Hyperledger has announced a new project called Quilt. Kicked off under wraps around 18 months ago and is an implementation of the Interledger protocol. Interledger, also known as ILP, is a protocol for making transactions across ledgers. The protocol’s standards and specifications are being defined by the open source community under the World Wide Web Consortium umbrella.
As an open consortium, Hyperledger incubates a range of business blockchain technologies, including distributed ledger frameworks, smart contract engines, client libraries, graphical interfaces, utility libraries and sample applications. Quilt is the latest project to join this vast community.
What is Hyperledger Quilt?
Hyperledger Quilt offers interoperability between ledger systems by implementing ILP, which is primarily a payments protocol and is designed to transfer value across systems – both distributed ledgers and non-distributed ledgers. It is a simple protocol that establishes a global namespace for accounts, as well as, a protocol for synchronized atomic swaps between different systems.
Ledger systems today are siloed and disconnected. Transfers of value are relatively easy within one country, or if the sender and recipient have accounts on the same network or ledger. But sending value to someone on a different network or ledger is complex and often impractical. Where connections between ledgers do exist, they are manual, slow or expensive.
The Interledger protocol is based on concepts dating back to the 1970s and 1980s, but it took the advent of Bitcoin and the global blockchain movement to make the world realize that money and value transfers could be reinvented with Internet based technologies.
Internet protocols enable information to be packetized, routed and delivered over communication networks. With ILP, money and other forms of value can be packetized, routed and delivered over payment networks and ledgers. Hyperledger Quilt is an enterprise grade implementation of the protocol, developed in Java, and providing libraries and reference implementations of the core Interledger components and in time ledger integrations for other Hyperledger projects.
Technical Details of Quilt
The idea is that Quilt will become a ledger interoperability solution for Hyperledger projects. This will enable Hyperledger members’ distributed ledger solutions, financial institutions’ private ledgers, IoT companies’ wallets, and supply chain systems to connect with one another to perform distributed atomic transactions.
By implementing the Interledger protocol, Quilt provides:
- A set of rules for enabling ledger interoperability with basic escrow semantics
- A standard for a ledger-independent address format and data packet format that will enable connectors to route payments
- A framework for designing higher level use-case-specific protocols
Who will work on Quilt?
Everis, NTT DATA and Ripple are committing full-time engineering resources to ensure the success of this project. The main contributors will include Takahiro Inaba (NTT DATA), Adrian Hope-Bailie (Ripple) and Isaac Arruebarrena (Everis, an NTT DATA Company).
Many other members have already expressed interest in backing the development of Quilt’s Java implementation. This team will seek to work with the other Hyperledger projects in order to find ways to enable ledger interoperability across Hyperledger’s DLT solutions and institutions’ centralised ledgers. Other engineers from NTT DATA, Everis and Ripple will also contribute to the project over time. Members of the Interledger Payments Community Group have also shown interest in contributing to the development of this ILP implementation.
Getting started with Quilt
There will be repositories on GitHub to manage Quilt resources – they will become available over the next several weeks. You can watch for them here: hyperledger/quilt and hyperledger/quilt-crypto-conditions.
Quilt is an exciting addition for the Hyperledger community and they encourage developers to join efforts on Quilt as well as other projects, via github, Rocket.Chat, the wiki or the mailing lists. You can also follow Hyperledger on Twitter.