On 18th December 2015, Fortune and other mainstream media outlets broke the news to the world that Linux Foundation was leading a project to build a Blockchain that will be better than the one that powers Bitcoin. And that several technology companies and banking institutions have joined it in this endeavor.
The project, which has been dubbed Open Ledger, has Cisco, IBM, VMware, Fujitsu and Intel, among other major names in the technology industry, taking part. On the other hand, the financial institutions that have signed up include Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MFUG) and the London Stock Exchange Group.
Of course, this development is interpretable as another confidence vote on the Blockchain technology from the global business and financial sectors. It is also an acknowledgment from the same sectors that the Blockchain is going to play a significant role in different societal spheres going forward.
Indeed, Jim Zemlin, the executive director of The Linux Foundation, said exactly this on the unveiling of the Open Ledger Project.
“Distributed ledgers are poised to transform a broad range of industries from banking and shipping to the Internet of Things, among others,” he stated.
The Blockchain is a decentralized public ledger that is maintained by a network of independent computers. The system verifies, confirms and records data in real time. Even more importantly, ones a record is made it no one can change it.
Bitcoin is an incentive in maintaining a Blockchain
In the case of Bitcoin, those participating in this process of verification, confirmation and recording of data are rewarded with the newly created Bitcoins after every ten minutes.
It is not yet clear how the Open Ledger Project Blockchain is going to be maintained. Nevertheless, it is the kind of technology that many businesses, especially financial institutions find perfect to replace their old database systems.
Indeed, some commercial banks have already taken time to study the Bitcoin Blockchain, and some like Goldman Sachs have even gone a step ahead to file for patent rights on their own versions of it.
However, questions still linger on how much of the Blockchain these private blockchains are. It has been argued that, since they are centralized, they are nothing more than rebranded old database systems.
Is Open Ledger Project the real deal in the development and adoption of the Blockchain technology?
Of course, any answer to this question is hypothetical given that Linux has not done anything more than just a year-long research on the technology. The real deal can only be described when there is a working Blockchain to look at.
Linux Foundation is experienced in open source projects
It is important to acknowledge however that Linux Foundation has many years of experience in managing open source software and protocols. As a matter of fact, Linux is arguably the most successful open source software up until now.
Therefore, unlike most of those of those who have made attempts in developing blockchains before it, Linux Foundation understands how a decentralized and community built system works.
“As with any early-stage, highly-complex technology that demonstrates the ability to change the way we live our lives and conduct business,” Mr. Jim Zemlin has explained, “blockchain demands a cross-industry, open source collaboration to advance the technology for all.”
However, designing and developing an online system that is secure enough to carry valued data like what the Bitcoin Blockchain does is a different game altogether.
Linux Foundation and its collaborators have described the new Blockchain as lacking in the weaknesses of the Bitcoin Blockchain. Meanwhile, few specifics have been released. Therefore, it ‘s hard to decide at this stage whether this is the real deal or it is just another public relation stunt meant to take away the shine from Bitcoin.