Ethereum Enterprise Alliance (EEA): What Is It?

Author: Okereke Innocent
February 11, 2021

 |6 min read

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Ethereum Enterprise Alliance

Ethereum Enterprise Alliance (EEA) was launched in 2017 to bring together different industry players. The aim is for these “players” to work together on Ethereum as an enterprise-grade technology. In the hierarchy of cryptocurrencies, Ethereum’s ether is right close to the top. Much of the potential of ether is based on the smart contract capabilities of Ethereum’s blockchain. 

Smart contracts allow different parties to conduct transactions amongst themselves using the Ethereum blockchain. These smart contract transactions are not only limited to the finance industry. For instance, we can employ the Ethereum blockchain to streamline transactions in commercial real estate. 

Despite the great potential and obvious utility of Ethereum’s blockchain to different sectors, mainstream adoption has been slow. The major reason for such occurrence is the fundamental disconnect between Ethereum and these corporations. These large corporations have constructed hierarchies and permissioned access to their information systems. Meanwhile, Ethereum is built on the philosophy of transparency and decentralized authority.

Therefore, to reconcile these two parallel perspectives demands work of an order of magnitude. The Ethereum Enterprise Alliance (EEA) is a start to reconciling Ethereum blockchain and mainstream corporations. 

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What Is Ethereum Enterprise Alliance (EEA)?

It is an association of Fortune 500 enterprises (Microsoft, JP Morgan, Accenture, etc.), startups, Academics, and Ethereum blockchain experts. Although these companies have different objectives, they are all blockchain enthusiasts. EEA is established to customize Ethereum for industry players. The core mission of EEA is to build, promote, and broadly support all Ethereum based technology best practices. 

What it means is that participants can develop their in-house private Ethereum blockchain. Also, if one member company makes a codebase on the Ethereum blockchain and it is useful to another member company, the code can be shared. The EEA has four visions, which are all listed on their official website. These visions include the following:

To be an open-source standard but not a product

Ethereum Enterprise Alliance will define open-source standards for the development and operation of Ethereum’s blockchain across all member companies. 

To address enterprise deployment requirements.

EEA will facilitate and control cross-deployment across its members for different business needs and use cases where they are applicable. For instance, if a member implements a blockchain-based KYC platform on Ethereum, EEA can assist another member in implementing the same when and where required. This will save a lot of development costs for EEA member companies. 

Evolve in tandem with advances in public Ethereum

The members of EEA will be making their private blockchain leveraging Ethereum technology. However, they can always get experts on the subject matter from the existing public blockchain of Ethereum. Therefore, both the public and private versions will advance together. 

Leverage all existing standards 

The Ethereum public blockchain was launched in 2015, thus making it 6 years already. Therefore, new blockchains formed by EEA in the future can leverage the standards of the old blockchain.

The EEA Membership 

Enterprise Ethereum Alliance is a collaboration of more than 100 members. Meanwhile, organizations with the mindset of developing and improving private or public blockchain are welcome to be a member. Before you become a member, you have to fill out an application form specifying your name and other personal details. You will be required to provide your company size and other relevant details. Once you complete and submit the form, you will receive a DocuSign document for the membership agreement and other information. 

Although EEA has many members, the founding members are Accenture, JP Morgan, Microsoft, Intel, ConsenSys, Banco Santander, Nuco, BlockApps, CME Group, BNY Mellon, and IC3. 

Also, members from other regions of the world include Mitsubishi UFJ, Samsung SDS, Toyota Research Institute, National Bank of Canada, etc.

How Does Ethereum Enterprise Alliance Our Work?

Before the launch of EEA, many technology giants and businesses had been offering support to Ethereum through cloud services. However, most of the efforts toward’s Ethereum’s scalability, privacy, and interoperability remained scattered until the advent of EEA.  

The alliance aims to build, promote, and support all Ethereum blockchain best practices and standards. EEA also aims to develop a reference architecture with the capability of handling its real-world applications and usage. Ethereum as a blockchain system was launched in 2015. Ethereum blockchain enabled the building and running of smart contracts and distributed applications (Dapps) without downtime, fraud, or interference. 

Meanwhile, Ethereum is not just a platform; it is also a programming language (Turing complete) that runs on blockchain. It helps developers to build and publish distributed applications. There are various ways to apply Ethereum, so Ethereum has attracted many enterprises to explore the technology.

Consensus Algorithm 

Enterprise Ethereum Clients implement at least the Clique Proof of Authority Consensus Algorithm. Most clients implement more than one consensus algorithm, and clients that also operate on Mainnet will need to implement EthHash. The Our Working Group expects to agree on a Byzantine Fault Tolerant consensus algorithm as an additional implementation requirement for Enterprise Ethereum Client. The consensus algorithm implementaion should ve modular and configurable. 

Permissioning Requirements  

Ethereum Ethereum clinets might support local key management allowing users to secure their private keys. Clients might also support secure interaction with an external key management system for key generation and secure storage. The alliance aims to build, promote, and support all Ethereum blockchain best practices and standards. EEA also aims to develop a reference archhitecture with the capability of handling its real world applications and usage. Ethereum as a blockchain system was launched in 2015. Ethereum blockchain enabled the building and running of smart contracts and distributed applications (Dapps) without downtine, fraud, or interference. 

With EEA, you can send private transactions. These are transactions where thye metadata or payload data are readable only by parties participating in those transactions. Meahwhile, Ethereum is not just a platform; it is also a programming language (Turing complete) that runs on blockchain. It helps developers to build and publish distributed applications. There are various ways to apply Ethereum, so Ethereum has attracted many enterprises to explore the technology. 

Some Real-Life Our Works Done By Ethereum Enterprise Alliance

Since the launch of EEA in 2017, multiple pilot projects have been initiated and worked on by member companies. These pilot projects cover areas like supply chain provenance tracking, inter-bank payments, reference data, securities settlement, and many others. 

However, real-world enterprise use demands collaborative efforts to build systems that allow both permissioned and public Ethereum networks. The establishment of EEA is an essential step to achieving this goal. EEA also educates and trains its members, publishes newsletters, releases videos and webinars as part of its public service mission. 

Does EEA Have Any Rival?

Yes, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance is not the only one trying to standardize blockchain development and deployment. The rivals include the likes of IBM’s Hyperledger and R3 Corda. 

  • Hyperledger is an open-source, multi-project collaborative effort that is hosted by the Linux Foundation. The aim is to advance cross-industry blockchain technology use cases. 
  • R3cev is an innovative blockchain firm that is focused on developing and empowering the next generation of global financial service technology. 

Although EEA is the youngest amongst them, its future looks promising as it keeps gaining huge support. Since the day it was launched, EEA has more tripled in size. 

Conclusion 

Ethereum Enterprise Alliance is undoubtedly a great body, but time will tell if it will flourish or flounder. Also, Ethereum’s blockchain has to overcome many roadblocks (technical and regulatory) to become fully functional for business transactions. Alliances like EEA will surely help smoothen Ethereum’s road to mainstream adoption.

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