Interview with Kelly Olson, Hyperledger Sawtooth maintainer

Blockchain development made easy: Getting started with Hyperledger Sawtooth

Gabriela Motroc
Hyperledger Sawtooth
© Shutterstock / Abscent

Our ‘Blockchain development made easy’ series continues with Hyperledger Sawtooth, a modular platform for building, deploying, and running distributed ledgers. What are the advantages and how can developers get started with it? We talked to Kelly Olson, Hyperledger Sawtooth maintainer about what’s under this project’s hood.

JAXenter: Hyperledger Sawtooth is extremely modular; what is the purpose of that? What’s the endgame?

Kelly Olson: The blockchain industry is still nascent and new innovations are happening every day. Many blockchain stacks are created as monolithic structures which make it difficult to adopt these new technologies. Sawtooth supports two key areas of modularity:

  1. consensus algorithms and
  2. smart contracts.

Consensus algorithms are a continued area of research and each algorithm has unique characteristics with regard to latency, throughput, and security. Sawtooth’s consensus engine design enables new algorithms to be used as they are released. Currently Sawtooth supports five consensus algorithms:

  1. developer mode
  2. PoET-CFT
  3. PoET-SGX
  4. raft and
  5. PBFT.

On the smart contract front, Sawtooth enables developers to use existing programming languages and new smart contract specific languages. This means that developers can deploy their business logic using languages like Python, Java, and RUST, or new smart contract engines like the EVM or WebAssembly.

SEE ALSO: Making smart contracts safe with Hyperledger Sawtooth

What’s so special about Sawtooth? How can it make businesses safer? 

Kelly Olson: Sawtooth builds on the security and battle-hardened nature of traditional blockchain architectures like Bitcoin or Ethereum. It extends upon these platforms by adding features required for enterprises, like permissioning capabilities, that enable companies to restrict access to the blockchain infrastructure.

What are the advantages of using Hyperledger Sawtooth? 

Kelly Olson: Here are some of the unique features of Sawtooth.

What’s the difference between Hyperledger Sawtooth and Fabric? 

Kelly Olson: Sawtooth is a traditional blockchain architecture that differs from Fabric’s endorser/orderer architecture.

What is the most suitable use case for Hyperledger Sawtooth? 

Kelly Olson: Sawtooth is used for a variety of industries/use cases. These include supply chain, telecom, healthcare, and more. Here are some examples of applications being built on Sawtooth.

Sawtooth is a traditional blockchain architecture.

Is Hyperledger Sawtooth a good fit for IoT applications?

Kelly Olson: Blockchains, at the end of the day, are new types of databases that can get transactions/data from a variety of sources, including IoT devices. Sawtooth has a supply chain track and trace application that supports telemetry data from IoT sensors like temperature, humidity, and location.

What’s next for Hyperledger Sawtooth? 

Kelly Olson: Sawtooth 1.1 will be out in the next month, and 1.2 towards the end of the year. I can’t release details yet but look out for more information on!

Thank you!


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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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