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Microsoft and Salesforce join the Hyperledger blockchain project

The open source research initiative is welcoming eight large organisations to its ranks

An open-source blockchain venture run by the Linux Foundation has recruited eight new members, including Microsoft and Salesforce, in order to expand its reach in the tech and open source community.

Beyond welcoming its new members, the Hyperledger initiative will also open up a focus on interoperability, cross-project development and broad community involvement. This is in addition to kickstarting a mentorship scheme during summer this year.

The industry heavyweights will contribute to the ongoing blockchain research efforts, now numbering 13 projects, and use the Hyperledger blockchain to develop apps in the future.

"Our new members illustrate the breadth of organizations that see the value of contributing to the Hyperledger community," said Hyperledger's executive director Brian Behlendorf.

"The mix of blue chip technology companies, international organizations, logistics and manufacturing players and academia that have joined us from point around the world show the widespread interest and investment in open source enterprise blockchain technologies.

"This broad-based involvement is what drives our expanding portfolio of open source projects, which are fully conceived, developed and advanced by the ever-growing Hyperledger community."

Of the eight new members, five are deemed large enterprises, and will, therefore, pay membership fees that contribute towards wider Hyperledger blockchain research. These recruits include Polish consultancy firm Gloscad, transportation company Milligan Partners, Russian mining firm Nornickel, as well as tech giants Microsoft and Salesforce.

The three remaining organisations will be deemed 'associate members' and are not required to pay fees due to their status as non-profits, open source projects or government-affiliated organisations. They include the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), the Ethereum Foundation and GS1 US.

"We are proud of our contributions to such a diverse blockchain ecosystem, from our Azure service offerings and developer toolkits to our leadership in driving open specifications," said Microsoft's principal architect of blockchain engineering Marley Gra.

"We look forward to contributing to the community's projects as well as initiating new ones based on emerging standards."

Salesforce's senior vice president for emerging technology Adam Caplan, meanwhile, said blockchain is fast-becoming a foundational technology for organisations.

His cloud-powered company has recently announced it will be launching a low-code blockchain platform with its customer relationship management (CRM) suite, built on Hyperledger Sawtooth. The Salesforce Blockchain platform is only available to select partners ahead of its release in 2020.

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