The Accord Project, which is focused on establishing standards for blockchain-based smart contracts, is to come under the open source auspices of Hyperledger.
A smart contract is the name given to a piece of computer code which automates agreements and transactions on a database which may be shared among multiple parties, but which has no central governing administrator.
Accord, which has been created by Clause.io, will establish a set of open source software development tools. These will be proposed to the technical steering committee (TSC) as new projects at Hyperledger, so that a broad community of developers and users will be able to collaborate directly on the future of contracting.
Clause.io is co-founded by Houman Shadab, Professor of Law at New York Law School, who is well known in the blockchain space.
Shadab pointed out while commercial agreements are relatively standardised, when you drill down deeper into contracts used even within the same industry there is a plethora of specific approaches.
He said: "In order to realise the potential benefits of legally binding contracts that use blockchain technology, widespread agreement must reached on a far greater range of issues than required to overcome the costs of proprietary approaches with traditional contracts.
"These issues range from foundational ones, including the usage of templates and the proper interface for legally binding text, to issues unique to smart contracts, including the suitability of data to confirm contract obligations to security, storage, and execution with a blockchain.
"Without standards, smart contracts may improve businesses, but they won't transform them. The need for standards and open source tools to usher in a change to the nature of legal contracts and business relationships is why we at Clause are launching the Accord Project."
Hyperledger welcomed 10 new organisations to the platform (including Accord). The latest General members include: ANNE, Beijing RZXT Technology Development, Capgemini Financial Services, New H3C Technologies, Revelry Labs, Smart Link Labs and TradeIX; and the new Associate members were the Accord Project, Tecnalia Research & Innovation and University of Luxembourg.
Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director, Hyperledger, said: "Welcoming this many new members from all over the world in various industries is great to see.
"The added support comes at a perfect time, with the recent launch of Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 and the goal of working together as a community to reach and promote production deployments of the technology this year. These new members will be advantageous in our efforts in building open blockchain software and pushing more Hyperledger projects to 1.0."
Damien de Chillaz, vice president, Blockchain Leader, Capgemini, said: "At Capgemini, we seek to become the partner of choice for our Financial Services clients who feel ready to move from proof of concept to production on Blockchain.
"We believe that this ambition requires the right combination of business intimacy and technical expertise that we can bring through our leadership position in Financial Services and our global presence and expertise in Distributed Ledger Technology. Although we remain ledger-agnostic, we are very excited to join Hyperledger and its open source community, to help shape the future of financial services alongside our most strategic clients."