What do private blockchain builders really want ?
According to Amber Baldet, leader of JP Morgan's blockchain, they face the same concerns as anyone who builds public blockchains today.
"These problems are not so far apart, it's just that people are trying to solve problems in different ways," Baldet told the EthCC hearing, an ethereal conference in Paris on Friday
In a crowded amphitheater, Baldet was exposing the mechanics of his company's blockchain private network, Quorum, while seeking to spread a wider message about how his bank, one of the largest in the world, seeks to encourage collaboration between blockchains. .
And perhaps Baldet is in a unique position to advance the dialogue: Quorum is the first project that JP Morgan has developed in its Center of Excellence Blockchain (BCoE), based on a range of software from 39; Ethereum. As such, Baldet spoke at length about how his time is spent engaging with cryptocurrency communities in order to find a common ground.
"I spend a lot of time talking about ethereum and cryptocurrency and opening blockchains to companies, businesses, central banks and businesses," said Baldet, "I do not spend much time to go in the other direction ". ]
Yet, according to Baldet, these conversations are crucial for educating and mutually enhancing both sectors of the industry. While public and private blockchains are often opposed, Baldet told CoinDesk in an interview: "I do not think these two things should be so different or necessarily mutually exclusive."
And while there are compromises with public blockchains that companies simply can not afford, what companies want to ethereum, and what Ethereum wants in return , she says, it's the ability to interoperate.
In this way, businesses can inhabit their own private universes away from the public network, but publish data to obtain the security and auditability of a public blockchain.
"There does not necessarily have to be all the business disaster recovery systems here, and all the anonymous blockchain public antifriction transactions here," she said.
Rather, Baldet continued:
"Pragmatically, it is probably more likely that we end up with some sort of hybrid network of networks that we hope will talk to each other."
And interoperability is an area in which Baldet thinks that companies have generally failed.
In a chorus about how business software tends to be complicated, fuzzy and exclusive, Baldet told the audience, "When we talk about business blockchain, that's what it's all about. It's here that people are stuck. And, she believes, the impact of this is that companies are struggling to attract developer talent.
"[Developers] does not necessarily want to work on something that seems to have been developed in the 1990s," said Baldet.
It is therefore up to the companies to cooperate in this direction to create simple and user-friendly software that can interact with existing technologies and work on interoperability solutions such as Cosmos, Polkadot and Interledger that allow blockchains to share information. data.
Elsewhere, Baldet warned against what she calls "crypto-balkanization," the bursting of blockchain communities into increasingly uncooperative factions, "virtual continents along political axes. Which could "weaken privacy and make interoperability more difficult".
Between the two extremes of the draft registers distributed and public blockchains like ethereum, there is a "gray zone blurred in the middle" that Baldet called "shared infrastructure."
A system like this would allow blockchains to communicate while meeting the demands of different camps, which, according to Baldet, is the best way to ensure equal access to services in a true Internet of value.
She told the public:
"We are going to have to do a better job of doing software work not just for one group or for the other that will continue to fork these power structures, but to actually integrate those things together into one. only thing. "
Small private universes
To achieve this goal, Baldet explained that Quorum and Ethereum are deliberately similar, with 95% of the software, in his view, similar in both versions.
"In fact, it has not changed much, and it's intentional, there are very few changes," Baldet said at his conference.
However, unlike the public ethereumeum blockchain, Quorum is supposed to operate in an allowed environment, with each node in the network being identified by a public and private key pair.
Using these keys, intelligent contracts can be addressed to any network node, opening the possibility of private operations, whose hash is then validated and stored on the Quorum block chain.
But because of the privacy needs of businesses, or "to be able to trade or transmit information without giving up ownership of the information," says Baldet, there are also d & # 3939; other levels of confidentiality of networks
Last year, Quorum coupled with zcash cryptocurrency focused on privacy, to embed a layer of security layer of zero-knowledge cryptography on top of its chain of blocks.
Called "zero-knowledge settlement layer", this function allows to obtain zero knowledge ethereum tokens that only reveal information such as transactional quantity and property, and that reveal nothing of 39, other on the function of the chips. ]
And confidentiality is something that also concerns Baldet in public blockchains.
"We could do a lot to reserve the aggregation, centralization and creation of data lakes that, over time, especially in a transparent public blockchain, will become monitoring lakes," Baldet said.
"Finding a way to balance privacy with data transmission is essential, not only for businesses, but also for public companies."
But privacy is only one innovation that Baldet has helped to advance on the public ethereum.
Another crucial exchange is the advantage that private blockchains might have for scalability, to stop overloading the public blockchain by bringing some projects off-line. CryptoKitties, she reminded the audience, "did not work well for someone for a few days."
In a conversation with CoinDesk, Baldet elaborated, stating, "This does not help raise the public ethereum by increasing the public ethereum, but that takes away some of the network load. »
By moving closer to the platform and keeping its development, "Quorum benefits from all the security and scaling research that is taking place on Mainnet Ethereum," said Baldet, adding:
"Conversely, if someone builds an application that requires more processing power or more space than it does effective on the mainnet ethereum, it starts to try on Quorum.
Pending the release of new interoperability protocols, such projects can continue to interact and support each other for alternative and customized environments, "private environments alongside," as Baldet calls them, "their little ones." universe".
And an interactive network of cooperative, public and private blockchains is close to the vision of the ethereum
At the launch of the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance last year, the founder of Ethereum Vitalik Buterin went so far as to call for collaboration between open blockchain and businesses, stating, "we have common challenges."
"I do not hear people say that they are ethereal maximists such that they believe that no other computer should exist, which is n '# 39; would simply make no sense using this kind of technology. "
Image Amber Baldet via Twitter