The Hyperledger consortium has launched a new cryptographic software library that will make blockchain development significantly less time consuming, at least in theory. Named “Ursa,” the library can be used by developers for open-source projects not directly related to the Hyperledger platform.
Not Reinventing the Wheel
In a blog post published December 4, 2018, the consortium explained that Ursa was born out of a need for standardization in the blockchain development ecosystem:
“The presence of easy to use, secure crypto implementations might also make it less likely for less experienced people to create their own less secure implementations.”
Hosted by The Linux Foundation, Hyperledger is one of the most popular enterprise blockchain projects globally. It is a collaborative effort between leading companies from the finance, technology, supply chain, and manufacturing industries.
In the software industry, building custom solutions for a trivial problem is often seen as reinventing the wheel. As a result, open-source libraries are commonly used to reduce development time and effort. Given the relative immaturity of the technology, however, the current state of blockchain development can only be described as fragmented. As a result, not many blockchain software libraries have seen mass adoption so far.
In their post, Hyperledger explains that crypto-related implementations are “notoriously difficult to get correct.” Furthermore, since blockchains are often used to represent wealth of some kind, custom applications require a fair amount of technical knowledge to secure properly. Both of these problems can be alleviated to a significant degree if a large number of projects adopts a standard library.
Speaking on security, Hyperledger believes that standardizing this component vastly simplifies the analysis procedure for new blockchains. Maintaining variations of code that do the same thing can lead to unwanted software bugs that would eventually lead to catastrophic failure of some kind much later on.