Software Development

Blockchain Network with Hyperledger Fabric: Peculiarities and Use Cases

Rapid digitalization of the world and wide access to the Internet cause an immense growth of online participants in all areas of business and life. In contrast to this, keeping track of all the interactions became significantly harder. This is one of the reasons to implement the blockchain approach in order to keep data safe and fresh, while maintaining a record of its history.

The regular systems are not transparent, difficult to scale, and introduce a high risk of error. Here is a sample of a regular multi-branch system:

Blockchain is a solution that forms a growing list (ledger) of immutable records (blocks) that are linked together to form a chain and propagate securely to participants. The participants are represented as peer nodes within a widely spanned network even across the Globe. This approach allows organizations to come to mutual agreement on a single, distributed source of truth. Every peer contains a copy of the ledger which is used to apply transactions in case they have been validated with consensus protocol. And each block is bound to the preceding one with a hash ensuring that the blockchain is resistant to its data modification.

Here is the sample of the same multi-branch system mentioned above but modified with blockchain approach:

The most recognizable for blockchain is its use as a key technology for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin that can stand for sign of reliability. It was not surprising that the underlying technology was started to be applied in other activities where data protection is a must (finances, medicine, government, etc.).

Hyperledger Fabric is the modular blockchain framework that adopts this technology for the enterprise use cases. Below you can see the sample of such model:

Unlike most distributed ledger technologies that are oriented on the public use, Hyperledger Fabric was designed with features for permissions and privacy since foundation. It provides a lot of specialized tools to create, customize, and manage blockchain networks, which are required for the development of enterprise-grade applications and solutions.

Among the most distinct features ensured by Hyperledger Fabric are:

  • Modularity – architecture is composed of a number of separate components that can be configured in multiple ways to satisfy the diverse solution requirements for multiple industry use cases.
  • Permissioned Blockchains – Permissioned blockchains are blockchain networks that require access. Thus, the peers are known to each other rather than anonymous. In this type of blockchain, the control plane runs on top of the blockchain, which governs the actions performed by authorized participants.
  • No Cryptocurrency – Hyperledger relies on consensus protocol that does not require a native cryptocurrency. This reduces some risk/attack vectors, and removes a resource costly mining operation, which allows deploying a platform of the cost like any other distributed system..
  • Privacy and Confidentiality – designed with a flexible approach to data privacy: data isolation using “channels”, share private data on a need-to-know basis using private data “collections”, keeping data private while sharing hashes as transaction evidence with “private data”.
  • Performance and Scalability – a new architecture for transactions, called “execute-order-validate”. It addresses the resiliency, flexibility, scalability, performance and confidentiality challenges, maling Hyperledger Fabric one of the best performing platforms available today both in terms of transaction processing and transaction confirmation latency.

Distributed networks, such as offered by Hyperledger Fabric, can be used to improve workflow in different business areas – from medicine to government. Obviously, areas that require immutable data without the risk of manipulation, while remaining transparent for participants, will benefit from the blockchain network implementation the most. Below we will list some of the Hyperledger Fabric use cases that can be implemented.

Financial Sector

When operating with finances, transaction security is crucial. Any error or even a slight data manipulation can potentially cause huge losses. The regular encryption is not reliable enough, so a blockchain-based project is a safer alternative.

Using Hyperledger Fabric as a blockchain with smart contracts, you can save the current balance after each transaction, while generating an invoice only once (e.g. per month). So, you can save information regarding commissions and use this unchangeable data to generate one common invoice instead of tens of separate ones. You can even automate this process. As a result, you have a reduced number of invoices and commissions for transactions during the specified period and can manage finance settlement workflow better.

For example:

  • Visa payment processor uses Hyperledger Fabric for B2B Connect enterprise transaction service. B2B Connect tokenizes vital data, such as information about clients and accounts. After that, it generates unique identifiers, which companies can use to ease global payments on the platform. Visa considers it’s DLT(distributed ledger technology) system as a tool that can decrease opportunities to carry out any fraud actions with global transfers.
  • Hitachi has implemented a coupon settlement system using blockchain and fingerprint identification. To spend a coupon, the client puts a finger on an authentication gadget instead of presenting this coupon and there is no need to use a smartphone to settle with it. The coupon usage data is stored on a Hyperledger Fabric blockchain which decreases the reconciliation expenditures. Compromising such a system with fake coupons is getting impossible. Each blockchain participant will host a node and therefore a copy of the shared data.

Storage Consistency

Distributed Storage on Top of Blockchain Technology

Instead of centralized cloud storage, the data are splitted into pieces, encrypted and propagated over the robust network across the Globe, so that all the files will be accessible, even if part of the network will fail. In fact, instead of transferring files to the companies like Google or Dropbox, you distribute them through a network of people around the world. People use the cloud as a shared resource, and no one can read or modify anyone’s sensitive data. In other words, it’s under your control. It can be really attractive for public services to ensure the security, accessibility and decentralization of government documents.

Acronis Backup

Acronis Backup commencing from version 12.5 comprises a blockchain technology feature called Acronis Notary, which helps to ensure the data authenticity. Using distributed ledger technology the Acronis Notary keeps data safe to provide complete auditability, prevents data from being erased, and provides a record of digital events across entities and participants. Blockchain technology in the field of data protection with the help of Acronis Notary is very promising, since federated application deployment models (many independent applications that depend on different databases) will become more prevalent, and blockchain may become one of the methods to provide transaction-level recovery for these independent applications.

Medical Confidential Data

Medical institutions can use the blockchain to secure the medical records of their patients. If a medical record can be registered and signed, it can be written to the blockchain, thus the record cannot be changed unauthorized. The special medical records can be encoded in the blockchain with a private key, so they will be available only to specific persons.

For instance, to get and unlock the medical data required for patient treatment, the signature pair will be required: the patient’s own signature in conjunction with the hospital’s one.

Patients or relatives can obtain full control over their health information by choosing the data they want to expose to health care providers or doctors. With such an approach there is no need to keep patient records away from hospitals which is quite expansive. In addition, counterfeit medicines are a big problem that pharmaceutical companies face in their daily operations, as there are many stakeholders involved in the supply chain. Withdrawing drugs and preventing counterfeit drugs from entering legitimate markets will help reduce waste and improve service delivery to the end consumer. The whole healthcare supply chain can be “blockchained”.

Government Acts Regulation

Most of us have been experiencing the necessity to go to government offices doing some legal registrations such as property or something. For example, you probably know that the process of registering property rights is annoying and slow. The document should be delivered to an employee at the local record office, then it will be manually entered into the county’s central database and into a publicly available index. In the event of a property controversy, property claims must be consistent with the publicly available index.

This process is not only expensive and time-consuming – it is also fraught with a human error when every inaccuracy makes tracking real estate ownership less effective. Blockchain can help to exclude the need to scan documents and track physical files at your local record office. If property rights are stored and verified in a blockchain, property owners can be sure that their documents are accurate and permanently registered.

New ways to innovate emerge and blockchain technology finds its practical application in various fields: economics, logistics, medicine, retail, construction. An honest assessment of what blockchain is and for what cases it suits is vital for its proper use. If you are ready to implement such an approach, contact the Jelastic team and we’ll do our best to fulfill your order spinning up the Hyperledger Fabric on top of Jelastic PaaS.

Published on Java Code Geeks with permission by Vadym Lobzakov, partner at our JCG program. See the original article here: Blockchain Network with Hyperledger Fabric: Peculiarities and Use Cases

Opinions expressed by Java Code Geeks contributors are their own.

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