IBM and India’s Tata have joined the governing council of startup Hedera Hashgraph, a distributed ledger technology (DLT) specialist that claims a unique distributed consensus algorithm, invented and patented by co-founder Leemon Baird.
The decision is a coup and a credibility boost for Hedera Hashgraph. The company is one of a sprawling array of DLT providers touting esoteric capabilities – often indecipherable to mortals unfamiliar with cryptographic arcana – that have arguably yet to be demonstrated providing any meaningful utility to business.
It hopes to build a 39-strong governing council. Members will have “equal say in approving updates to the Hedera platform codebase and in setting policies for the many nodes that will constitute Hedera’s decentralised network.”
Hedera Hashgraph is not-quite-a-blockchain; its ledger requires distributed consensus and shares many similarities, but does not require energy-intensive proof-of-work. Last year it touted an enthusiastic valuation of $6 billion.
It claims to be “fair, fast, Byzantine, ACID compliant, efficient, inexpensive, timestamped, and DoS resistant… The hashgraph is Byzantine Fault Tolerant (BFT) by the strongest definition – asynchronous BFT (AFT).”
Hedera co-founders Mance Harmon and Leemon Baird previously worked together building machine learning algorithms for the US Air Force.
Harmon went on, Forbes reports, to manage a US government software program for missile-defense systems. In 2015, he and Baird cofounded Swirlds, which builds private blockchains for large companies, and they started working on Hedera hashgraph. Baird has a computer science PhD from Carnegie Mellon and invented Hedera’s algorithm.
IBM said its interest lies Hedera’s potential to “enhance” Hyperledger Fabric: the DLT that Big Blue helped develop and which underpins a range of its blockchain initiatives, including its TradeLens platform: a blockchain service for the shipping sector.
Jerry Cuomo, VP of blockchain technologies at IBM, said in a release shared today: “We are excited to join the Hedera Governing Council and explore relationships between public networks and industry-specific networks.
“Hyperledger has proven to be the de facto standard enterprises use to build, manage, and deploy blockchain-based ledgers. We believe Hedera could help provide an interesting way to enhance and simplify the deployment of Hyperledger Fabric in the enterprise, making it easier for groups to build and grow their networks.”
Those with an interest in consensus algorithms can peruse Hedera Hashgraph’s whitepaper here [pdf].