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As you may have read, Red Hat has joined the Hyperledger Project, a Linux Foundation hosted initiative to create an industry reference implementation of a blockchain based shared ledger, initially targeting financial services use-cases, as a founding member.

Blockchain is the storage mechanism behind Bitcoin. It provides the infrastructure for a trusted, cryptographically signed, secure, and independently verifiable log of transactions, which can store any type of transactional data. The Hyperledger Project is starting from the open source OpenBlockChain project, created by IBM, and Hyperledger, created by Digital Asset Holdings, and being open sourced as part of the creation of the Hyperledger Project. Other code contributions are expected from other members, creating a large repository of open source, Apache v2 licensed blockchain and consensus related code.

Why is Red Hat joining? For one thing, because financial services is an important vertical for us. Most of the world’s stock markets run on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Several major banks and financial institutions are our customers.

We are also deeply aware of the potential transformative effect that the blockchain can have on the financial services industry and beyond in the coming years. Given the strategic nature of this industry to Red Hat, we are committed to staying at the forefront of innovations in this space to help our products to evolve, to enable financial services users to make the transition to a shared ledger more smoothly. Our goal is to make Red Hat the preferred platform for their future blockchain-based applications and solutions.

One of the ways we are doing this is by developing our ecosystem of ISV partners in this area. Whichever vendor our users decide to deploy, we want them to be able to run their blockchain infrastructure on a certified, supported solution with our infrastructure products, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, OpenShift Enterprise, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. We also intend to ensure that the source code from Hyperledger is available and packaged for users of community distributions like Fedora and CentOS.

The opportunity to work with the cross-section of the industry who have joined the Hyperledger Project will enable us to gain a deeper understanding of where the industry is going, and the nature of the demands that their use-cases will place on their IT infrastructure. In addition, with its long and proven track record in open source software development, we believe Red Hat is uniquely placed to help our financial sector customers and partners who are relatively new to this type of project, to create a successful and vibrant open source ecosystem around the Hyperledger project.

Blockchain technology has the potential for implications beyond the financial services industry. It’s an exciting technology, and we’re excited to see where it leads, especially as Red Hat and other industry leaders collaborate in the upstream to advance the Hyperledger project.


About the author

Dave Neary is the Field Engagement lead for the Open Source Program Office at Red Hat, communicating the value of open source software development to Red Hat customers ad partners. He has been active in free and open source communities for more than 15 years as a consultant, community manager, trainer and developer. In that time, he has worked on advising companies in finance and telecommunications industry on effective adoption of, and participation in, open source projects.

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