After being teased in mid-April from a London blockchain event, the day has finally arrived for the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) to officially announce its highly anticipated Ethereum business standards.
The Enterprise Ethereum Architecture Stack (EEAS) will serve as a guidepost for corporations, providing infrastructure tools and frameworks designed to empower the next generation of Enterprise Ethereum applications.
The new EEA specifications have been under development by the EEA's technical committee, in partnership with member companies, for the past year and a half. The EEAS, as well as a forthcoming "EEA specification," both take aim at improving business transaction speeds, building even greater trust between dealing parties, and enabling more efficient business models on top of Ethereum.
EEA executive director Ron Resnick told ETHNews:
"By making the EEAS publicly available, companies looking to build solutions based on the Enterprise Ethereum specification now have a conceptual framework to develop enterprise Ethereum solutions. The EEA's next major deliverable, the Enterprise Ethereum specification, will integrate concepts and technologies from the public Ethereum [blockchain] with the work [conducted] by the EEA to create the Enterprise Ethereum specification. This unified approach will ensure interoperability, multiple vendors of choice, and lower costs through competition."
After Ethereum component standardization permeates the Enterprise Ethereum ecosystem, the EEA plans to launch the new standards-based specification on an EEA testnet, where corporate Ethereum developers will be able to test EEA-compliant solutions and proofs-of-concepts.
Once the EEA testnet has been established, the consortium will focus its development efforts on what Resnick calls "an approved Enterprise Ethereum Certification testing program" – essentially a way for enterprise application developers to certify that their solutions conform to EEA specifications. "As a result of the testnet and Certification program," Resnick continued, "enterprise customers will have a higher degree of confidence in their vendor, plus will have multiple vendors of choice to select from when choosing Enterprise Ethereum compliant-solutions."
The new EEA stack specifications represent a major step toward realizing the long sought after goal of Web 3.0, known historically as the semantic web, because they ought to help companies realize some of the potential business advantages that were promised by the decentralized nature of the Ethereum blockchain. Furthermore, they will unite corporate Ethereum use cases under a common set of best practices.
By formalizing precise criteria, especially on technical levels, the EEA is following in the footsteps of other prominent organizations – like Standards Australia, the G20, the European Commission, and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) – in acknowledging a critical truth about distributed ledger technology (DLT) development: The sheer number of standards bodies thinking about big-picture implications, as evidenced by the statements they've made over the past year, lend credence to the burgeoning technology regardless of complications surrounding cryptocurrencies.
While the advent of cryptocurrencies has surely been a driving force in the popularization of blockchain technology, Ethereum has never been a project designed to create "cryptocurrency" as the world knows it today. Indeed, Vitalik Buterin himself has alluded to this. Instead, Ethereum has been about creating a new internet that is more aligned with what was originally intended before we ended up with the exploitative paradigm that exists now.
The Ethereum Foundation reflected these aspirations in its comments to ETHNews about the EEA's developments:
"The Ethereum Foundation is supportive of the collaborative work that has culminated in the release of the EEA's new standards. We hope that the work of the EEA and that of member organizations can bring about meaningful and innovative change across the various industries participating in the Alliance. Ethereum itself is a platform that can profoundly better both public and private sectors with the help of the brightest minds in technology, finance, and other spaces. Given these standards, we look forward to seeing how industries and organizations can utilize Ethereum to bring transformative solutions to life."
Resnick spoke to the complementary missions of the EEA and the Ethereum Foundation:
"The heart of the EEA's specification is based on the Ethereum Foundation's Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which is part of the Ethereum Protocol and plays a crucial role in the Ethereum system's consensus engine," Resnick said. "The Ethereum Foundation has seen the EEAS. While all the technical work is done by the EEA, the organization relies on the Ethereum Foundation to provide us with Ethereum updates and advancements that will need to be incorporated into future EEA specifications as appropriate."