Blockcerts on hyperledger fabric


#1

Hi, can we implement blockcerts on IBM’s hyperledger fabric blockchain ?
As the documentation says that it is blockchain agnostic.


#2

This would indeed be possible. However, Hyperledger does not have common public networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum do.
Therefore issuing to hyperledger has the disadvantage of not knowing whether the chain will last, Bitcoin and Ethereum both have incentives to keep the chain alive for a long time coming.


#3

I was going to ask the same question - but am now struggling to identify what would be gained. If you swapped BTC for hyperledger, what value would BlockCerts be providing? The credential enrollment/crediting?

Would there be a difference from putting together badgr and hyperledger at that point?

Trying to get a better sense of the BlockCerts architecture - thanks!

Great question @aadesh !


#4

Keeping the chain alive for as long as there is a cryptocurrency attached to those networks otherwise there is no network because nobody is mining because of blockcerts but simply thanks to the cryptocurrency. also, this is IMHO, a deficiency in the sustainability of bockcerts because the actual strategic value of the asset (the certificates and the transactions over these) is controlled by a third party that has no incentives at all in keeping blockcerts alive. am I wrong?

@Kyle
@Brinkkemper


#5

If digital credentials like these are to ever be useful it’s because they have an installed user base of the current K-20 system - which is as good of a bed-rock as bitcoin, in my opinion. Public schools may be in flux, but the K-20 system itself isn’t in danger of going away completely. If they’re maintaining a ‘private ledger’ it’s the benefits of a blockchain.

And in an essence, it could function as a transferring service between chains - allow ‘imports and exports’, using BlockCerts, from bitcoin to private ledgers that’ll inevitably exist.


#6

Sorry but still I dont quite get it. first what is the rational for digital certs to be decentralized? if built upon decentralized ledgers then I presume there is a reason for blockcerts to be built upon a decentralized ledger platform. if this is the way forward one would expect the network to build its own infrastructure, right? if not, then perhaps there is no need for a decentralized solution here, right?

second, to what exempt does blockcerts depend on bitcoin? what if bitcoin does not allow apps like blockcerts to use their infrastructure -pretty convoluted already.

the user base for digital certs in public ledgers like bitcoin or ethereum is not due to the actual number of people/organizations using the ledger but it is due to the borrowed infrastructure (including the user base) that is supporting the digital certs -bitcoin in this case. Right? there is no reason why a platform like hyperledger has to be a private network -private vs public is not related to weather it is bitcoin vs hyperledger and the like.

Again sorry if I am just misunderstanding the tech.

@Kyle
@Brinkkemper


#7

Alexander,

It sounds like there are a few different questions you are raising:

  1. The rationalization for certs to be decentralized is durability and convenience. We see disasters (natural, political, technical) wipe out centralized institutions every year. A decentralized infrastructure can better withstand disaster and provide a more efficient verification mechanism to function across the world. Plus, there are technical security advantages over traditional PKI techniques.

  2. Blockcerts is a standard for writing to any blockchain, not just Bitcoin, and not necessarily just public chains. The traits of different blockchains give them different pros/cons for implementation. Opinions about which blockchain is most appropriate will vary, so best to get specific in these conversations.

  3. Being characterized as public or private has to do with openness of code and governance. So in that sense, yes, a hyperledger implementation could become a public chain.

I hope this helps!


#8

Thanks. it does help.

the standard is very useful. perhaps the one most valuable thing from this prj together with the use of a decentralized ledger for managing educational certs.

but, having an implementation that is tightly coupled with bitcoin sends the wrong msg. Also, at the end it will make it more complicated for universities to adopt this tech for soling this serious problem -that of falsifying educational cets. the decentralization should come from each university becoming a node of blockcerts and nodes being independent from third party platforms. you assume that by relying on bitcoin as a platform you are decentralized and therefore reliable. you are decentralized but not reliable because you are relying on a third party infrastructure that is like honey for hackers. also, by having it coupled with bitcoin universities in Europe will have to battle the issues of data protection (personal information being moved over third party platforms that are a high value target for hackers). I personally would argue that universities have to take responsibility for running the nodes of the decentralized solution, not leaving everything on a serverless architecture that runs on a third party).

Again, love the standard. love the idea. would not use the implementation. “a hyperledger implementation could become a public chain”; or a private one. this depends on other factors not on the actual tech platform.


#9

Alexander,

Thanks for mentioning this new concern. As has been stated before, Blockcerts started with a BTC implementation because it was the only blockchain in existence at the time. Even then, it was appealing for it’s impressive security track record. The standard then expanded to Ethereum due to public demand and interesting programatic possibilities. And philosophically, the standard is positioned to anchor records to any blockchain because it recognizes different preferences will exist and that different technical options will emerge over time.

Now, you have brought up some concerns against the camp that prefers BTC, exactly for it’s security properties and longevity. I think your characterization of BTC as a “honey pot” and “unreliable” is incorrect, in part, because that entire network only has value so long as it protects privacy and remains reliable. Further, the entire infrastructure prioritizes data protection above all things, going to lengths way beyond what is required of GDPR. Those privacy issues are typically more relevant at the application layer, not at the ledger level (in this case).

For those thinking about setting up their own network, like a system of universities, keep in mind this is a very expensive proposition and likely less secure than a public blockchain. Security is directly related to the size of the network, degree of decentralization, and code that has survived the test of time. A new network run by a small network of universities would not achieve parity on any of these metrics anytime soon. In fact, people with that mentality should probably just use a centralized solution.

Your fear of public blockchains sounds much like the fear of the World Wide Web when it was first getting started. For instance, banks set up their own intranets because they didn’t believe they could trust the Internet (public infrastructure). However, it took a while before they realized the entire power of that network arises exactly because the it is shared, and decentralized to a high degree. While there is still a place for intranets, they aren’t transformative.

I think public blockchains are a foundational revolution as profound as the rise of the Web. Yes, it will take time for it to evolve and for people to trust it. Trust is earned over time. And yet, I’m personally optimistic about the value it promises beyond the traditional approaches of central authorities and member-based gatekeepers.


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