IBM Employees Now Make Up 55% Of Hyperledger’s TSC; Low Voter Turnout May Be The Reason


Tech giant, IBM, now holds 6 of the 11 available seats on Hyperledger’s technical steering committee (TSC). IBM directly held 3 seats on the previous committee, but the tech firm has now doubled the number of its employees that sit on the committee. This places IBM in a position of powers on the TSC, and could see the company’s interests take precedence.

The announcement about the committee members for the 2019-2020 period was made last week and 6 IBM employees made the cut. Five of the employees are directly employed by IBM and one is and employee of Red Hat, a subsidiary of the giant tech firm. IBM acquired Red Hat in July this year and the firm has benefited from the acquisition by having a Red Hat employee as one of the TSC members. The committee’s chair will be elected next week and the new TSC will immediately begin executing its duties.

Control Over Hyperledger

IBM single handedly holds the majority of the seats available on the TSC, and this gives the company control over Hyperledger. Todd Little, a blockchain architect at Oracle, said that it is clear that IBM now has control over Hyperledger and questioned whether that is the direction Hyperledger wants to take going forward.

The new committee has IBM’s rivals unsettled as the tech firm could steer Hyperledger in the direction that benefits them the most. IBM has played a vital role in the growth of Hyperledger and the firm created the code for Fabric, Hyperledger’s most significant project.

Hyperledger’s TSC is responsible for the approval of projects, selecting working groups with a focus on technical issues, and reviewing any updates on Hyperledger. The control IBM now has over TSC essentially means that this company is in control of the duties assigned to the committee.

There was a low voter turnout at the election for the committee and this may have been a factor in the dominance of IBM on the TSC. Only 33% of Hyperledger’s members turned out for the election.

Hyperledger responds

Hyperledger, through its CEO Brian Behlendorf, said that the platform’s developers are expected to work as individuals and not employees of the firms they work for. He went on to say that they have received tips from Hyperledger employees in the past when committee members act in the interests of their companies and not in the interests of the consortium as a whole.

Behlendorf went on to say that only 160 of the eligible 600 voters cast their vote in the election, and that the results of the election cannot be changed because they are not what other stakeholders wanted. Any individuals that provides code to Hyperledger is allowed to vote and they can also nominate themselves or any individuals of their choosing.

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