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Membership Service Providers (MSP) in Hyperledger

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  • Last Updated : 16 Aug, 2022
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The article focuses on discussing the Membership Service Providers (MSP), what they’re used for within Hyperledger, and how they benefit companies in Hyperledger’s network. The following topics will be discussed here:

  1. What is MSP?
  2. MSP Configuration
  3. Best Practices For MSP Configuration
  4. Conclusion.

Let’s start discussing each of these topics in detail.

What is MSP? 

Hyperledger is an open-source collaborative effort created to advance blockchain technology. One of the topics that interested Hyperledger was to build a permissioned distributed ledger. 

  • A permissioned distributed ledger is more secure than the public distributed ledger that most cryptocurrencies and blockchains are based on because it has some participants with special access rights, like a company’s IT department.  
  • One of the primary benefits of membership service providers is getting data from across silos of systems which normally would be too hard to integrate with each other. Another important aspect is to be able to keep sensitive data private from the global internet.
  • MSPs use blockchain technology to create a distributed ledger between organizations and their associated systems. 
  • Using Hyper ledger, these MSPs can track transactions across all of the relevant systems, which can then be used in conjunction with other information stored on different storage systems and applications.

Key Points:

  • Membership Service Providers play a huge role in Hyperledger. 
  • Membership service providers help to create a shared ledger among all of the different organizations that are part of the network. 
  • These are companies that hold special access rights to allow them to do transactions with other organizations in the network. If you’re interested in learning more about Hyperledger, you can check out their website here. 
  • They have numerous articles about their projects and even an entire section for developers who are interested in helping them build applications for their network.

MSP Configuration

To understand MSPs in Hyperledger, one must first understand how participation is structured within the network. 

  • The membership service providers play the function of the middleman between organizations that want to participate in a network and those that want to use their services. 
  • This service is used by Hyperledger to set up the rules of engagement and make sure that there is an agreement between the two sides.
  • Hyperledger has a shared ledger that is hosted by several MSPs within their network.
  • Both the organizations that are joining the network and those companies who are already members of it have access to the ledger, which helps keep track of all of the transactions that go on in it. 
  • One of the biggest benefits of this system is not having to attribute any transactions to any one business participating in it. The transactions become a part of all ledgers, which means that no single company owns them. Ted Livingston, the CEO of Kik, said it best when he said: “The blockchain is a ladder that can take you out of the orphanage.” All business information on this network is automatically logged and tracked to ensure that there are no discrepancies or inconsistencies between all of the companies using and servicing each other.
  • Hyperledger’s MSPs must adhere to standards that have been created by the Hyperledger community. These standards set forth specific rules for transactions and interactions within the ledger so that all participants know exactly what to expect from each other. This ensures that transactions and interactions between businesses utilizing this technology will always run smoothly.

Key points:

  • To set up an instance of MSP, the configuration needs to be specified locally at each peer, orderer, and on the channels.
  • In order to refer MSP to the network, a name needs to be specified. This is known as MSP ID or MSP Identifier.
  • MSP ID must be unique for each MSP instance.
  • A set of parameters needs to be specified to allow for identity validation and signature verification in case of the default implementation of MSP.

Best Practices For MSP Configuration

There are companies that specialize in providing IT and networking support to other companies that do not have their own IT department. MSPs offer a variety of services, such as cybersecurity, data backup, disaster recovery, and more.  

  • One-to-one mapping between organizations and MSP: One-to-one mapping is recommended between organizations and MSP and if it is not chosen then there can be one organization to multiple MSP mapping or multiple organizations to single MSP mapping.
  • Service terms and service quality agreement: There are two main factors one should take into consideration when deciding on an MSP: service terms agreement and service quality. Terms should include the length of the contract, cancellation/non-renewal fees, etc.
  • Track record of quality services: Before signing a contract with an MSP, one needs to know that they have a proven track record of providing quality services. 
  • Check third-party accreditations: The best way to ensure their performance is to read their reviews posted by real clients on websites like TrustPilot or G2crowd. It is also helpful to check for third-party accreditations and certifications, like ISO 27001 compliance or SOC Type II certification. 
  • Check licensing agreements: Ensure that all third-party software is installed by a vendor, making sure to account for any licensing agreements.
  • Apply updates to MSP VM: All customizations and MSP updates should be applied to the MSP VM, not the production server.
  • Regular backup: Back up often. This can be done manually or with deduplication software.


Blockchain technology is an emerging trend that is continuing to grow. Companies are finding new and innovative ways to utilize blockchain technology and its service providers to make their work easier, faster, and more private than ever before. While there are a few different types of services that come with blockchain technology, in this article we covered one of the most common ones: Membership Service Providers (MSPs).

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