Technology Fridays: Intel Sawtooth is Another Blockchain Platform Going After the Enterprise

Welcome to Technology Fridays! As a follow up to last week’s post in which we covered R3 Corda, I decided to stay in blockchain land and discuss another rapidly growing platform in the enterprise blockchain space: we are talking about Intel Sawtooth.

Sawtooth represents Intel’s long awaited entrance in the blockchain platform market. Considering Intel’s footprint in industries such as manufacturing or the internet of things(IOT), blockchain technologies seem like a natural fit for the hardware giant. Sawtooth is Intel’s first iteration in the space and one that is clearly targeted to its core industries.

From a functional standpoint, Sawtooth can be classified as a blockchain-inspired, distributed ledger platform that extends traditional blockchain stacks with capabilities optimized for enterprise deployments. One of those key contributions of Sawtooth is the support for multiple Consensus protocols.

Proof of Elapsed Time or PoET( more marketable ;) ) is a Consensus protocol that follows traditional Nakamoto-style consensus patterns. Sawtooth leverages PoET as the main Consensus algorithm to very transactions in a large blockchain network.

Speaking of transaction validation, Sawtooth’s transaction processing architecture is, arguably, its biggest innovation from the technology standpoint. Sawtooth includes a very extensible transaction processing pipeline that includes several components. ChainControllers are the Sawtooth component responsible for coordinating the processing of Blocks in the blockchain. A specific type of ChainController known as BlockValidators is focused on validating Blocks and resolving forking in a blockchain network.

The process of successfully completing transaction is at the core of any blockchain technology. Sawtooth introduces the notion of Completers as components tasked with ensuring that transaction blocks and batches are completed before delivery them to the network. Sawtooh’s Completers use a sequential model in which a Block is considered complete if all its predecessors are also complete. Similarly, Sawtooth includes another component known as BlockPublishers which are responsible for final updates to the network.

Transactions in a Sawtooth network abstract atomic updates to the ledger but they can also be grouped into different structures such as Batches or Families. While Transaction Families model arbitrarily complex transaction taxonomies, Batches represent a group of transactions that should be processed atomically. this clever architecture allows Sawtooth to be applied to highly sophisticated scenarios.

Developers can interact with Intel’s Sawtooth via its API or the different SDKs available with the platform. The Sawtooth CLI also offers other vehicles for automating the lifecycle of blockchain applications.

Competitors?

Intel Sawtooth can be considered a tier1 blockchain infrastructure platform. Obviously, Ethereum remains the unquestionable leader in the space. However, competition is stiff with platforms such as R3 Corda, Hyperledger Fabric, Chain or even the intriguing Tezos achieving relevant traction in the market.

Written by

CEO of IntoTheBlock, Chief Scientist at Invector Labs, Guest lecturer at Columbia University, Angel Investor, Author, Speaker.

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