My name is Bob Summerwill and I have been working to build bridges in the enterprise blockchain community since 2016. I will be running for election to the Hyperledger Technical Steering Committee (TSC) this August and I would truly appreciate your support.
This is the first in a series of posts where I will introduce myself, talk about what I bring to the table for the Hyperledger TSC and explain why I am so passionate about the potential business and social impact of blockchain and other decentralization technologies.
You can read more about me at my website.
I was working at the Ethereum Foundation when the Hyperledger project was first announced, and I was curious to understand exactly what the project was aiming to achieve and how it related to our work on Ethereum. I soon found that we were fellow travellers and I started working to try to bring the communities together.
Vitalik Buterin presented to the Hyperledger TSC in April 2016 on possible options for integrating Ethereum into the Hyperledger codebases. The Hyperledger Burrow EVM was finally integrated with Sawtooth late last year (Seth) and then integrated with Hyperledger Fabric, as demonstrated by IBM on the show floor at Consensus 2018 this May 🙂
First, Buterin suggested that the group of companies and startups could continue to use that fabric’s account model while running the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) as an option for computation.
“Keep the way that you’re doing things exactly the way that you’re doing them right now with regards to the account model,” said Buterin. “Give people multiple ways to enter into agreements.”
In May 2016 I was attending OSCON in Austin. There was no blockchain content at the conference and it was too late to propose any talks, so I organized a FOSS Blockchain Meetup outside the conference. I invited all of the local blockchain-related Meetups, the IBM Blockchain Lab and conference attendees. I was lucky enough that Chris Ferris was able to attend and present about Hyperledger.
Brian Behlendorf was also at the Meetup in stealth mode, before being announced as the Executive Director of Hyperledger the next morning. I met him for lunch on his first day on the job, and we talked about my plans to lead an attempt to relicense cpp-ethereum as Apache 2.0 so that it could be contributed to Hyperledger and we could bridge the communities. That was a process which continued for the next five months, but ultimately failed.
In October 2016, following the failure of that re-licensing attempt I joined ConsenSys to work on an alternative approach towards similar enterprise goals, where I was a key participant in the creation of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA). I worked on that project for a year, through its inception, launch and early operational stages. I was co-presenter on the Technical Roadmap at the launch event, spoke again at the EEA event at Consensus 2017, was Secretary of the Technical Working Group and then Vice-Chair of the Technical Steering Committee.
I first started programming in 1984, when I was 10 years old. I was first paid for my code when I was 16, for a “Quarry Game” I built while on work experience at a slate quarry. I have worked as a professional software engineer since 1996, with 18 years of AAA videogames (mainly EA Sports, including my appointment as the first Chair of the Architecture Council and Software Architect for EA Sports, plus TD Securities) followed by 4 years of blockchain (mainly Ethereum).
I was also involved in the recent reboot of the Vancouver Hyperledger Meetup, where I spoke on “What is Hyperledger?”
I was delighted to catch up with Brian and Chris again in person recently at Consensus 2018 in New York, and to see that many of my dreams of 2016 are coming to fruition. I also met with Ron Resnick, the Executive Director of the EEA, and with Richard Gendal Brown of R3. We all have so many common goals.
Stay tuned for my next Hyperledger TSC blog post.