Former Ethereum Co-Founder, Founder of Cardano and CEO of IOHK, Charles Hoskinson, announced the launch of an enterprise blockchain framework that aims to provide financial services to billions of people living in African countries.
Known as “Atala” (named after a butterfly that resides in Florida), IOHK’s framework is intended to serve as a solutions provider for developers, companies and governments looking to implement new products.
Atala is an enterprise framework similar to Hyperledger Fabric. However, the point is to be a solutions provider for governments in need of a municipal currency or a supply chain management system. This requires a type of framework that serves as libraries and modules that would allow governments to rapidly build a product for end users,” Hoskinson told me.
While Atala is similar to the open-source blockchain framework, Hyperledger Fabric, which is used by IBM Blockchain, the solution takes a different approach by focusing less on fortune 500 companies and more on governments in developing countries. The framework has been built from the ground up, for real-world use cases such as property registration, voting systems, and supply chain management. Moreover, unlike other enterprise blockchain frameworks that are cryptocurrency neutral, Atala focuses on digital currency adoption.
According to Hoskinson, Atala will first be used in collaboration with the government of Ethiopia to develop a new cryptocurrency to provide a secure and dependable means of payment for the nation’s capital.
While we have several MoUs signed, the most prominent of which we are going to build is a utility currency for Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. We are working with the Ethiopian government to create a new digital payments system that will allow six million users to pay their power and electric bills with cryptocurrency. We want to eventually combine this with an identity card,” said Hoskinson.
While Ethiopia’s government will be one of the first to use Atala, the framework will also be introduced in other African countries that lack legacy infrastructure, with a focus of enabling a new smart economy. Additionally, Hoskinson noted that Atala will service other enterprise industries seeking blockchain adoption.
“We are trying to find the correct product market fit at this time, but I can also say that we have signed an MoU with a major shoe maker for anti-counterfeiting,” Hoskinson revealed.
Solving The Problem Of Blockchain Interoperability
Another primary goal of Atala is to seamlessly move user value between different blockchains. Currently, blockchain systems lack interoperability, which Hoskinson believes to be problematic, especially for enterprises.
There needs to be more of a discussion about blurring the line between a permissioned ledger, enterprise ledger and a permissionless system. We need to talk about this as one spectrum and seamlessly move user value between the two. For instance, you don’t want to alert users that they are leaving the Cardano blockchain and entering Ethereum – you just want them to have a seamless experience. What we need is focus on moving data, actors and value between these systems so users can move between an exchange and open ledger.”
Moreover, Hoskinson noted that blockchain interoperability is needed in order to facilitate mass adoption of the technology. For example, IOHK is looking at developing new tracking and traceability solutions for Ethiopia’s agricultural supply chain. However, blockchain interoperability is an important element required.
The only way we can get 15 million farmers in Ethiopia into a cryptocurrency like system is to first get them into a supply chain system. The farmers need to be in a supply chain system to adhere to international mandates. Many of these people have no desire to use cryptocurrency, but once they are in a supply chain, they are in a network. And if that is interoperable with Cardano, for instance, we can build a product that can touch 15 million people,” Hoskinson said.