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What is Hyperledger Sawtooth?

Are you interested in learning about what is Hyperledger Sawtooth? This article will explain in an easy way and in plain words how does Hyperledger Sawtooth work.


Hyperledger Sawtooth Introduction

Hyperledger Sawtooth is one of the frameworks under Hyperledger umbrella of Linux Foundation, which has reached to a production ready stage. Sawtooth, also called as “Sawtooth Lake”, get noticed from initial code growth in April 2016 to 30 January 2018, reaching its mature stage of 1.0 of fully tested and ready for developers to develop their applications using Sawtooth API.

Hyperledger Sawtooth is a modular platform for building, deploying, and running distributed ledgers. Sawtooth includes a novel consensus algorithm, Proof of Elapsed Time (PoET), which targets large distributed validator populations with minimal resource consumption.

Sawtooth project initially came from Intel and is supported by organizations including Amazon Web Services, Active Ticketing,, Cloudsoft, Context Labs, Dot BC Media, Ericsson, Hacera, Huawei, IBM, Microsoft Azure, Monax, Open Music Initiative, PokitDok, R3, T-Mobile, and Wind River.

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Hyperledger Sawtooth Unique Capabilities

As a first instance, Sawtooth is an enterprise blockchain platform for building distributed ledger applications and networks. Its’s unique capabilities showcases the power of it.

Demarcation between application level and core system

One of the unique feature of Sawtooth is demarcation between application level and core system level, easing development and deployment of application.

Hyperledger Sawtooth

Sawtooth smart contracts provide flexibility to developers to code design logic in their contented language. Sawtooth provides a REST API and SDKs in several languages – including Python, C++, Go, Java, JavaScript, and Rust – for development of applications which run on top of the Sawtooth platform. Smart contracts can be written in Solidity also.

Hyperledger Sawtooth

In Sawtooth Framework, both type of application can exist in single blockchain whether it’s native business logic or a smart contract virtual machine. Transaction-processing layer creates design decision holding multiple types of applications on single instance of blockchain network.
As per business requirement, transaction processing logics are defined for each application/smart contracts, which are supported by inbuilt or customized transaction families for low level design.

Data model and transaction language are implemented in customized transaction families for their exclusive requirements, with core transaction families as models, for e.g.

  • Settings – provides a methodology for storing on-chain configuration settings.
  • Identity – Handles on-chain permissioning for transactor and validator keys to streamline managing identities for lists of public keys.
  • BlockInfo – Provides a methodology for storing information about a configurable number of historic blocks.
  • IntegerKey – allows users to set, increment, and decrement the value of entries stored in a state dictionary.
  • Validator Registry – provides a way to add new validators to the network.
  • Smallbank – is used for benchmarking and performance testing activities, to provide cross-platform workload for comparing the performance of blockchain systems.

XO is an example transaction family contained within the Sawtooth SDK. It is an implementation of the popular game Tic-tac-toe.

Private networks with the Sawtooth Access Control features

Sawtooth has solved the challenged of access control for private network, where bunch of Sawtooth nodes are deployed with each node having its own permission. All roles and identities are given access as per requirement for access to blockchain information.

Ethereum contract compatibility with Seth

Sawtooth-Ethereum integration project (Seth) is an Ethereum-compatible transaction family for the Hyperledger Sawtooth platform.

The primary goal of “Seth”, is to add support for running Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) smart contracts to the Hyperledger Sawtooth platform. In order to make this possible, the Hyperledger Sawtooth project worked with the Hyperledger Burrow project to integrate Sawtooth and Burrow EVM, into with the Hyperledger Sawtooth platform.

Now Seth, extends the interoperability of the Sawtooth platform to Ethereum. EVM smart contracts can be deployed to Sawtooth using the Seth transaction family.

Relay of events and transaction receipt Event system

Hyperledger Sawtooth has capability of handling transaction confirmation to client. Apart from this, user can subscribe for real time notification for blockchain events and application specific events by transaction family.

Parallel transaction execution

For confirmed execution at each node, blockchain uses serial transaction execution. As a technology enhancement, Sawtooth introduces advanced parallel scheduler, splitting transactions in parallel flows.

The parallel processing of transactions provides a performance improvement for even fast transaction workloads by reducing overall latency effects which occur when transaction execution is performed serially. Unlike the serial scheduler, the order in which transactions will be returned to the Executor is not predetermined. The parallel scheduler is careful about which transactions are returned; only transactions with do not have state conflicts will be executed in parallel.

Dynamic consensus

Upgrade or swap the blockchain consensus protocol on the fly as your network grows, enabling the integration of more scalable algorithms as they are available.
Sawtooth abstracts the core concepts of consensus and isolates consensus from transaction semantics. The interface supports plugging in various consensus implementations. More importantly, Sawtooth allows different types of consensus on the same blockchain. The consensus is selected during the initial network setup and can be changed on a running blockchain with a transaction.

Sawtooth currently supports these consensus implementations:

  • Proof of Elapsed Time (PoET), a Nakamoto-style consensus algorithm that is designed to be a production-grade protocol capable of supporting large network populations.
  • PoET stochastically elects individual peers to execute requests at a given target rate. Individual peers sample an exponentially distributed random variable and wait for an amount of time dictated by the sample. The peer with the smallest sample wins the election. Cheating is prevented through the use of a trusted execution environment, identity verification and blacklisting based on asymmetric key cryptography, and an additional set of election policies.

Supply Chain Case Study

key supply chain challenges

Product delivery

Supply chain management is all about providing the right product in the right quantity to the right place and the right time in perfect condition.


The globalization of supply chain brings concerns about the quality of products that are made in other countries. Particularly when components of a product need to meet regulatory standards. This puts companies at risk of recalls.

Capacity/Resource availability

The game of the Supply is to meet the Demand. Overinvesting or mobilizing resources unnecessary leads to the wastage and underutilization of resources. The owners of Supply Chain businesses face million dollars questions as to whether purchase, rent or hire additional assets or labor to be able to cope with the demand. It is often easier said than done.


Supply Chain Manager needs to have a good understanding of compliance. Shipping restrictions of cargo, embargo, special safety packing and handling requirements are a big challenge. Permits and Shipping documentation needed for presentation to the local ports, transportation regulatory bodies and recipients of the imported country are required to be declared in a proper order.

Hyperledger Sawtooth

Sawtooth Hyperledger Transforming Supply chain

Key support areas

Asset Tracking

Quantity and transfer of assets – like trailers, containers – as they move between locations.

Smart Contract Tracking

Smart contract tracking of entire documentation process with their scanned copies in repository like delivery challan, purchase order, tax documents etc. These Smart Contracts have capability to handle all legal aspects and transfer to assets to another party (in transit or final destination) with terms and conditions.


Certification of the the quality of goods and keep a track of condition during transact using RFID chip etc.

Information dissemination

Information of each stage of goods from packing, in-transact, unpacking, delivery to destination to receiver using active RFID tags with embedded GPS receiver.


Blockchain ledger with unalterable recorded transaction reduces audit requirement.

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About Sameer Khanna

In my entire carrier of 2 decades, I have been working on new and innovative ideas that can improve life in some way. My passion to solve large problem with simple yet effective solutions, had been key factor for implementation of successful strategic and innovative solution. I believe in learning from past, implementing it today and positive hopes for tomorrow.