric can now advance to production deployment and operations."

HACERA Founder and Hyperledger Fabric Maintainer Jonathan Levi stated that every industry has different requirements and business needs. Working with companies spanning over all major industries has broadened the understanding of what blockchain needs to provide across all verticals, added Levi, who was also a co-release manager of Hyperledger Fabric 1.0.

Back in May, Hyperledger added its first healthcare IT partner, Change Healthcare, to further explore the benefits of blockchain in the healthcare industry.

"Blockchain is a promising and exciting new technology for secure online transactions," Change Healthcare CTO Aaron Symanski said in a statement. "But it's crucial that healthcare leaders step up to champion innovation to help take blockchain from its early implementations to tomorrow's healthcare IT solutions.”

“I look forward to collaborating with Hyperledger members to help develop an open, distributed ledger technology that makes secure and safe financial interoperability work better in healthcare and beyond," Symanski continued.

Blockchain is gaining traction in the healthcare industry as a secure way to share clinical data and PHI. It decentralizes records, making them more difficult to hack.

Blockchain is the exchange of information between nodes (e.g., users, organizations) via a shared database without the regulation of a third party controlling the data through a single silo and leads to the creation of a trusted history of transactions between organizations sharing data.

Each transaction between organizations consists of a block, which holds the data from the current transaction along with a hash linking back to the previous transaction, thus creating a chain. Every transaction is documented and users cannot go back and alter past data.

A recent Tractica report explained that despite the obvious benefits of blockchain, the lack of standardization makes it difficult for healthcare organizations to justify its use.

“In the last year alone, over a hundred financial institutions, more than two dozen governments, and countless corporations and venture capitalists have invested more than $1 billion into blockchain startups,” report authors explained.

“But through the fog of hype lies the sobering reality that this is a market of extreme nascence and fragmentation; a notable void of in-production or at-scale implementations; and a lack of regulatory, legal, governance, collaborative, economic, digital, and even cultural precedent.”

Hyperledger Fabric is now generally available. However, healthcare is still slow to take up blockchain because the technology. Blockchain becoming more regulated with efforts to standardize the technology will speed up its uptake in the healthcare industry.