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Enterprise Blockchain

Why the EEA Stack Release is "Mission Critical" for Ethereum

Why the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance's architecture stack is a very big deal for both Ethereum and organizations all over the world.
by ConsenSysMay 4, 2018
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The Role of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance

Since its inception in 2016, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance has played the leading role in motivating interest in Ethereum as an application for utilization by the enterprise. Now, with the EEA swelling to over 500 members ranging from tech powerhouses (Microsoft, AMD) and foundational banking and finance institutions (Credit Suisse, BBVA, MasterCard) to governmental bodies, and scores of remarkable developer-led, blockchain-based startups, the group has entered the next phase by releasing the long-awaited Enterprise Ethereum Architecture Stack.

The EEA Stack: Standardizing Enterprise Blockchain Adoption

The EEA Architecture Stack represents a milestone achievement in building standards for businesses looking to incorporate Ethereum-based solutions. The stack itself is made up of components that standardize the construction of core blockchain, scaling, privacy, and tooling elements of infrastructure, and dovetails with pre-existing specifications laid out by the Ethereum Foundation, Yellow Paper, and the application layer of ever-growing dapps and smart contracts. The cumulative result is a comprehensive suite of tools that enables businesses and developers to experiment within a framework that is entirely interoperable with the Ethereum ecosystem-at-large, but modular enough to fit the unique needs of particular operations. For many businesses, this represents the starting whistle for Ethereum adoption.

The goal in the standardization of enterprise adoption of Ethereum technology is to enable the robust applicability of a proprietary solution with the vast developer and vendor base of an open-source movement. “Having multiple vendors of choice pretty much seals the deal for most organizations,” says EEA Director Ron Resnick. “Choice is mission-critical. Our goal is global interoperability. If all the players comply with the specification and certification program, we have a good chance of making that happen. That’s how we’re going to get volume economics and economies of scale.”

The current standard of proprietary blockchain solutions for enterprise lock organizations into the limited capabilities and business models of the singular vendor. “An open-source stack eliminates the reliance on proprietary solutions,” says Resnick. “There are a few of those out there, but they’re going to quickly become much smaller offerings, because we have a pool of 30,000 developers, plus we’ve now reached 500 members in the EEA. We’ve added 200 in 2018 alone and are still growing. If you work with an industry organization that has a standard, the end result is that you’re not locked to one particular proprietary vendor who basically controls pricing. And if anything happens to that organization, you’re stuck!”

The Enterprise Ethereum Architecture Stack

The EEA Architecture Stack will soon be available to the public for free download and educational webinars on how it works are forthcoming. The next step is establishing Certifications for EEA Member initiatives, and the launch of the EEA TestNet, with members sending RFPs to vendors to build solutions in a secure environment before launching products. The intended end result is a whole ecosystem’s worth of blockchain builders, delivered at the often fine and specific requirements of individual enterprises.

Blockchain Interest Across All Sectors

And the breadth of organizations involved reaches almost every space imaginable. “We’re talking organizations from all sectors, from aviation to outer space, media and publishing, telecommunications, energy, health, they’re all looking at it. Some lower hanging fruit is the world of financial services. The other is energy that is really getting active. And then, of course, the health industry. In social impact, there are massive movements for digital identity, self-sovereign, building banking services. There are only two categories for EEA members: One is developers. The other category is the customers of the developers. Within our 500 members, the good news is that we’ve got multitudes of both.”

While much of the fervor in the blockchain space is directed towards volatile currency valuations and blue sky mission statements, it’s the development of foundational infrastructure like the EEA Architecture stack that enables the most positive growth and large-scale user adoption. Now that the EEA’s immense and growing list of member organizations has the guidelines to build solutions in a manner that ensures the utmost security, quality, variability, and interoperability, enterprise adoption of Ethereum can enter its next phase.

What’s Next

Next, the EEA plans to release its first standard, a full specification for an Enterprise Ethereum Client. The specification will build on the Architecture Stack and provide vendors and suppliers a more detailed guidepost for how to build powerful decentralized networks while meeting the needs of many cross-industry use cases. Stay tuned for an exciting announcement!