While DLT (Blockchain) adoption for private networks is picking up speed, there is still quite a few concerns around this new technology that are delaying the process. All these concerns are genuine and important to address.
Vincilium’s mission is to help clients overcome these concerns and accelerate the DLT journey with high end advisory, products and solutions.
In this article we will address some key concerns that you may have in adoption of DLT and how each of these points is managed by the private blockchains like Quorum, the framework of our choice.
How private are private networks?
Blockchain dashed into the scene through public networks of Bitcoin and Ethereum hence building a perception of an open network technology where everyone can read/write everything. Then how could private ecosystems in financial institutions adopt blockchain where privacy is of utmost importance?
Any blockchain network essentially represents an ecosystem of participant business entities/systems which perform a part of overall business process or some of the steps of transaction life cycle. Each participant entity is potentially a node of the network and can read/write the data, which then gets validated through pre-agreed smart contracts and is distributed evenly to all the nodes. Does this mean that every node can see data from every other node in the network, even if it is not supposed to?
The answer is no, thanks to private network frameworks like Go Quorum.
Quorum is a permissioned blockchain to ensure that network is not open to all. Quorum’s protocols only allow participants that are pre-approved by a designated authority. This adds a layer of security, so that the transactions cannot be carried out without approval.
In addition to the overall permissioned layer of network, Quorum also ensures data confidentiality and entitlements between the participants. It assures transaction privacy by:
- Allowing transaction Senders to create a private transaction which has privateFor parameter to dictate who is entitled to that transaction,
- Encrypting the original payload with a hash so that is not visible to everyone.
- Storing encrypted data in a component called Tessera, a Private Transaction Manager, which decrypts the data for the entitled parties only.
This feature of enabling network level permission and transaction level entitlements makes blockchain a technology that meets the privacy needs of future financial institutions
Performance and Scale:
Blockchain process takes the transactions, validates them, executes smart contracts, creates blocks and then distributes the blocks across the nodes. This heavy lifting naturally brings the concern of speed and performance to everyone’s mind.
Private network frameworks like Quorum were built keeping performance in mind and can provide high transaction speeds. This is because of the Raft consensus algorithm it uses in permissioned networks. Raft allows fast block creation times ( milliseconds instead of seconds), which result in faster transaction processing. Quorum has tendency to create a new block immediately after new transaction arrives, but it only creates one after if it’s been at least 50 ms since the last block.
This helps to save storage space by mining only the proper blocks and not the empty ones. Its other significant features are transaction finality and on-demand block creation.
However, implementing transaction level privacy tends to impact the latency and throughput, hence careful design of the network and keeping optimum balance between performance and entitlements is of utmost importance.
Cloud adoption and containerization has become a standard and any new technology is expected to embrace this new normal to compliment the cloud strategy.
For any technology shop it will be a big concern if blockchain adoption results in any compromise on the cloud adoption and support for container orchestration.
Answer to this concern is Qubernetes, which ensures quorum based projects are cloud native.
Qubernets is a project for generating GoQuorum network resources, Kubernetes GoQuorum resources, as well as managing and interacting with a GoQuorum Kubernetes deployment.
Qubernetes default settings enable quick setups and ease of implementation. It is also customizable for more advanced Kubernetes deployments. Configurable ingress, network policies, security context, and persistent volume size are just a few examples. Qubernetes includes support for Cakeshop, monitoring, and acceptance tests.
qctl is a golang command line tool for creating and manipulating the minimal configuration and interacting with a running Kubernetes network.
Integration with legacy systems
Blockchain private networks are not here to replace legacy platforms. They are here to overlay business ecosystems in the organization and result in frictionless data transmission, remove information asymmetry and build immutable, transparent enterprise shared ledger, the golden copy of truth.
This sounds like a dream, but does it come with a nightmarish implementation and integration with legacy platforms?
Answer is NO, and the magic is in APIs.
Smart contracts written in solidity can be executed through node.js and springboot using web3 Java interface. This enables seamless API based integration with blockchain network possible.
Blockchain frameworks like Hyperledger. Quorum and Corda have come a long way and matured enough to make it a mainstream tech stack and Vincilium is here to help organizations accelerate the adoption.