The consortium of vendors, startups, corporates, and researchers that make up the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) on Wednesday published its most important update in 18 months, an open standard for building solutions on the world’s second-biggest blockchain (Ethereum). The release outlines how participating companies and entrepreneurs can work smart contract technology into their ecosystems, chiefly to leverage the capabilities of smart contracts.
Defining the building blocks of blockchain
As explained in the EEA press release:
“This stack defines the building blocks needed to drive the Web 3.0 era of decentralized, connective intelligence – the next generation of Enterprise Ethereum applications that, like the Internet, will work anywhere, and are capable of facilitating smart contracts without intermediaries. The stack, available as a free public document to download, incorporates components developed by the Ethereum Foundation.”
The Executive Director of the consortium, Ron Resnick, elaborated on the importance of the release:
“With the public release of the stack, the EEA is on its way to delivering a world-class standards-based specification for Enterprise Ethereum solutions with a TestNet and certification program to follow. The EEA’s standards-based approach enables enterprises to deliver a superior customer experience and create new and innovative solutions. Plus, having multiple vendors of choice will likely mean competition will drive down costs.”
The EEA stack encompasses five layers, from the application level on top, through the tooling layer which controls permissions of users and oracles to the underlying chain. Below this is the scaling level which can allow private and public chains to interact, while the bottom two layers are the core blockchain and the underlying peer-to-peer protocol respectively.
Strategic importance for the blockchain industry
With interest in Decentralized Ledger Technology (DLT) solutions increasing at pace, part of the vision for the EEA is to provide transparent and open non-proprietary platforms that stimulate innovation. Whereas more and more banks, states, and corporates are building their own offerings which involve private blockchains and entrenched incumbent advantage.
“All the Ethereum client companies see the need to agree on these building blocks and components and how they talk to each other, because if we don’t, then we don’t have a way to compete against the proprietary solutions.”
By releasing their stack at this time, the EEA are pitching themselves as the leader in the space and aiming to attract more large businesses to collaborate on the open source Ethereum network. There will be a testnet released in the coming months after the spec is released. While privacy on the blockchain is one of the main concerns for enterprises at the moment, EEA hopes to have addressed this somewhat with their inclusion of a privacy layer in the stack. Other ERC based blockchain projects like Enigma (ENG) are also looking to address this.