What the EEA TestNet Launch Means for Blockchain and Enterprise

Discussing enterprise use cases for the EEA TestNet with leading blockchain experts.
by ConsenSysJanuary 16, 2020
eea mainnet

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) recently announced a partnership with Whiteblock Inc., one of the world’s first blockchain testing and development companies and an EEA member, to provide a testing environment for the EEA global membership base. 

As part of the partnership, the EEA will utilize the Whiteblock Genesis testing platform to manage and deploy the official test network of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. 

The Whiteblock Genesis platform provides an end-to-end blockchain testing and development software as a service. 

About The New EEA TestNet

The EEA TestNet will serve as a sandbox for the EEA’s global business community allowing the Enterprise Ethereum community to build, collaborate, and test next-generation Ethereum business applications. By creating a development and testing sandbox, the EEA TestNet will enable businesses to experiment with new ways to deliver customer value using Ethereum. The TestNet will provide a global and innovative testing environment without EEA members being slowed by the operational costs of typically associated with live testing sandboxes.  Additionally, early testing will prepare businesses to take advantage of the EEA’s Certification Program when launched later this year.

Interview with Whiteblock, EEA, and PegaSys

ConsenSys is a member of the Working Group supporting the TestNet launch and so we sat down for an interview with some of the key individuals involved: 

  • Zak Cole, Whiteblock CEO and EEA TestNet and Certification Working Group Chair
  • Paul DiMarzio, EEA Director of Community
  • Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director, Hyperledger and  EEA Associate Member
  • Dan Heyman, EEA member and Head of PegaSys at ConsenSys
  • Arash Mahboubi, Product Manager for PegaSys

Can you explain the importance of the EEA TestNet and how it will benefit the Enterprise Ethereum community moving forward? 

Paul Dimarzio: “The purpose of the EEA TestNet is to provide a sandbox, an experimental network, for use by EEA members. By working together collaboratively in the same test environment, companies can better understand how Ethereum technology works, and how to best integrate and build on top of it—whether that’s enterprise clients or applications running on top of Ethereum.” 

Zak Cole: “The EEA TestNet is provisioned on the Whiteblock Genesis platform. The value of this is that members of the EEA can freely participate, while having the support of the EEA Testing and Certification Working Group. EEA members can implement different scenarios on any particular cadence or schedule. Plus, the EEA Testing and Certification Working Group can iron out exactly what’s going to be required in order to develop a certification and conformance testing program, as well as the best practices for building and participating within Ethereum, from a business perspective.” 

Zak Cole: “One of the other big distinctions is the EEA Testing and Certification Working Group provides central coordination of the test network’s operations, enabling us to guide members collaboratively as part of the working group. So it’s much more than just a TestNet. It’s kind of a managed service, essentially.

Using the Whiteblock Genesis platform, we can automate test network processes and the overhead for managing the infrastructure of the test network. EEA members don’t necessarily need to run their own nodes. Instead, they can interact through Metamask or any one of the endpoints that the EEA TestNet provides. Businesses also have access to all of the data. Since it is a controlled test network, the EEA TestNet is able to observe every node in the network and collect all of the data efficiently. Plus, the collected data itself is granular enough to drive deeper insight that we wouldn’t be able to otherwise acquire through a public network.” 

How will the EEA TestNet spur overall adoption?

Paul DiMarzio: “The focal point of the EEA is interoperability; making sure that systems, products or applications can be built to interoperate with any other Ethereum-based system, product, or application. The TestNet is a great environment in which our members can work collaboratively towards achieving that interoperability.”

Zak Cole: “Just like enterprises looked to plan cloud migration 10 years ago, we anticipate that over the next five years, organizations big and small are going to want to plan their blockchain or distributed ledger technology migration. Because there are so many different use cases for different organizations, the EEA wants to provide the tools that help businesses and organizations understand the value of this technology. The EEA TestNet provides this resource, enabling businesses to better understand how to build on top of Ethereum, integrate with their legacy systems, and work within the EEA working group on how to build new applications.

By offering a constantly running TestNet using the Genesis platform, the EEA TestNet enables members to define their own scenarios, introduce their own nodes, and deploy Dapps. The EEA TestNet will also provide Metamask support and full data and analytics capabilities. Plus, Whiteblock’s established testing methodology and tooling bring proven to accurately test complex networks at scale.”

How has the EEA Testing and Certification Working Group helped Whiteblock in the production and design of the test network?

Paul DiMarzio:Members of the EEA’s Testing and Certification Working Group have been working closely together to build and launch the TestNet. Working Group members currently include Aion Foundation, AZHOS, BlockApps, Chainstack, ConsenSys, Crowdz, Fnality International, Intel, J.P. Morgan’s Quorum, Microsoft, PegaSys, Standard Chartered Bank, Wanchain, Web3 Labs, Wizkey, among other global leaders.

By streamlining the process of testing and developing scalable products, the EEA TestNet makes the process faster, easier, and more affordable. The test network provides a live, easy-to-use, automated production network where users can place network links between simulated nodes with packet loss, latency, and bandwidth constraints. In addition, it offers flexibility to teams needing to iterate quickly and also enables the reuse test files to ensure they can accurately compare results between test runs.” 

What are some of the likely use cases for the EEA TestNet? 

Dan Heyman, EEA member and Head of PegaSys at ConsenSys:The EEA TestNet is the next step in creating a thriving ecosystem for Ethereum-centric architectures. These solutions will deliver improved privacy and performance for a wide variety of applications, including digital identities, supply chains, financial industry platforms, consumer financial services and any industry that values some collaboration among competing entities. We are planning to test various scenarios that we are currently identifying. Some scenarios include public transactions, private transactions, permissioning, block validation, and the IBFT consensus mechanism.”  

Paul DiMarzio: “Potential EEA TestNet use cases include: scaling networks and implementing a network partition to measure and observe the fault tolerance of systems; running a variety of practical security tests – like simulating a 51% network attack; running load tests on smart contracts to measure gas costs and understand limits under a variety of conditions; seeing how a blockchain migration would integrate with an enterprise’s legacy systems; measuring the effects of EIPs or other changes; and replicating production networks to test the effectiveness of a disaster recovery plan. I’m sure our members will find even more uses!”

Will WhiteBlock Genesis continue to maintain and improve the EEA TestNet? 

Zak Cole: “Yes, and the Working Group is working on next steps to launch the Certification Program later this year that will ensure solutions conform and interoperate with EEA standards, thus building customer confidence and trust that customers get the results they expect.

How have Whiteblock, Hyperledger, and ConsenSys/PegaSys collaborated through the EEA TestNet process?

Arash Mahboubi, Product Manager for PegaSys: “We have been engaged and involved in defining the requirements for the EEA TestNet, identifying the touchpoints and areas of intersection of the various clients, and helping plan the stages of testing (peering, block creation and propagation, public transactions, permissioning and private transaction using private transaction managers)”

Brian Behlendorf (Executive Director, Hyperledger and  EEA Associate Member):We’re very pleased to see the EEA launch its TestNet. This will help accelerate the tie-in between EEA technical specifications and Hyperledger projects that were built to adhere to those specifications. For example, Hyperledger Besu, which works with both public and private Ethereum networks, is the first Ethereum client project available through Hyperledger that conforms to the EEA’s Client Specification. Making Besu available on the EEA TestNet provides EEA members the opportunity to test their own applications with what we hope will eventually become EEA-certified, Hyperledger-hardened code.

Who is able to use the EEA TestNet and how can they access it? 

Paul DiMarzio:The EEA TestNet is free and available now to EEA members. Companies can join the EEA today and collaborate with other industry leaders in creating and testing the next generation of Ethereum business applications. To learn more about the EEA TestNet, visit https://entethalliance.org/testnet/.”

EEA members are invited to get involved in the evolution of the EEA TestNet by participating in the EEA Testing and Certification Working Group. For further questions about EEA Testing and Certification Working Group meetings and schedules, members can reach out to [email protected] For help with technical EEA TestNet questions, members can reach out to [email protected].