Smart Permissions

Abstract

Supply chain applications require organization-specific permissioning business logic; however, existing distributed ledger systems do not generally include a mechanism for representing organization-specific business logic. This paper describes a software architecture and design for implementing such a permissioning system for distributed ledger applications using Hyperledger Sawtooth and WebAssembly.

Background

Blockchain and distributed ledgers are a natural building block for supply chain applications, primarily due to cross-organization data sharing with no central trusted entity.

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High-level description of supply chain applications on distributed ledgers.

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Description of Permissioning within supply chain applications.

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Describe smart contracts and transaction processors.

Smart Permission Functions

Smart permission functions (SPFs) are business logic implemented in a programming language, stored in a distributed ledger’s global state, and executed within a smart contract during transaction execution.

In some respects, Smart Permission Functions are similar to smart contracts, in that both can be stored on the chain, retrieved from global state as needed, and executed during transaction execution. However, the purposes are distinct.

Smart contracts implement business logic to update global state, and can generally be considered state transition functions of the form S1 = T(S0). Smart Permission Functions implement business logic to return a boolean result which answers a specific permission question: A = F(T, S0, P). This allows shared/agreed-upon contract logic which governs the mechanics of a transaction to be gated by a domain or organization-specific set of permissions. A typical usage of this is an organizational Smart Permission Function called from within a smart contract.

Implementation and Compilation

The Pike SDK provides an easy framework for implementing SPFs in Rust, including the SmartPermissionFunction trait. Other languages may be used for implementing SPFs as well, as long as they can be compiled into WASM.

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Provide an example SPF implementation here

The above can be compiled using the following commands:

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Instructions for compiling the SPF.

The resulting WASM file contains compiled SPF, which is ready to be submitted to the Sawtooth network as a transaction.

Storage and Retrieval

Smart Permission Functions are stored in Global State. The pike command is used to create SPF-related transactions, submit those transactions to the network, and view the current list of SPFs contained in global state. Additional user interfaces, such as an identity management web application, may be added in the future.

A Pike SDK provides a framework for retrieving and evaluating SPFs within the context of a Sawtooth transaction processor.

Evaluation

An application uses the permission system to answer a boolean question, “Is the current operation permitted?”, with various inputs:

  • transactor public key

  • permission-specific function parameters