‘Boring Is the New Exciting’: How Baseline Protocol Connected With 600 Corporates

Baseline Protocol, where corporates can use the Ethereum public mainnet as a common frame of reference among different systems of record, has released its Version 1.0. 

Announced Wednesday, the Microsoft-backed project – developed by Paul Brody, blockchain lead at EY, and John Wolpert of ConsenSys – made the first version of its code available to contributors to augment, as part of the OASIS open-source project, clearing the way for standards development.

Baseline uses Ethereum only for hashing and ordering events, like a kind of middleware. The way enterprise blockchains typically work is by running data on-chain like a traditional workhorse database – a grave error of judgment, according to Wolpert. 

The protocol has seen prolific adoption since its launch in March of this year. Wolpert said some 20 or so companies a week are joining the 600-plus firms now using the protocol, with big names like the U.S. division of Coca-Cola recently joining. 

Wolpert is outspoken on the subject of enterprise blockchains and why “Baselining” is proving to be so popular among large corporations. 

“I think because boring is the new exciting,” Wolpert quipped. “We have been trying to shill this idea of putting data on these shared databases for the past five years – and I had a hand in that, too. Well, turns out it’s a bit like the emperor’s new clothes.”

“Baselining,” the verb, can massively reduce capital expense and other overheads, said Wolpert, while increasing operational integrity when automating business processes across multiple companies.

Thus far, several proofs-of-concept have been released to showcase how to baseline systems such as SAP, Microsoft Dynamics and Google Sheets. The standards work commencing will be coordinated with the standards initiatives of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance’s Mainnet Working Group, Wolpert added.

Baseline has also established a technical steering committee that includes EY, Microsoft, ConsenSys, Splunk, MakerDAO, Duke University, Chainlink, Unibright, Envision Blockchain, Neocova, Core Convergence, Provide and W3BCloud. 

The release of Baseline Protocol v1, Wolpert said, represents a significant milestone because it provides a set of standard interfaces for developers to implement solutions easily and for vendors to provide their own modules that comply with the specification. Official OASIS standards development based on the Baseline reference implementation will commence in September, according to a press statement.

“The protocol is at a stage where it is going into professional standards development,” Wolpert said. “Now people can really dig in and start contributing to it in a way that makes it is fairly straightforward.”

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