The Baseline Protocol is an open source initiative that combines advances in cryptography, messaging, and blockchain to deliver secure and private business processes at low cost using the public Mainnet for event ordering, data consistency and workflow integrity. The protocol will enable confidential and complex collaboration between enterprises without moving any sensitive data from traditional systems of record. The work is governed by the Ethereum-Oasis Project, which is managed by OASIS.
The current v0.1 release of the protocol code can be found here.
Businesses spend hundreds of millions of dollars on ERP, CRM and other internal systems of record. Failure to properly synchronize these systems between organizations causes considerable disruption and waste: disputes, lost inventory, inflated capital costs, regulatory actions, and other value leakage. To avoid these problems, systems require a common frame of reference. But only the largest high-volume partnerships can afford the capital expense involved in setting up such integrations. The baseline approach employs the public Ethereum Mainnet as that common frame of reference, because it’s always on, companies can’t be locked out or restricted from using it, and they only need to pay for what they use.
However, past approaches to blockchain technology have had difficulty meeting the highest standards of privacy, security and performance required by corporate IT departments. Overcoming these issues is the goal of the Baseline Protocol.
The high level description and specification for a global public Mainnet are here. And while it is the point of view of many in the Baseline Protocol community that the Ethereum public network is the likely best candidate to serve the function of being the lowest-level common frame of reference for distributed systems, it should be observed that the requirements, not any particular formulation or named service today, are the essential thing. That said, if there is a platform that better matches these specs today, and is more likely to evolve from a position of critical mass (achieved by Ethereum at a key historical moment in 2015) to meet the world's expanding use of it, that platform should step up now.
The Baseline Protocol can perform its core tasks on the current public Ethereum network at a rate that is reasonably expected to be sufficient for work in supply chain, B2B contracting, CRM, and other domains that involve coordinating records between legally separate entities.
Eth2 will further extend the range of applications that baselining can serve at acceptable levels of performance and reliability. The Baseline Protocol community will align closely with Eth2 and work through the EEA Mainnet Working Group to supply the Ethereum core developer community with ideas, user stories and requirements to help see Eth2 evolve into a platform well-suited to baselining.
Some providers of ERP, CRM and other enterprise systems are now seen to be optimizing their products for the protocol, but baselining works without requiring any modification to legacy systems.
Any state machine should be able to "baseline." Permissioned blockchains (aka DLT) are state machines. Hyperledger projects like Fabric have Channels, which are, each of them, state machines. Public blockchain networks are also state machines. So...all of these may use the baseline approach. Their question: what will they choose to use as the common frame of reference.