IBM Exec Elected Chair of Hyperledger Blockchain Committee

By Stan Higgins for 

An IBM executive has been named as the chairman of the technical committee for the Hyperledger Project, the open-source blockchain initiative launched late last year under the umbrella of the Linux Foundation.

Chris Ferris, CTO of open cloud in the IBM cloud division’s open technology unit, was elected chairman during a vote that took place earlier this month. The outcome was announced during a committee call on 25th February.

Representatives from a variety of mainstream financial and technology firms, including Accenture, CME Group, Deutsche Boerse, DTCC, IBM, Intel and JPMorgan, as well as blockchain startups Digital Asset Holdings and R3CEV, make up the membership of the committee.

In a statement, the Linux Foundation lauded Ferris and the depth of knowledge he brings to the project, stating:

“We look forward to his contributions and collaboration among other TSC members on open-standards and open-source development for this project.”

Ferris will now serve a six-month term, after which point another election will take place.

His role on the committee is notable given IBM’s enthusiastic support for the Hyperledger project, which formally kicked off in December. The firm later launched a suite of blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) tools, offerings that overlap, in part, with the Hyperledger initiative.

The meeting also saw a discussion of a joint proposal by IBM and blockchain startup Digital Asset Holdings. Up for debate is how the Hyperledger code could take shape in the months ahead, and how two different approaches to blockchain applications could be merged into one.

The proposal offers details on the nature of the discussions taking place as Hyperledger participants solidify the project’s governance structure.

The document states:

“It is clear that the [Hyperledger] community is split over use of the bitcoin model (UTXO). We believe that the community should be looking to quickly realize a single implementation in which the UTXO model and alternate model(s) – that provide a more elegant (and likely better performing) approach to satisfying more complex use cases – are equally supported.”

Members of the Hyperledger technology community are expected to meet next month. According to event minutes, meetings will take place over the course of March.

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