The entire internet is built upon open infrastructure: this is a shared, open “commons” that we all use and that benefits everyone. We have many pioneers to thank for it, from the creators of the ARPANET and the designers of TCP/IP to the originator of the Web itself.
Blockchain Commons is the premier organization for creating open blockchain infrastructure. It was founded by Christopher Allen, who in the ’90s co-authored TLS, the security standard that is one of the crucial building blocks in the infrastructure of the modern internet. If you’ve ever made a purchase, sent electronic payments, or reviewed financial records online, you’ve used Christopher’s work. Now he’s leading a variety of projects intended to once more benefit the internet, including Bitcoin utilities, educational tutorials, and cryptographic developer libraries.
One of Blockchain Commons’ biggest projects is the Gordian system, which is a microservice architecture that allows users to act autonomously by connecting a mobile crypto wallet to their own full node and to other services such as a pricing server. Bitmark is using it as the basis of Autonomy, a crypto wallet that comes with its own private full node in the cloud.
However, open infrastructure is about not just taking, but also giving back, and that’s what we’re doing. We’ve already given support back to Blockchain Commons by engineering the GordianCosigner utility for Android, a simple app that allows the signing of partially-signed Bitcoin Transactions (PSBTs) from an airgapped Android device. We’ve also converted a number of cryptographic libraries to Java, and passed them on to Blockchain Commons for wide usage.
We expect that more will follow: open infrastructure can give great advantages to its participants, but only if we keep it healthy by each contributing back in return.