Announcing the Hedera User Group (HUG)
Apr 29, 2021
by Brett McDowell
Founding Executive Director, Hedera Governing Council

Multi-stakeholder engagement is critical to any public distributed ledger’s adoption by businesses, individuals, universities, governments, non-profit organizations, etc. Hedera’s path of ever-increasing decentralization includes several aspects of multi-stakeholder engagement, ranging from its original association model of governance to its recent open-source HIP development process, and now introducing this new public forum where Council members can collaborate with contributors from the community on the use cases that will accelerate decentralized utilization of the Hedera network: the “Hedera User Group (HUG)”.

The HUG consists of Council members and invited contributors from the application development community, but everyone in the greater Hedera community is free to engage in these network use case deliberations. The aim of HUG is to workshop real-world application use cases and architectures, accelerate knowledge transfer across the entire Hedera community, and accelerate broad industry adoption of distributed application best practices uniquely enabled on the Hedera Hashgraph network.

The first HUG workshop, open to anyone who registered, was scheduled for 90 minutes and convened on April 29th, 2021 at 01:00 UTC. This workshop included Hedera use case presentations by members of the TOKO by DLA Piper and eftpos teams. The recording will be available soon on YouTube. Join the HUG community by visiting https://www.hedera.com/hedera-user-group and subscribing by clicking or tapping “Join HUG”.

The rest of this blog posting describes the Hedera User Group in more detail, including why the group was formed, ways in which anyone can participate, and information about the HUG leadership.

A brief history: Starting with Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

In recognition that Council member collaboration on use cases to drive network utilization is a fundamentally different activity from governing the treasury and ongoing operation of the Hedera network, the Hedera Council chartered three special interest groups (SIGs) in 2020 to bring more focus to use case collaboration. The focus area for these three SIGs was decentralized identity, tokenization, and data integrity, respectively. Each SIG recruited “invited experts” to collaborate with Council members on real-world application use cases for the Hedera Consensus Service (HCS) and the Hedera Token Service (HTS), as well as hybrid architectures that included Hyperledger Fabric and other private/permissioned blockchain frameworks.

Although SIGs included members of the Hedera Council, they were organized independently under bespoke rules of engagement — they allowed for “invited experts” from non-council member organizations to join and contribute to the collective work product of these groups. These invited experts were “sponsored” by members of the SIG and were required to keep SIG information confidential, which is why past presentations were not published. SIG invited experts included representation from theHedera Governing Council and a wide range of organizations, such as SUKU, The Coupon Bureau, Starling Lab, TRM Labs, Meeco, Manetu, Quantstamp, EMTECH, Everyware, Block Heads and SecurID, An RSA Business.

How SIGs lead to the formation of the Hedera User Group (HUG)

After a few months of operating these initial three SIGs, the Council concluded:

  • This forum is a great way to collaborate on use cases, share knowledge, and drive further adoption of Hedera features and functionality.

  • Decentralized Identity vs Tokenization vs Data Integrity were artificial distinctions that created duplication of time and effort across SIGs (many projects utilized aspects of each).

  • Non-council invited experts became increasingly valuable to these meetings, leading to a desire to expand this form of engagement with the Council.

  • The content developed in these meetings would be beneficial to more than Council members, leading to a desire to open up these proceedings to the broader multi-stakeholder community.

After evaluating these learnings, the following decisions were made:

  • The SIGs shall be consolidated into a single group called the “Hedera User Group.”

  • The HUG meetings shall be open to the public while continuing to vet full contributors through a self-governing sponsorship and voting process.

  • The HUG leadership shall schedule a series of public workshops that will lead to the development of network utilization best practices showcased at future Council meetings.

How can I participate in the HUG?

There are two levels of engagement available to the broader Hedera community. HUG Subscriber is for the broadest set of community stakeholders looking to consume the latest and greatest application use case information, along with the ability to submit use case questions to HUG Contributors. HUG Contributor is for Hedera experts with application use case experience to share with Hedera Governing Council members and the broader community, as well as other stakeholders seeking the opportunity to collaborate with Hedera experts on their own scalable application use cases.

Joining as a HUG Subscriber

Join the Hedera User Group as a subscriber to receive:

  • Periodic group updates from the [email protected] mailing list.

  • Invitations to join live HUG workshops as an observer with the ability to submit questions to HUG presenters in real-time during the moderated Q&A portion of the workshops.

  • Notifications of newly available HUG presentation materials and workshop recordings.

JOIN HUG

Becoming a HUG Contributor

To up-level from “subscriber” to “contributor” and unlock the full potential of HUG collaboration, you must be sponsored by a current contributor and approved by simple majority vote of the group. All developers who achieve “elite status” in the Hedera Discord channel are automatically sponsored for consideration but still subject to approval by vote of the HUG contributors. All Council members and former SIG invited experts are contributors by default. You’ll receive the same benefits as a subscriber, plus the following:

  • More engagement opportunities during workshops by participating in live discussions, subject to the discretion of the facilitator(s).

  • Invitation to propose use cases for future workshops (agenda is determined by HUG Co-Chairs between workshops).

  • The opportunity to share your own use case presentations during workshops and/or by means of the [email protected] public mailing list.

Mutual respect is vital for all HUG participants to live up to their full potential; by signing up, you agree to the HUG code of conduct.

Co-Chairs and Contributors

I’m pleased to introduce the Council-appointed HUG Co-Chairs:

Monique Morrow, Senior Distinguished Architect Emerging Technologies at Syniverse

“I expect the Hedera User Group (HUG) to be a valuable forum for Syniverse, the Hedera developer community, and Governing Council Member participants. As the Co-Chair of HUG, I’m committed to foster knowledge sharing and collaboration to help advance the Hedera ecosystem.”

Andrew Gastwirth, Chief Information Officer at DLA Piper

“The success of any technology-centric ecosystem is heavily dependent on the strength of the developer community supporting it. A primary goal of mine as Co-Chair for the Hedera User Group is to build a vibrant developer community around Hedera Hashgraph to drive the success of the network in a socially responsible way.”

Rob Allen, Entrepreneur in Residence at eftpos

“It’s exciting to see the Hedera ecosystem grow, and I am looking forward to helping foster increased cooperation among companies as one of the Hedera User Group leaders. A user group is a great forum to identify use cases that can leverage the public ledger to disrupt existing business functions and to identify new areas of growth.”

Get started by joining the Hedera User Group (HUG)

Whether you’re wanting to listen in as a subscriber or hoping to contribute to live meetings and applications use case discussions, you can learn more about HUG and sign up here: https://www.hedera.com/hedera-user-group

The first HUG workshop occurred on April 29th, 2021 at 01:00 UTC. It included Hedera use case presentations by members of the TOKO by DLA Piper and eftpos teams; the recording of this workshop will be made available on the Hedera User Group page.

If you have any questions about the Hedera User Group you can contact us by visiting the HUG channel within the official Hedera Discord or send an email to our HUG questions mailing list [email protected].