What is Quorum Blockchain? Is it right for your business?

American financial services and investment giant
JP Morgan has developed a blockchain.
What is it and could it be the private blockchain your business has been waiting for?
Hello and welcome back to the Akeo Tech channel where business
and technology go together like a lock and key.
My name is Louie Procopio and today
we’ll be taking a closer look at JP Morgan’s Enterprise focused blockchain.
It is open source, it’s a soft fork of the very well-known public
Ethereum blockchain. It’s Quorum.
Here at AKEO we are fascinated by all
things Tech and how they are shaping the
future of business and money. Emerging
technologies like Big Data, virtual and
augmented reality and machine learning are all topics we will discover more
about here on the channel, but in due
time. So far on the channel we have been
focused on a different emerging technology that is distributed ledger
technologies or DLT as it is referred to
in the tech industry. Over the last few
episodes we’ve taken a look at a couple of different enterprise focused blockchain
solutions. Today is the third private blockchain we will be featuring here on
the Akeo Tech Channel. Having already looked at Hyperledger Fabric and Corda
which you can check out here if you
haven’t seen already. JP Morgan’s Quorum
seems like a good next step to take. Quorum like Hyperledger Fabric and
Corda is also a permissioned or a private blockchain. If you’re unsure
about what a permission or private blockchain is, then please check out this video here
before you continue on with this one. Don’t worry I will be here when you get back.
So without further ado let’s dig in.
Quorum is a soft fork of
the public Ethereum blockchain meaning the vast majority of the overall Quorum
solution is actually unchanged Ethereum
basecode. Some of the major issues when
it comes to using the Ethereum blockchain as an enterprise solution are
privacy, scalability and network performance. This is where the Quorum
protocol comes in. The primary features of Quorum include privacy – transactions
and smart contracts on the blockchain can be private
allowing fine-grained access only to participants that are involved in a
specific transaction or access to entities such as regulatory bodies.
This is of course alpha-omega for any enterprise blockchain solution as having
completely open and public ledger of transactions is not only unwanted but in
many business cases illegal in the eyes of regulators. Quorum features multiple
voting based consensus mechanisms which do away with the current proof
of work consensus mechanism used today by the public Ethereum blockchain among
many others. Quorum utilizes what is known as raft based and Istanbul
Byzantine fault tolerance consensus mechanisms. Quorum allows for peer or
node permissioning using smart contracts which ensures that only known parties
can join the network. And the last but certainly not the least of these primary
features of Quorum is increased scalability and network performance.
It goes without saying that this is a very important feature to have in any
enterprise grade blockchain solution especially one that is based on the
notoriously poorly scalable and relatively slow performing public
Ethereum blockchain. So how does JP Morgan and their Quorum developer
community achieve these features to get a basic understanding of how it works?
We need to take a look at the basic Quorum blockchain architecture which consists
of two main components. First is the Quorum Node – this is the soft fork of
what we know as the public Ethereum blockchain. Making Ethereum the
basecode and adding a thin layer on top
which allows for those important
modifications like using voting based consensus mechanisms instead of
proof-of-work and allowing transactions
and smart contracts to be privately executed.
The second component is known as Constellation – this is a two part
system in which the primary application is to implement the privacy features of Quorum.
So the first part of Constellation consists of Transaction Managers
that are responsible for transaction privacy. A transaction
manager stores and allows access to encrypted transaction data, exchanges
encrypted payloads with other participants transaction managers, but
they do not have access to any sensitive private keys. This is where the second
part of constellation comes in – the Enclave works with the transaction
manager to strengthen privacy by managing encryption and decryption in an
isolated way. The Enclave stores private keys and is essentially a virtual HSM or
Hardware Security Module which is an encryption method not at all new to the
business tech world. So to very quickly sum it up
JP Morgan’s Quorum solves the
privacy and performance issues that public blockchains like Ethereum
presents not just the financial sector but just about every enterprise use case
of blockchain. If you’ve been following along for the last few weeks then you
might be noticing a trend in the features provided by these different
blockchain solutions that we’ve covered. Privacy, immutability through coded trust,
scaling, performance, regulation ready. All
these issues are being tackled by these
different blockchain projects. But one very important question still remains.
Which private blockchain is the right one for your business?
In the next episode on the Akeo Tech channel
this is the question that I want to help you answer.
To give you the best possible comparison we are gonna hop over next week.
So I’ll be back in two weeks to answer this question.
One thing I do want
to mention now there are a lot of different blockchain projects out there
that we haven’t even began to look at. But, this channel is not really meant to
feature every blockchain project out there. Hyperledger Fabric, Corda, Quorum
are those projects that I decided that we should focus on and for very good
reasons which we will get into in a couple of weeks. All provide very similar
features but with very different architectural foundations
and very different communities of developers and support.
Which brings me to this week’s critical thinking question.
Your business is in the process of choosing a
technical blockchain solution. The two choices you are deciding between seem to
be identical on paper. What other important aspect of these two
blockchains can you compare to help you make your technical decision?
There it is feel free to start a discussion in the comments section.
This week there is no one right or wrong answer so if you are brave enough please
share with the rest of us what you feel, you would be focused on if you had two
projects that were exactly the same on paper what would you compare that?
Are you interested in learning more about how blockchain is being used today and
what problems businesses are trying to solve with this technology.
Then head on over to Akeo.Tech, where you can download your free blockchain ebook for business
professionals. Are you enjoying the
content here on the Akeo Tech channel.
I hope you are subscribe, like this video,
share this channel with your family, your
friends, your colleagues. Help us to
spread this valuable information, so we
can all do our part to assist in global blockchain adoption.
Thanks again for watching
I’ll see you in a couple of weeks when we take a side by side by side look
at what we believe are the top three
blockchain projects out there. We’ll be
comparing Hyperledger Fabric hosted by the Linux Foundation,
Corda supported by industry
organizations like Amazon Web Services
Intel and Microsoft and of course
JP Morgan’s Quorum
Thanks again for watching
Bye Bye


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