What components do you need to build an Ethereum enterprise solution? Introducing EthStack
As we close out 2020, it is more apparent than ever that the Ethereum ecosystem has become a thriving and vibrant collection of technology components, platforms, products, tools and libraries that combine together to create a wide variety of solutions for both public and private networks. Not only are the core Ethereum components evolving, but so are the developer tools and independent software vendor (ISV) products that stack together to create synergistic and innovative solutions across vertical markets — from finance to supply chain to gaming and beyond.
When an Ethereum enterprise successfully launches a solution either on the public Mainnet or on their own private Ethereum network, they have accumulated valuable knowledge and experience about which components and products to bring together to create their solution. This is also a good place to note that in the Ethereum context, “enterprise” doesn’t necessarily mean a large Fortune 500-like company, but could be an entity of 15 rockstars changing the world with B2B and B2C blockchain use cases.
I have been working on a way to help provide guidance and input to enterprise developers and architects so that they don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel when building out Ethereum based solutions. I call it an EthStack (kudos to stackshare.io). The following diagram represents a reference stack of Ethereum technology components used by ConsenSys and others when creating and consulting on customer solutions. Clemens Wan (@clemens_wan) was instrumental in getting this to v1.0, and it pulls from several sources including the core Enterprise Ethereum Alliance architecture diagram. Obviously in this initial version not every currently available solution is listed for each category. Instead I tried to provide several examples of components for each, and will fill them out as we get feedback from the community.
Enterprises planning to build and deploy on Ethereum have different goals and different technologies already in their toolboxes. Some call these legos, especially in the DeFi space, but I like to think of them as ingredients in Ethereum recipes. Why cook from scratch when you can learn from other Enterprise chefs who have already cooked up delicious deployments, and then go purchase those same ingredients? This is the philosophy behind stackshare.io, and I think the open and collaborative model should be adopted by Ethereum enterprises as well.
i2i is an Enterprise Ethereum payment network whose goal is to drive financial inclusion in the Philippines through more accessible and more efficient domestic transactions. UnionBank worked with ConsenSys to plan and implement a project utilizing various web 2 and web3 technologies in partnership with seven local banks. Project i2i implemented Ethereum to create a decentralized, cost-efficient, real-time inter-rural bank payment platform that operates autonomously outside of existing payment infrastructures and intermediaries such as the Philippines’ PhilPass and SWIFT. Read the full i2i case study here.
My vision for 2021 is to create a collection of self-published EthStacks in a showcase of Ethereum success stories, and potentially a marketplace where the ingredients can be discovered and purchased or integrated as open source modules.
The Enterprise EthStack is designed to be kept up to date and future versions will include live links to all the components. I am always looking for feedback and input on the reference EthStack, and for technology partners to join the ConsenSys Partner Program to work together to bring complementary products to customers. Just like strawberries and shortcake