Interview with the Hyperledger Project's first executive director

Apache Foundation founder joins Hyperledger Project as executive director

Gabriela Motroc
Brian Behlendorf

The Hyperledger Project has a new leader. Brian Behlendorf, the founder of the Apache Software Foundation and this initiative’s first executive director, spoke with about his new role, what the future holds for the Hyperledger Project and what it’s like to work with the industry’s most appreciated people.

Brian Behlendorf, the founder of the Apache Software Foundation joins the Hyperledger Project as executive director. He will report directly to the Linux Foundation’s executive director Jim Zemlin and to the board of directors. Before he became the Hyperledger Project ‘s first executive director, Brian was the managing director of Mithril Capital Management LLC, a technology investment firm.

JAXenter: One of your main tasks is to steer this open source project into the right direction and help it move to the next level. What does “next level” mean in this scenario?

Brian Behlendorf: The project is still in its early days.  We will be focusing on honing the various contributions down to a shippable product, expanding the range of plug-ins and use cases, and growing the developer and user community.

[The Hyperledger Project] is an Open Source project in code and process and spirit.

JAXenter: It seems that the Hyperledger Project is gathering the industry’s greatest people. How do you feel among giants such as Sam Ramji, formerly of Microsoft’s open source office, now running Cloud Foundry Foundation, and Chris Aniszczyk, formerly of Twitter, now running Open Container Initiative, Cloud Native Computing Foundation?

Brian Behlendorf: It’s great to be here.  Sam and Chris, Jim Zemlin and his operations team, Linus and his lieutenants – these are all great people to be sharing a virtual office with, and all of us are driven by the same goal of building great open software.

JAXenter: Where is the Hyperledger Project heading? What should we expect?

Brian Behlendorf: This is an Open Source project in code and process and spirit.  The roadmap, schedule, and product design still need time to emerge, and it will all depend on who shows up to the project.  The energy and interest in the project is growing, and everyone is eager to get to a shippable product soon.  But it’s important to take the time to get the architecture right, to decide on the most important use cases to address, and make sure the community is collaborating the right way.

There is no doubt in my mind that blockchain technologies will have a major impact on any sector.

JAXenter: IBM’s Jerry Cuomo recently said that blockchain may cause a “tectonic shift” in the way financial systems are secured. Do you agree with his statement? Should we get on the blockchain bandwagon?

Brian Behlendorf: There is no doubt in my mind that blockchain technologies will have a major impact on any sector, like financial services, that makes intensive use of digital transactions.  It’s hard to think of a major industry that couldn’t be significantly affected.  There are lots of projects and companies exploring the set of possibilities.  The good news is that there are plenty of advocates out there for the vision – we, in the project can focus on building a common software platform for all of them.

SEE ALSO: IBM believes blockchain could become the cradle of internet transactions

JAXenter: What are the challenges of blockchain and how are you planning on solving them?

Brian Behlendorf: There are several aspects that vary with this kind of technology.  What is your consensus mechanism?  What sort of container and language do you want for your smart contracts?  Those are fun problems with lots of room for creativity.  Then there are the hard, if boring, problems of shipping production-quality, trustworthy code; of providing a great initial experience for developers; of having sufficient documentation and training to bring new users up the learning curve.  These are all essential, even to Open Source software.  Perhaps especially with Open Source software!

Thank you very much!

Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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