Ledger systems today are siloed and disconnected. Hyperledger Quilt wants to solve that
Hyperledger Quilt started over a year ago and is a Java implementation of the Interledger protocol. We talked with Adrian Hope-Bailie, Standards Officer at Ripple and Maintainer of Hyperledger Quilt about the problem this project wants to solve, its benefits, limitations and more.
JAXenter: What is Hyperledger Quilt and what problem does it want to solve?
Adrian Hope-Bailie: Hyperledger Quilt offers interoperability between ledger systems by implementing the Interledger Protocol (ILP), which is primarily a payments protocol and is designed to transfer value across systems – both distributed ledgers and non-distributed ledgers. It is a simple protocol that establishes a global namespace for accounts, as well as, a protocol for synchronized atomic swaps between different systems.
Hyperledger Quilt aims to solve the tough problem of ledger systems today being siloed and disconnected. Sending value to someone on a different network or ledger is complex and often impractical. Where connections between ledgers do exist, they are manual, slow or expensive.
The Interledger protocol is based on concepts dating back to the 1970s and 1980s, but it took the advent of Bitcoin and the global blockchain movement to make the world realize that money and value transfers could be reinvented with Internet-based technologies. Internet protocols enable information to be packetized, routed and delivered over communication networks. With ILP, money and other forms of value can be packetized, routed and delivered over payment networks and ledgers.
JAXenter: What are its biggest advantages?
Adrian Hope-Bailie: Hyperledger Quilt provides:
- A set of rules for enabling ledger interoperability with basic escrow semantics
- A standard for a ledger-independent address format and data packet format that will enable connectors to route payments
- A framework for designing higher-level use-case-specific protocols
JAXenter: How about its limitations?
Adrian Hope-Bailie: Hyperledger Quilt is focused on interoperability between ledgers for the purpose of atomic transaction execution. The primary use case is a payment that is facilitated by performing synchronized transfers across multiple-ledgers.
Quilt will not provide interoperability for distributed ledgers that offer more generic functions like distributed smart contracts. That said, we are excited to see how the crypto-conditions standard, developed within the Interledger community, could be used to facilitate functions such as cross-platform oracles if implemented on multiple Hyperledger platforms.
JAXenter: Will Quilt be integrated with other Hyperledger projects?
Adrian Hope-Bailie: The idea is that Hyperledger Quilt will become a ledger interoperability solution for Hyperledger projects and that is huge. This will enable Hyperledger members’ distributed ledger solutions, financial institutions’ private ledgers, IoT companies’ wallets, and supply chain systems to connect with one another to perform distributed atomic transactions.
JAXenter: Who can contribute to this project and how?
Adrian Hope-Bailie: As with all Hyperledger projects, we encourage developers to get involved and contribute. Hyperledger Quilt is open source and as such, anyone is able to look at the code and suggest changes. There will be repositories on GitHub to manage Quilt resources – they will become available over the next several weeks.
You can watch for them here: hyperledger/quilt and hyperledger/quilt-crypto-conditions. Developers can join our efforts on Quilt as well as other projects, via GitHub, Rocket.Chat, the wiki or the mailing lists.
JAXenter: What should people understand at this point in this technology’s maturation?
Adrian Hope-Bailie: Hyperledger Quilt adopts an existing code base that is not yet production quality. The work on the Interledger protocol itself and the alternative implementation, Interledger.js, are more mature. The goal will be to get the Java implementation up to speed with Interledger.js, as well as to introduce new, applicable ledger integrations for the Hyperledger projects.
For more information on the protocol and to get a taste of what we’ll be implementing visit https://interledger.org.