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QUORUM BLOCKCHAIN

Recent increases in security breaches and digital surveillance highlight the need for improved privacy and security, particularly over users’ personal data. Advances in cybersecurity and new legislation promise to improve data protection. Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies provide novel opportunities for protecting user data through decentralized identity and other privacy mechanisms. These systems can allow users greater sovereignty through tools that enable them to own and control their own data. Quorum has recently gained popularity due to its transaction finality and also for its function of being a transaction manager. Quorum blockchain is now the future of private transactions.

Privacy and Private Transactions in Blockchain Technology

Blockchain has received widespread attention because of its decentralized, tamper-proof, and transparent nature. Blockchain works over the principle of distributed, secured, and shared ledger, which is used to record, and track data within a decentralized network.

Blockchain is a digital ledger, type of a shared database that differs from a typical database in the way that it stores information. Blockchains store data in blocks that are then linked together via cryptography. As new sets of data come in, they are entered into fresh blocks. Once each block is filled with data, it is chained onto the previous block, which makes the data chained together in chronological order. Blockchain technology goes hand-in-hand with private transactions between both individuals and enterprises.

Blockchain technology achieves decentralized security and trust in several ways. To begin with, new blocks are always stored linearly and chronologically. That is, they are always added to the “end” of the blockchain. After a block has been added to the end of the blockchain, it is extremely difficult to go back and alter the contents of the block unless a majority of the network has reached a consensus to do so. That’s because each block contains its own hash, along with the hash of the block before it, as well as the previously mentioned time stamp. Hash codes are created by a mathematical function that turns digital information into a string of numbers and letters. If that information is edited in any way, then the hash code changes as well.

Also, we can't ignore the fact that every sensitive information holder has its own key, which is entirely opposite to the networking system that provides public keys to its user.

A hash of the private data is written to the main ledger, recording the data that was sent. The private transaction manager component is called Tessera and supersedes the previous transaction manager Constellation. Key new features include pluggable JDBC Database support, and the ability to externally sign and submit transactions. Tessera is provided as the default private transaction manager in all-new Kaleido environments, and migration from Constellation to Tessera

If a hacker, who also runs a node on a blockchain network, wants to alter a blockchain and steal cryptocurrency from everyone else. If they were to alter their own single copy, it would no longer align with everyone else’s copy. When everyone else cross-references their copies against each other, they would see this one copy stand out, and that hacker’s version of the chain would be cast away as illegitimate.

Succeeding with such a hack would require that the hacker simultaneously control and alter 51% or more of the copies of the blockchain so that their new copy becomes the majority copy and, thus, the agreed-upon chain. Such an attack would also require an immense amount of money and resources, as they would need to redo all of the blocks because they would now have different time stamps and hash codes.

Due to the size of many cryptocurrency networks and how fast they are growing, the cost to pull off such a feat probably would be insurmountable. This would be not only extremely expensive but also likely fruitless. Doing such a thing would not go unnoticed, as network members would see such drastic alterations to the blockchain. The network members would then hard fork off to a new version of the chain that has not been affected. This would cause the attacked version of the token to plummet in value, making the attack ultimately pointless, as the bad actor has control of a worthless asset. The same would occur if the bad actor were to attack the new fork of Bitcoin. It is built this way so that taking part in the network is far more economically incentivized than attacking it.

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Why Execute a Private Transaction?

There are many different dimensions when we talk about why there is a need for transaction privacy. Private transactions are defined, for the purposes of purchase and sale agreements, by the existence of a known, identifiable seller.

The transaction involves sensitive information that requires a blockchain platform or any permissioned network to make sure it's safe. whether a transaction in supply chain tracking in the finance sector or even in private contracts, it does need a supported server to function and record properly. There is multiple software that allows contract code execution but the safest one in the blockchain solution is the quorum network that not only supports all kinds of private transactions but also improvises the quality of security and increases the satisfaction of the client when compared to that of an enterprise Ethereum client.

The one reason why the private transaction is so safely executed in the blockchain and especially in the quorum network is that it uses a smart contract.

Smart contracts are self-executing in nature- they work according to the conditions already programmed in nodes. This eliminates the use of an intermediary and any third-person involvement in private transactions. It also is an intrusion-proof - it requires participant authentication from the client. This way there is no chance of fooling the quorum node or quorum network, and the private data also stays safe!

For example, Starbucks is also implementing Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain Service and Quorum to track coffee production. Also, use it as proof of work and greater detail of the transaction. The smart contract is also used here while performing the transaction. These features facilitate and support the company to manage the production and supply of coffee worldwide.

Understanding Transaction Data

Let's start with understanding what is a transaction in general.

A transaction is a completed agreement between a buyer and a seller to exchange goods, services, or financial assets in return for money. A sales transaction between a buyer and a seller is relatively straightforward. Person A pays person B in exchange for a product or service. When they agree on the terms, money is exchanged for the good or service and the transaction is complete.

Thus, transactional data relates to the transactions of the organization and includes data that is captured, for example, when a product is sold or purchased.

Now, there are multiple ways of storing this transactional data while maintaining safety functions.

The two of the major ways of storing data on a database: Analytical and transactional. But we would only be giving a detailed overview of the transactional database here as it is relevant to the topic.

Transactional Database:

A transactional database is a database management system (DBMS) that can reverse or scale back a database transaction or activity if it isn’t performed correctly. Though transactional database procedures were formerly a rare function, the preponderance of relational database systems now enables them.

Transactional databases are optimized for running production systems—everything from websites to banks to retail stores. These databases excel at reading and writing individual rows of data very quickly while maintaining data integrity.

Transactional databases are row-stores, which means that data is stored on disk as rows, rather than columns. Row-stores are great when you need to know everything about one customer in the user table since you can grab only the data you need.

A database transaction in a data matrix comprises one or more data-manipulation instructions and inquiries, each accessing and writing records. These transactional databases can extract and modify vast volumes of data on our private lives, preferences, and purchases.

Transactional data, unlike other types of data, has a spatial component, which implies whether it is timely or has become less useful with time. Instead of being the subject of transactions such as the consumption of a good or the consumer’s identification, It’s more of a standard order to describe the time, place, pricing, online transactions, markdown values, and volumes associated with that particular incident, generally at the point of purchase.

These databases are made for different industries, especially for production. Thus they are made of such network systems and operations that they support all the transactions in greater detail and allow them to sync to the main database if the implementation of the database is done step by step.

In other words, transactional data is data generated by various applications while running or supporting everyday business processes of buying and selling. A large and intricate web of point-of-sale servers, security software, ATM, and payment gateway data exists, originating from every possible device used to complete a financial transaction.

Given the sheer number of touchpoints, the resulting data is often difficult to read or contains unnecessary extras like letters, symbols, or numbers. A clean capture of transactional data is helpful for running downstream analytics, preventing expensive customer support calls, or tracking down the facts in fraud claims. It guarantees the overall safety of digital assets.

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What is a Quorum Node?

First, let's address the main question: What is Quorum blockchain? and how it is linked with blockchain technology?

Blockchain is a digital ledger, type of a shared database that differs from a typical database in the way that it stores information. Blockchains store data in blocks that are then linked together via cryptography. As new sets of data come in, they are entered into fresh blocks. Once each block is filled with data, it is chained onto the previous block, which makes the data chained together in chronological order. Blockchain technology goes hand-in-hand with private transactions between both individuals and enterprises.

Quorum is a variant, called a “fork”, of the Ethereum codebase; when the Ethereum codebase changes, Quorum will eventually get updated, too. A quorum was created by the investment bank JP Morgan and exists as an open-source project with contributions and focus from developers around the world.

Quorum is an open-source blockchain protocol specially designed for use in a private blockchain network, where there is only a single member owning all the nodes of quorum, or, a consortium blockchain network, where multiple members who are the part of quorum blockchain, each own a portion of the network. Quorum is derived from public go Ethereum by modifying the Geth client.

A quorum is a command-line tool that is a lightweight fork of Geth. Quorum is configured process that only allows connection from permission nodes, ditching the P2P connectivity. The quorum acts as a transaction manager - It takes care of the transaction privacy and ensures that the transaction data is encrypted during the process by storing the allowed access and other important data to a safe blockchain server.

In other words, the Quorum blockchain is a distributed ledger but it is not a decentralized network because node operators are all known parties, and quorum blockchain, therefore, does not use decentralized consensus mechanisms such as proof-of-work or proof-of-stake but do act as a transaction manager for private transactions in blockchain quorum.

In an enterprise blockchain network, it is common that some data cannot be shared with all participants. Quorum architecture provides a model where encrypted data can be exchanged privately between participants, and stored privately in an enclave of only those participants allowed to see that data. The same enterprise ethereum APIs and Smart Contract programming model of Jp Morgan are used to perform these private Blockchain transactions on quorum, as the transactions that are visible to all the participants. This enterprise blockchain has fault tolerance but is relatively less than the previous nodes of blockchain.

The quorum is further divided into two kinds: One which is an open-source project quorum, and the one which only supports private transactions.

"JPMorgan chase built the Quorum blockchain internally using the public ethereum network which has somewhat fault tolerance, the software that underpins ether, one of the most well-known cryptocurrencies. Quorum, which will remain open-source, is being used by the bank to run the Interbank Information Network, a payments network that involves more than 300 banks. The network and other bank projects running on Quorum will continue to operate using the platform, JP Morgan said."

Quorum is designed to be permissioned, meaning that networks using Quorum won’t be open to all, as they are in most cases with Ethereum. Because of this, permissioned blockchains on quorum operate with extremely different expectations of trust between approved nodes than permissionless ones, even if the architecture is roughly the same.

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Namely, Quorum’s permissioned chain is a consortium blockchain; it is meant to be implemented between participants that are pre-approved by a designated authority. Although consortium blockchains are somewhat redundant (blockchains contain protocols to establish trust, so using them among an already trusted group is unnecessary), their initial use is understandable as these institutions seek to test their ability of quorum. A consortium blockchain runs with the same features and protocols of a normal blockchain but maintains the failsafe of only relying on permitted node quorum. As a result, organizations can glean the feasibility of blockchain tech without the possibility of catastrophic failure or breach. The nature of consortium chains is designed according to the privacy protocols of private transactions required in the financial industry.

Quorum offers different consensus mechanisms that are more suitable for private blockchains. These mechanisms are listed below. RAFT-based Consensus: A Crash fault-tolerant (CFT) consensus model for faster block generation, transaction finality, and on-demand block creation.

Moreover, Quorum blockchain developed by J.P Morgan, became the first distributed ledger platform that was available through Azure blockchain service.

Comparing Quorum and Ethereum

Quorum blockchain and Ethereum are both the popular types of blockchain networks used commonly in open source project and other nodes in the blockchain networks.

Ethereum Blockchain network:

Ethereum is a platform powered by blockchain technology that is best known for its native cryptocurrency, called ether, or simply Ethereum. The distributed nature of blockchain technology is what makes the Ethereum platform secure, and that security enables ETH to accrue value.

Ethereum was the first blockchain that started to use smart contracts- fragments of Solidity code. Those contracts are called out by EVM, which is the core of Ethereum. Those contracts cannot interact with the surroundings and cant be activated without input, they only focus on external inputs.

Blockchain technology creates distributed consensus about the state of the Ethereum network. New blocks are added to the very long Ethereum blockchain to process Ethereum transactions and mint new ether coins or to execute smart contracts for Ethereum dApps. It doesn't support private transactions but is more of a public transaction network that depends on on-demand block creation by the clients. It is nonreversible technology where data privacy is really high because the data can't be altered after it is successfully entered and run in the server network.

Quorum blockchain:

Quorum is built off Go Ethereum, the base code for the Ethereum blockchain. It functions very similarly to Ethereum, but with four major distinctions: network and peer permissions management, increased transaction and contract privacy, voting-based consensus mechanisms, and higher performance.

Unlike Ethereum which is open and permissionless, Quorum is a permissioned (i.e. private) network. In other words, the Quorum blockchain is a distributed ledger but it is not a decentralized network because node operators are all known parties, and it, therefore, does not use decentralized consensus mechanisms such as proof-of-work or proof-of-stake. There are several performance advantages to operating permissioned networks versus permissionless ones. For example, Quorum uses raft-based consensus and Istanbul BFT (a consensus algorithm based on the Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerant Algorithm ), which has relatively more function and also contains cryptographic techniques with a block header to facilitate the needs in the tech industry.

Summarizing it into bullet pointer, we can say:

  • Private Ethereum blockchain is having an Ethereum client running in local mode with the non-default configuration of ports and connections. Otherwise, it behaves and acts like a regular Ethereum node.
  • By contract, Quorum private blockchain offers a set of services that is not available in a regular/plain vanilla Ethereum blockchain. These are:

Privacy

in plain Ethereum all txns are public. With Quorum, you have a new ability to send and receive private txns addressed to a specific node

Permissioning

in plain vanilla Ethereum, any new node that is aware of your private blockchain can connect to it given it has a matching genesis. In Quorum, you may configure your private blockchain to only allow connections from approved nodes

Consensus mechanisms

in plain vanilla public Ethereum you are limited to the bundled consensus algos: Ethash or clique. Quorum offers a set of additional consensus mechanisms: Istanbul BFT and Raft. These quorum nodes are designed with network speed in mind and by default can perform a lot faster than vanilla Ethereum nodes. “Faster” in the context of a blockchain generally means faster block times and faster txn commit.

The cooping mechanism

As go Ethereum is a transaction manager for all kinds of public transactions, it has a relatively slower and time-taking server network, while a quorum is faster and supports multiple transactions in a minute, making quorum the “enterprise blockchain” as people refer it.

Slowly and gradually as the development of quorum nodes is steadily moving towards the finishing line, we are able to now distinguish between both of these blockchain nodes that are not only different by their name but also by the functions it provides to other users. For the people who are not really familiar with the nodes of blockchain, enterprise Ethereum and Consensys quorum are not the only nodes available in the blockchain networks. There are others too, for example, Corda and hyper ledger. They also provide some similar functions but their implementation differs according to the types of data they support.

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Conclusion

Quorum blockchain and Ethereum are both the popular types of blockchain networks used commonly in open source project and other nodes in the blockchain networks.

This technology has successfully replaced certain systems of economic transactions in organizations and has the potential to overtake various industrial business models in the future. Implementation of this quorum technology has great potential of growing popular like other blockchain variants and models. Even though its development would take time, with enough time and resources it would lead the world to a better future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Quorum is an open-source Blockchain protocol designed specially to be in use for private Blockchain networks by enterprises. Quorum Blockchain is founded by JP Morgan in 2015 as an enterprise-ready solution. Quorum is the modified version of Ethereum, which is a fork of Geth (Go Ethereum client), which is the official GoLang implementation of the Ethereum protocol.
In Quorum a private and permissioned Blockchain protocol, so a single member owns all the nodes, as it is a consortium blockchain network, where multiple members each own a portion of the network. In Quorum the same APIs of the Ethereum Smart Contract programming model are used and a Quorum Development Company could easily guide you in adopting this, as they are better equipped to create complete Blockchain solutions for enterprise.
Quorum is an open-source Blockchain protocol created by JP Morgan, targeting specifically enterprises. During the development stages of Quorum, it was realized that web 3.0, or the future “internet of value” would bring huge changes to enterprises and industries. So creators of Quorum thought to inherit all innate qualities of Ethereum and developed Quorum as a fork of Go Ethereum (Geth).
Quorum acquires the qualities that an enterprise environment demands like privacy manager to support private transactions, and private and public EVM state so you can still use the same smart contracts that run on Ethereum. As a consortium and a pluggable consensus platform, Quorum supports all those Ethereum tools Truffle, Remix, and MetaMask flawlessly.

Quorum is an open-source Blockchain protocol created by JP Morgan, especially to be in use for private Blockchain networks by enterprises. Quorum is the modified version of Ethereum, which is a fork of Geth (Go Ethereum client), which is the official GoLang implementation of the Ethereum protocol. When we talk about describing Quorum we must say that it’s permissioned Blockchain. Like any permissioned Blockchain, it allows you to do value transfer, smart contract deployment, and execution.

Quorum is a consortium Blockchain too, as it allows only certain participants which are pre-approved by a designated authority. This is done so that any sort of potential threat of catastrophic failure or security breach is avoided. Generally, permissioned Blockchain doesn’t have any such restrictions. So, Quorum is not just a permissioned Blockchain but even a Consortium-based Blockchain which has many differences from conventional permissioned Blockchains like Ethereum.

 

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Checklist for hiring Quorum developer

Quorum is an open-source consortium Blockchain protocol with a pluggable consensus platform functioning as permissioned network. Hiring a qualified Quorum developer is not an easy task as the majority of Blockchain developers are well-versed in Ethereum, so there is a very less number of developers who are well-versed in Quorum Blockchain.

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