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Enterprise ETH: Ethereum Pantheon Client Becomes “Besu” in Hyperledger

The Hyperledger blockchain consortium has officially welcomed Pantheon, an enterprise-minded Ethereum client written in Java by the ConsenSys-backed PegaSys engineering team, into its fold as “Hyperledger Besu.”

Accordingly, many Ethereum stakeholders are celebrating the development, interpreting it as another sign that the Ethereum community is increasingly positioning itself as having built the blockchain of choice among large enterprises.

Hyperledger Besu

Hyperledger itself is a consortium of enterprises spearheaded by the Linux Foundation that works on open-source blockchain projects. It includes the likes of Accenture, IBM, and Intel. The consortium already boasts a number of platforms that companies can freely build upon, including Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Sawtooth, and Hyperledger Iroha.

Pantheon, now Hyperledger Besu, will be the “first public-chain compatible blockchain project in the organization,” Ethereum co-founder and ConsenSys creator Joe Lubin noted on the news. The revelation comes on the heels of Pantheon first being proposed to be melded into Hyperledger earlier this month. 

The newly-deemed Besu will be modular and thus compatible with “several consensus algorithms including PoW, PoA, and IBFT,” as PegaSys team members Meredith Baxter and Rob Dawson wrote on August 29th:

“Besu is designed to be as modular as possible, with a separation of concerns between consensus algorithms and other key blockchain features, making these components easy to upgrade or implement. By creating clean interfaces between elements within the client (e.g., networking, storage, EVM, etc.), we believe enterprises will have a much easier time configuring Ethereum to meet their needs while also creating opportunities for other Hyperledger projects to integrate and use elements of Besu’s codebase.”

An Enterprise Year for Ethereum

Year of the DAOs? More like Year of the Enterprises.

Since January, the Ethereum community has seen its share of high-profile embraces from big brands.

For example, earlier this year JP Morgan — one of the largest banks in the world — and EY — one of the largest accounting firms in the world — respectively released open-source privacy tools for Ethereum.

For its part, JP Morgan created a modified version of Zether, a zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) system that allows users to conceal transaction amounts on Ethereum or other account-based smart contract blockchains, e.g. Stellar.

As for EY, it created Nightfall. Nightfall is another privacy protocol that formalizes private transactions on Ethereum, based on zk-SNARKs. Nightfall is compatible with the popular ERC-20 and ERC-721 (NFT) token standards on Ethereum, making them widely accessible for developers.

Taken altogether, the work involved is a lot of trouble to go through for these companies if they didn’t intend to rely on Ethereum’s tech to some extent in the future.

Not Hyperledger’s First Ethereum Rodeo

Hyperledger is far from being totally alien from Ethereum.

Last fall, the enterprise consortium revealed that the Hyperledger Fabric platform was then able to process smart contracts written for the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). As the consortium explained at the time:

“Contracts can now be written in [Ethereum’s] languages such as Solidity or Vyper. Along with introducing a new smart contract runtime, Fabric also has a corresponding web3 provider which can be used to develop decentralized applications (DApps) using web3.js. This new feature comes as part of the 1.3 release and is motivated with the goal to enable developers to be able to migrate or create DApps for a permissioned platform.”

Moreover, before that the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance — a group of companies collaborating on Ethereum projects — started leaning in toward Hyperledger. As Hyperledger stakeholders Brian Behlendorf and Ron Resnick previously said:

“For anyone who ever put a ‘vs.’ between Ethereum and Hyperledger, this collaboration shows it’s now ‘Ethereum AND Hyperledger… and we expect developers building Enterprise Ethereum-related technologies to be motivated to submit projects to Hyperledger.”

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