Published On - February 24, 2023
What is Hyperledger Besu?
I’m sure you’re familiar with blockchain networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum. These are the two biggest public permissionless blockchain networks in the world, as measured by the value of their native tokens.
But what you might not be familiar with is the software that makes these networks operate. In short, a blockchain network is many instances of node software running on many computers, where these use some defined protocol to agree on the state of the network.
The fact that there are many such nodes operating the network together is what makes the network behave correctly, following the protocol. This ensures there’s no ability to perform malicious actions, like reverting your token transfer.
What is less known is that there are many different implementations of the same protocols. Ethereum in particular is a network with at least 5 major node software implementations, each developed by different teams.
This is important because if there is a bug in one of the implementations, having many different implementations running together helps protect the network and avoids it from deviating from the agreed protocol. The bug can be fixed in the faulty implementation without this causing any downtime or invalid transactions. The non-faulty nodes will notice the bug, and ignore or penalise the faulty nodes.
This is where Hyperledger Besu comes into the picture. Besu is one of the 5 major Ethereum execution client implementations, and it is part of the Hyperledger foundation.
Besu is used to help run the public Ethereum mainnet and testnets. But what’s also interesting about Hyperledger Besu is that it is frequently used as the preferred node implementation for private networks.
The Hyperledger Foundation is an open source community focused on developing a suite of stable frameworks, tools and libraries for enterprise-grade blockchain deployments. It is a global collaboration, hosted by The Linux Foundation, and includes leaders in finance, banking, Internet of Things, supply chains, manufacturing and Technology.
Private blockchain networks with Hyperledger Besu
Private blockchain networks might be a bit foreign unless you happen to work on it within the financial services sector or other industries that want to ensure only selected members are allowed to run nodes or interact with such nodes.
But what’s the point of them anyway?
Typical examples include banks that want to transfer tokens between themselves, where these tokens are backed by some underlying currency. The reserves for this are ideally held with the central bank, in order to minimise collateral risks. And the point of using a private blockchain network is to avoid needing to rely on any third party when it comes to agreeing on what transactions took place, when and in what order.
Removing the third party improves on costs you’d otherwise have to pay, and it’s also difficult for many major enterprises to agree to any such particular vendor. Additional benefits include T+0 settlement and 100% clarity on allocations. Trades are settled and allocated in real time as they are executed, not 2 days later as is often the case with traditional financial infrastructure.
But this post isn’t about the benefits of private blockchain networks, it’s about Hyperledger Besu. What we find is that Besu is the preferred choice in the enterprise world for a couple of reasons:
- It’s battle tested and well supported, as it’s used on the public Ethereum mainnet
- It’s beneficially licensed as open source software under the Apache 2.0 terms
- It can be extended, with plugins, to add custom network functionality
- It support many different consensus algorithms, allowing it to work within different network configurations, like private networks
- And it also supports private transactions, which allows two parties to perform a transaction on the network without the other members being able to work out the details
- It is developed in Java, which is often a language used within the enterprise space, and that allows for reuse of tooling and know-how
Hyperledger Besu is a production ready Ethereum node implementation that supports both public and private blockchain networks. It is implemented in Java, licensed under the Apache 2.0 open source licence, and supports private transactions.
It is also actively maintained by a broad ecosystem of developers and companies, and managed within the Hyperledger foundation.
Here at Web3 Labs we have several years of experience working with Hyperledger Besu, so should you need some advice or support please contact us.