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What is Hyperledger Besu?
Christian Felde

Published On - February 24, 2023

What is Hyperledger Besu?

Bitcoin and Ethereum are the biggest public permissionless blockchain networks in the world, measured by the value of their native tokens. But are you familiar with the software that makes these blockchain networks operate?


A blockchain network consists of multiple node software instances which are running on different computers. These nodes follow a certain protocol to come to a consensus on the state of the network.

The fact that there are many 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.

Having many different implementations running together is important. If there is a bug in one of the implementations, having many different implementations running together helps protect the network. It will also avoid 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.


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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. It's also interesting to note that Hyperledger Besu 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

You may be unfamiliar with private blockchain networks. They are normally used 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 private blockchain networks? 

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. Using a private blockchain network, avoids the need to rely on third parties to agree 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. With traditional financial infrastructure this often happens around 2 days later.

Why choose Hyperledger Besu?

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
  • It supports private transactions, allowing 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, a language often used within the enterprise space. This allows for reuse of tooling and know-how.
Other feature include: P2P networking, user-facing APIs, storage (RocksDB key-value database), monitoring nodes and networks, and permissioning.


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.


At Web3 Labs, we have several years of experience working with Hyperledger Besu. If you need some advice or support on using blockchain technology in your business please contact us. 


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