Behind all the jargon and buzzwords, a Blockchain is not complicated: a list of records called blocks, added to each other in a ledger. Altering the ledger from any point other than the latest record, breaks the chain. An easy way to envision it is to think of a long tape measure; rolled out from the base, the tape measure depends on the length to be precise. The numbers are recorded on it for everyone to see. Breaking the tape makes the measure useless.
How is Blockchain used on an enterprise level?
Enterprise level Blockchain is useful for more than mining Bitcoin. It makes a distinction from old networking in that no one member has all the keys and locks for network transactions. This decentralized nature opens up the flow of transactions leading to a more realistic flow of data. Because of this attribute, Blockchain is infinitely scalable and infinitely collaborative.
The Hyperledger Fabric Protocol (HF): More than Bitcoin
Most media coverage of Blockchain focus on mining crypto currencies such as Bitcoin. As such, the majority of effort has been given to the security and stability of those currencies. Yet Enterprise Blockchain has the potential to work with any assets with a numerical value, exchanging hands throughout a chain. Enterprise Blockchain will do to a consortium of companies what ERP did to one individual company.
Unlike public Blockchain, HFM requires enrollment in a Membership Service Provider (MSP). This layer of security ensures selected groups can access the ledger; they must be qualified and vetted. This allows for channels, unique copies fo the ledger for other approved groups, to add their own transactions the ledger in a collaborative format.
HFM and Healthcare
Blockchain in general, and the advanced HF in particular, is ideally suited for Healthcare. The distributed, yet controlled architecture, ideally keeps PII, inventory, and documentation safe and secure. The channelized nature allows different facilities from hospitals to small clinics to have access to patient data and track information, in a traceable and secure environment.
Private, keeps PII safe
Permissioned, members must be enrolled in a Membership Service Provider (MSP)
Open sourced to allow collaboration and better maintenance
Works with both private and in more open environments
Provides a level of maturity above standard Blockchain
Members must be enrolled in MSP before making transactions
Open source maintenance can be slow for smaller, less popular issues
HF framework is another layer of abstraction above the standard Blockchain