youWe-Blockchain is a technology that requires collaboration to deliver maximum value and effect to enterprise needs. Many companies today have partnered with competitors and allies in an industry to realize the benefits of a Blockchain consortium with good planning, investment, and commitment in place.
A Blockchain consortium is a trust-less decentralized network. Distributed ledgers offer business-to-business workflows which are proof of the fact that Blockchain functions best when there is collaboration on set standards, infrastructure development, and transaction executions. Blockchain consortia are mediums through which mutually interested companies, regulators, and governments are collaborating to cater to their best interests in Blockchain.
This blog will give you a quick pill of knowledge about the processes involved in a consortium Blockchain network right from formation to management.
Globally, there are more than 40 Blockchain consortia belonging to different industries. Banking and Financial services have attracted significant investments.
Today we have business-focused and technology-focused consortia. The former type seeks to build and operate Blockchain based business platforms to solve a specific business problem. While, the latter seeks to develop reusable blockchain platforms based on technical standards to promote cross-industry Blockchain technologies.
Consortia exhibit a low-risk factor when it comes to efforts in staying relevant and progressive in Blockchain trends. It helps enterprises watch out for new potential opportunities in Blockchain innovations. Consortia allow companies to take advantage of Blockchain network effects. The industry competitors can come together to weed out industry level issues. Thus it makes sense for enterprises to explore leading industry consortia.
The entire process of Blockchain Consortium formation, deployment, and management is delineated below using Hyperledger Fabric on Azure as an example.
Determining the type of consortium: The first step involves deciding what type of consortium we are looking to build after conferring with the rest of the founding members. We need to address the question regarding the kind of use cases to implement? Are we going to build a specific use case among the founding members only. O do we need additional members joining in? Do we need to build a private consortium in that case? Or are we looking to build a sectoral consortium or publicly available consortium where anyone fulfilling a set of basic requirements could ask to join and build their use cases/applications with any other member of the network? In such a case, do we need to build a semi-public/permissioned consortium?
Determining the members of the consortium: Once the founding members have decided the type of network that they want to build, the type of members that will be accepted to the network needs to be determined. The founding members need to decide if only big corporations will be included in their party. Some other questions that need answers are, will potential new members need to be voted by the governance entity? Will there be a limit to join to a specific sector or field of activity? What is paramount in this stage is a clear consortium mission.
Determining the type/role of members: Members may join for governance, voting power in the consortium for technical/political decisions, strategy, and roadmap. Full members may have full privileges over the network to deploy their applications, query and store data in the ledger, or participate in the consensus and validation algorithm. Partial members can deploy applications and query store any information in the ledger as read-only regulating members without validation permissions. The members may allows users to use their applications.
Policies, regulations, and constitution of the consortium: When joining the consortium all the founding and joining parties will need to accept the rules and regulations of the consortium through contract signing. This contract will define the legal entity of the consortium.
The second layer of peer-to-peer computing nodes is required to manage, verify and validate all the transactions that are made on the network. This process of validation is called reaching consensus and it includes various algorithms such as proof-of-stake, proof-of-work, proof-of-importance, delegated proof-of-stake, PBFT, PoET, etc.
After selecting the platform, the next step is to select the internal structure of the node. You can choose from private Blockchains, public Blockchains, consortium Blockchains, and hybrid Blockchains depending on your business requirement. Before this process, you will need to get your hardware and software configurations assessed, your requirements evaluated, and suggestions on the best infrastructure for your nodes to run on.
For Hyperledger Fabric, two primary deployment types are as follows:
In either model, the building blocks of the core Hyperledger Fabric are the same. The differences in the deployments lie in how these components are scaled up.
If developers prefer a low footprint server to develop applications without must regard to fault tolerance, the Single virtual machine architecture is the best choice because of its lightweight nature. The multiple virtual machine architecture ensures high availability and scaling of each component at the core. Production grade deployments are usually implemented using this model.
To begin, you need a platform subscription that supports deploying several virtual machines and standard storage accounts. Once you have a subscription, you need to configure the application and create a blockchain resource.
Configuring the right application is crucial before you start a project. Blockchain experts will help you choose your configuration wisely after considering elements such as Block signatures, key management, permissions, and address formats.
On Azure, this step includes configuring the multi-node Hyperledger Fabric network. There are four steps of deployment flow: Basics, Consortium Network Settings, Fabric configuration, and Optional components.
The Basics configuration option lets you specify values for standard parameters for any deployment. These include subscription, resource group, and basic virtual machine properties. The parameters used in this step are:
The consortium network settings help specify inputs for the creation and participation in the existing consortium network and organization settings.
The parameters used here are:
Fabric-specific settings include configuring the network size and performance, specifying inputs for network availability like number orderer and peer nodes, persistence engine used by each node, and the VM size.
The parameters used are:
Before deployment, you need to review and accept the legal and privacy terms. Next, you develop the application and chain code for your Hyperledger consortium blockchain network.
Many companies prefer building their APIs for performing audit-related functions, authenticating data through digital signatures and hashes, generating key pairs and addresses, or using Blockchain for data storage and retrieval, smart contracts, and smart-asset lifecycle management. Today, pre-built APIs can be customized to suit individual enterprise needs.
BaaS Platforms like Zeeve offers an interactive shell to members with administrator privileges to invite, add, remove, and change roles for all participants in the blockchain consortium, while user consortium members have view and change member name privileges only.
Network Cmdlets and smart contracts helps establish a connection to the blockchain endpoint’s smart contracts that are responsible for consortium management.
Consortium member management cmdlets helps manage members within the consortium.
Invitation management cmdlets helps manage invitations within the consortium. These include:
Capitalizing on Blockchain’s potential to increase operational efficiency and empower new business models and client solutions is possible through Blockchain consortia.
Zeeve Platform features a standardized approach to deploy reliable Blockchain nodes and networks. It means better security and compliance and cost optimization for your Blockchain. Checkout features of Zeeve No Code Blockchain Platform or sign up for a free account. More than 2000+ developers and Blockchain companies across the globe trust Zeeve for deploying and managing their Blockchain DApps, Smart Contracts and underlying infrastructure. Zeeve supports standardized deployments for multiple Blockchain Protocols. Zeeve also supports all the major cloud providers for hosting and managing your Blockchain. This includes AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, Digital Ocean and IBM Cloud.