The Hyperledger open source blockchain project has released the 1.0 code for its subproject Sawtooth. Hyperledger Sawtooth is one of several business blockchain subprojects hosted by the Linux Foundation.
The Sawtooth project originally came from Intel. The software is written in Python. And Sawtooth includes a novel consensus algorithm, Proof of Elapsed Time (PoET), which targets large distributed validator populations with minimal energy and CPU consumption. Consensus is a critical element of all blockchains. Generally, consensus is the technique by which new information is reviewed and confirmed before being accepted as the next entry in the blockchain ledger.
Sawtooth delivers some unique capabilities such as dynamic consensus. It can modify the blockchain consensus protocol on the fly as a network grows to enable the integration of more scalable algorithms as they are available. “The PoET consensus mechanism allows you to tune the network without taking it down,” said Brian Behlendorf, executive director of Hyperledger. “If you’d rather use another consensus mechanism than PoET you could swap that in.”
Sawtooth also includes a unique ability called on-chain governance. “With most other types of blockchain systems, the governance is set by a central certification of authority or certain parameters are changeable by setting once and then every node is reset: that can be pretty hairy,” Behlendorf said. On-chain governance handles tasks — such as voting on the allowed participants — using the same blockchain smart contracts technology that’s operating the distributed ledger.
In addition, a transaction execution engine within Sawtooth can process transactions in parallel to accelerate block creation and validation. “It’s potentially another way to get to greater scalability,” said Behlendorf. “It seems pretty promising.”
The Sawtooth code was originally contributed to the Linux Foundation Hyperledger project in April 2016. Sawtooth is supported by an active community of organizations, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Active Ticketing, Ericsson, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Microsoft Azure, Open Music Initiative, T-Mobile, and Wind River.
Additionally, Sawtooth proof of concepts (PoCs) have been deployed to support business cases, including music and media content rights and health care transaction records.
Hyperledger Sawtooth is the second active Hyperledger project to reach 1.0, following Fabric 1.0 in July 2017.