Baseledger – A Blockchain for Baselining
The Baseline Protocol
The first step to understanding Baseledger is to understand what its core purpose is – baselining aka “The Baseline Protocol”.
The official (and somewhat technical…) answer to what the Baseline Protocol is would be:
The Baseline Protocol is an open-source initiative that combines advances in cryptography, messaging, and consensus-controlled state machines -- often referred to as blockchains or distributed ledger technology (DLT) -- to deliver secure and private business processes, event ordering, data consistency, and workflow integrity at low cost. The Baseline Protocol provides a framework that allows Baseline Protocol Implementations (BPIs) to establish a common frame of reference, enabling confidential and complex (business) collaborations between enterprises without moving any sensitive data out of traditional Systems of Record.
A more simplistic explanation could be:
Baseline Protocol offers a way for two or more parties to check that their data records match. This is done by using a public blockchain as an always on, always accessible and tamper resistant notice board (Common Frame of Reference) to post encrypted notes (Proofs) for each other to check so that they can verify whether their data matches – without actually putting any data on the public blockchain!
Why would you want to Baseline your business?
Businesses spend hundreds of millions of dollars on ERP (like SAP), CRM and other internal systems of record. But it can all go wrong when these records contain errors - failure to properly synchronize these systems between organizations causes considerable disruption and waste: disputes, lost inventory, inflated capital costs, regulatory actions, and other value leakage. Being able to reduce these kinds of issues can result in considerable savings in both time and money.
Traditionally, setting up systems that provide “a common frame of reference” is very costly and therefore unaffordable for all but the largest organisations. Advances and maturity in the blockchain space has resulted in an opportunity to address this in a more affordable manner – use a public blockchain (or Layer-2 network anchored to a public blockchain) as “a common frame of reference” provides all the key components of these expensive systems (always on, always accessible and strongly tamper resistant) at a fraction of the cost of existing solutions.
What is Baseledger?
Baseledger is a blockchain that has been purposefully designed for baselining – Specifically for the storing of the “Proofs”. After working on several proof of concepts with clients and relevant stake holders, a list of key requirements of the right “mainnet” were settled upon:
Transaction costs (need to be predictable and “low”)
Performance (needs to be “sufficient” and predictable)
Data privacy (needs to be addressed within a public mainnet e.g. GDPR)
Integration (needs to be ensured to existing ERP- and legacy systems “out-of-the-box”)
Business services (need to be provided: identity management, phone-books, registries etc.)
From these initial points, Baseledger was born, and the whitepaper was released in February 2021, followed by a public testnet in September 2021 and mainnet launched in Q1 2022. It is a public permissioned blockchain – which is governed by The Baseledger governance council (7 founding members - Consensys Mesh, Concircle, Finspot, Unibright, Iconic Holdings, SPO Consulting, Lakewood Consulting and Ventures).
Node operators need to be known (KYC), transaction costs are set at a constant fiat value, and it is a light weight and high performance blockchain due to its focus on storing “proofs” rather than moving tokens/cryptocurrencies. Combined these things ensure that enterprise is comfortable with using Baseledger from a compliance and regulatory view point - Enterprise clients do not need to hold, or worry about price fluctuations of, the underlying gas token UBT, as they are billed in fiat due to the predictable gas $ costs.
The storing of the “proofs” means it is future proof and allows flexibility – Hashes, ZK proofs, Merkle Trees and any future development in this area can be stored on Baseledger, depending on optimum client requirements and needs. Baseledger is described as a Layer 2/1.5 and for added security all proofs are rolled up and stored on the Ethereum mainnet.
Additionally, there is the ability to “tokenize” Baselined processes. For example, an invoice could be baselined and then exited from Baseledger as a “tokenized” invoice on another Blockchain such as Ethereum, Hedera Hashgraph, Polygon or whatever the client decides. This opens up a whole new area of opportunity for businesses – Enterprise DeFi.
Baseledger is something that any developer or team can make use of for storing proofs for their baselined processes. At the moment the most well known companies that are going to be building on top of Baseledger are the founding council members, but over time it is expected that more and more people and companies will build on top of, and contribute towards, Baseledger.
Want to know more?
If you want to find out more about Baseledger, or the Baseline Protocol then there is already a lot of information out there. The testnet has been running for several months, and the Docs include a "How to drop proofs on the Lakewood testnet" and a video on "How to sync two Excel-Sheets with Baseledger". There is also a video of some projects that Concircle is working on, and it includes a demo of using Baseleger with SAP.