How the HACERA Team Won Two Awards at Consensus 2017 Building Blocks Hackathon
Lead by its CEO, Jonathan Levi, HACERA’s team of experienced technical innovators demonstrated their ability to integrate multiple blockchain technologies overnight and to win awards from both the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance and Microsoft. Their Dutchess application is a secure decentralized version of Chess on the blockchain that allows players to use ETH to pay for an unfair advantage in a sealed-bid Dutch auction. The entry highlights HACERA’s approach to integrating multiple permissioned & public blockchains.
The HACERA project incorporated:
- Public Ethereum accounts to transfer money
- Solidity for Business Logic and Smart Contracts
- Quorum (JP Morgan’s fork of Ethereum) for encrypting transaction payloads
- Sovrin for registering identity tokens and creating a permissioned and public identity chain
- Hyperledger Indy for implementing secure verifiable claims
- Hyperledger Sawtooth to provide a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) for security and auditability
- HACERA’s Self-Sovereign ID implementation (using Decentralized Identifiers)
- Microsoft Azure cloud deployment
The result was a mini HACERA-like workflow that provides a secure, auditable, privacy preserving solution that prevents impersonation (relying on self-sovereign identity) and offers a non-repudiation guarantee – with a playable fun game of Chess on a blockchain.
With this project, HACERA was able to solve a complex problem while touting its ability to provide tools that work on top of different blockchains, along with their expertise helping customers choose the right technology for the task at hand.
The HACERA team attributes their success to their broad expertise in the blockchain space (including early work with Bitcoin and Ethereum) and their ability to solve many complex use-cases with blockchain technology. In particular, Jonathan Levi has worked on numerous business use-cases in his collaboration with organizations from many different sectors in his capacity as Hyperledger Fabric’s Release Manager.
It is extremely rare to find a team so versatile and experienced in the blockchain space that it can identify the best technological tools and integrate them quickly to achieve objectives. Many teams tend to rely upon the small set of technologies they are familiar with, even when they are not the best technologies for the job. The HACERA team proved their versatility along with their ability to think different, in combining multiple technologies to create a unified and secure end-to-end workflow.
“One big challenge of the Dutchess project was connecting public and permissioned blockchains reliably and securely. There are many use-cases where parties need to interoperate and collaborate, and move data reliably and securely, both in terms of access control management (who can see what, who can do what). Service availability is also a major consideration, so users are not blocked or delayed at any point in the workflow. There is huge value in combining several technologies to meet the security requirements and challenges posed by use-cases that involve several parties. We think this is what the judges appreciated most by our Dutchess application and this is our fundamental philosophy at HACERA,” says Jonathan Levi.
If you are interested in checking it out, Dutchess is up and running at
HOW THE DUTCHESS PROJECT AT CONSENSUS 2017 ILLUSTRATES INTEROPERABILITY BETWEEN MULTIPLE BLOCKCHAINS
It is not everyday that one comes across a development team so versatile and experienced in the blockchain space that it is able to recognize that the best technology stack solution to a challenge may not be the stack that the team uses every day. However, this is exactly what the HACERA team, which has been very active on the Hyperledger Fabric project, did when it decided to compete at the 2017 Consensus Building Blocks Hackathon.
Overnight the HACERA team built a project they called Dutchess and won two (!) awards. The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance challenge to “use an Enterprise Ethereum Alliance stack to create a decentralized Dutch auction network with secret bid matching” and the Microsoft challenge to “leverage Microsoft Azure as part of your blockchain project.”
The HACERA team of Jonathan, Sergey, and Michael attributes its success at the hackathon to their broad experience in the blockchain space and their philosophy of focusing on understanding the situation to get the requirements “right” before jumping to propose a solution or a technology stack.
Jonathan Levi, creator of the first Ethereum course at Stanford University, founded HACERA in 2015 to create of the world’s first fully-decentralized system for securing and permissioning blockchains which includes managing the identity of participants (users and devices) and securely sharing sensitive data on blockchains.
There are many lessons that others in the industry can learn from HACERA team’s approach and the Dutchess project. “It is about time we change the mindset that advocates one technology stack as the complete solution for entity”, says Jonathan. “When we examine most real-world use-cases, these days, there are plenty technological solutions at bay. This is why we choose to integrate well, rather than re-invent the wheel.”
The architecture of the Dutchess project illustrates how different blockchain technology stacks can be specific requirements in different parts of an organization, such as finance and IT, while still facilitating interoperability between those stacks within an organization. In the case of the Dutchess, the team used Ethereum for payments, Quorum for encrypting transactions’ payloads, Hyperledger Indy for identity management, and Hyperledger Sawtooth for secure and audible Chess game (simulating a Trusted Execution Environment), and deployed it all on Microsoft Azure.
The actual challenge was working connecting public and permissioned blockchains reliably and securely. There are many use-cases where parties need to interoperate and collaborate, move data doing it reliably and securely, both in terms of access control management (who can see what, who can do what) and in terms of service availability – so that users are not blocked at any point in the workflow. “There is a huge value in being able to securely combine several technology stacks to meet the security requirements and challenges posed by typical use-cases that involve several parties. This is what the judges appreciated most in Dutchess, and is our philosophy in HACERA”, said Jonathan.
If you are interested in checking it out, Dutchess is up and running at https://dutchess.hacera.com