The Launch of Amazon Managed Blockchain

Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services, delivers his AWS re:Invent 2018 keynote, featuring the latest AWS news and announcements.

In this segment, he announces Amazon Managed Blockchain as a fully managed service that makes it easy to create and manage scalable blockchain networks using the popular open source frameworks Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum.

The idea is to make it much easier to use the two most popular blockchains.

For private network capabilities, with a specific number of members, Hyperledger Fabric is available now.

Ethereum will be available in a couple of months and is often selected for a public decentralized ledger with an unknown amount of members.

ETHEREUM

Ethereum is an open-source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform and operating system featuring smart contract functionality.

Ether is a cryptocurrency whose blockchain is generated by the Ethereum platform. Ether can be transferred between accounts and used to compensate participant mining nodes for computations performed.

“Gas”, an internal transaction pricing mechanism, is used to mitigate spam and allocate resources on the network.

Ethereum was proposed in late 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, a cryptocurrency researcher and programmer. Development was funded by an online crowdsale that took place between July and August 2014.

The system went live on 30 July 2015, with 72 million coins “premined”. This accounts for about 70 percent of the total circulating supply in 2018.

In 2016, as a result of the exploitation of a flaw in The DAO project’s smart contract software, and subsequent theft of $50 million worth of Ether, Ethereum was split into two separate blockchains – the new separate version became Ethereum (ETH) with the theft reversed, and the original continued as Ethereum Classic (ETC).

HYPERLEDGER FABRIC

Hyperledger Fabric is a permissioned blockchain infrastructure, originally contributed by IBM and Digital Asset, providing a modular architecture with a delineation of roles between the nodes in the infrastructure, execution of Smart Contracts (called “chaincode” in Fabric) and configurable consensus and membership services.

A Fabric Network comprises “Peer nodes”, which execute chaincode, access ledger data, endorse transactions and interface with applications as well as “Orderer nodes” which ensure the consistency of the blockchain and deliver the endorsed transactions to the peers of the network.

Fabric supports chaincode in Go and JavaScript (via Hyperledger Composer, or natively since v1.1) out-of-the-box, and other languages such as Java by installing appropriate modules. It is therefore potentially more flexible than competitors that only support a closed Smart Contract language.

Amazon Managed Blockchain


Jonathan Fritz presents a “Deep Dive on Amazon Managed Blockchain.” Before getting into the details of Amazon’s service, he addresses some of the basic concepts regarding blockchain.

Many business networks rely on central authorities, which can be inefficient, expensive and require time-consuming auditing.

An alternative would be a consortium, which could achieve better outcomes by sharing information.  However, they may not agree on how data can be secured and fairly shared.  

Multiple organizations need to independently verify transaction histories and need a single, up-to-date, accurate view of data.

Business logic among multiple organization could be simplified through automation.

Asset transfers require an expensive and inefficient escrow.

A public network needs a way to maintain a tamper-proof history of transactions and global state.

Blockchain resolves these points and eliminates the need for a central authority in business networks.

THREE MAIN BLOCKCHAIN COMPONENTS:

1) Distributed ledger (bottom layer)
2) Consensus mechanism
3) “Smart Contract” execution environment (top layer)

LEDGER DATABASE

The journal is the essence of a blockchain. The journal records an immutable log of all transactions and is maintained by nodes in the blockchain network.

CONSENSUS MECHANISM

This is how the network assures what data goes into the ledger and the data that it’s in their stays correct.

SMART CONTRACTS

Where the applications function and interact.

PUBLIC AND PERMISSIONED NETWORKS

Public networks allow anyone to participate. Members are incentivized to maintain the network.

Permissioned networks limit the members to known entities.

They both have applications in the world.

AMAZON MANAGED BLOCKCHAIN

AMB is a fully managed service that makes it easy to create and manage scalable blockchain networks using open source frameworks: Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum.

This is a decentralized network and is not owned by Amazon and is low cost: you only pay for what you use.

HYPERLEDGER FABRIC (available now)

Creates permissioned networks with channels to limit the transactions on the ledger each member can see.

Has smart contracts, called Chaincode.

Validation policy for executing Chaincode and is configurable.

Has no native cryptocurrency.

ETHEREUM (coming soon)

Create smart contracts using the Solidity language that runs across nodes in the network.

Very scalable.

Create permissioned networks or use public Ethereum network.

Configured to use Proof-of-Work consensus algorithm for public networks and Proof-of-Authority for private networks.

Anyone who can access the network can see all data on the ledger.

IN BRIEF

Amazon Managed Blockchain is a fully managed blockchain service that makes it easy for customers to create and manage scalable blockchain-based transaction networks using the open source blockchain frameworks Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum.

Blockchain technologies enable groups of organizations to securely transact, run application code and share data without a trusted central authority.

Vitalik Buterin Explains Ethereum

In 2014, Vitalik Buterin explained decentralized applications (dapps) and Ethereum. He notes that dapps reduce costs, remove points of failure, prevent censorship, promote transparency and trust.

Ethereum borrowed the concept of distributed consensus and cryptographic proof that makes cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin so effective in trustless payments. Ethereum then extended the use of these technologies to trustless agreements (Smart Contracts). This allows developers to easily build innovative, new products on a collusion-resistant foundation without censorship.

In brief, Ethereum is a platform that makes it possible for any developer to write and distribute next-generation dapps.

Vitalik Buterin is a Russian-Canadian programmer and writer primarily known as a co-founder of Ethereum and as a co-founder of Bitcoin Magazine.

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum describes itself as “a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference.”

The term “smart contract” refers to computer code that can facilitate the exchange of money, content, property, shares, or anything of value. When running on the blockchain a smart contract becomes like a self-operating computer program that automatically executes when specific, defined conditions are met.

Ethereum was proposed in late 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, a cryptocurrency researcher and programmer and launched in 2015.

The platform is also the basis for its own virtual currency, Ether.

Ethereum is not just a platform.  It’s also a programming language, helping developers to build and publish distributed applications.

As an example for comparison and contrast, Bitcoin is also a distributed public blockchain network.  Although there are important technical differences between Bitcoin and Ethereum, Bitcoin solely exists to offer one famous application of blockchain technology: a peer to peer electronic cash system that enables and tracks online Bitcoin payments.

Conversely, the Ethereum blockchain focuses on running the programming code of any decentralized application.

In fact, Ethereum is also being used as a platform to launch other cryptocurrencies

In the Ethereum blockchain, instead of mining for bitcoin, miners work to earn Ether, a type of crypto token that fuels the network. Beyond a tradeable cryptocurrency, Ether is also used by application developers to pay for transaction fees and services on the Ethereum network.

There is a second type of token that is used to pay miners fees for including transactions in their block, it is called gas, and every smart contract execution requires a certain amount of gas to be sent along with it to entice miners to put it in the blockchain.

Visit the following link to see what types of Dapps are being built on Ethereum.

Charles Hoskinson Discusses Cardano and Business Success

Charles Hoskinson is a former co-founder of BitShares, Ethereum and Ethereum Classic and is a co-founder of Cardano.  Hoskinson is currently the CEO of IOHK, a technology company that leads the development of Cardano (ADA) and Ethereum Classic (ETC).

In this interview he talks about solving real-world problems with blockchain and cryptocurrency, citing examples in Africa, where the interview was held.

Hoskinson refers to Cardano as part of a 3rd generarion of cryptocurrencies.

Continue reading “Charles Hoskinson Discusses Cardano and Business Success”

IBM Leading Blockchain Deployment

A Juniper Research survey revealed that:

65 percent of respondents ranked them [IBM] as the first choice for deploying a blockchain. Microsoft was second to IBM, with just 7 percent of the votes.

The same survey also found that nearly half of companies were considering using Ethereum as their platform of choice.  The longevity of this pattern is debatable in relation to the rise of its primary competitor EOS.

https://thenextweb.com/hardfork/2018/09/14/juniper-research-blockchain-deployment/