Blockchain gained massive popularity after the invention of Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a public Blockchain network that enables you to transfer your digital money to any users on the Bitcoin network. But are there any other public Blockchain platforms that we should be aware of? This article will guide you through what Blockchain is and different public Blockchain platforms.
A Blockchain is a form of a decentralized, incorruptible digital ledger, that can be programmed to timestamp any kind of valuable peer to peer transactions, without the involvement of a third party. In other words, Blockchain is a chain-of-blocks connected with cryptographic hashes, and a slight change in data in one block can generate entirely new hashes rendering the entire chain invalid. These hash functions are impossible to solve, making Blockchain super secure consequently.
To make it easier, you can also take Blockchain as a list of records of transactions made by people, to people. Above all, these transactions are transparent, reliable, and immutable. To get a broader view of Blockchain, read Understanding Blockchain Essentials.
Blockchain networks can be public or private, depending on the needs of your project.
Anyone can access a public Blockchain, meaning that anyone can read, write, and participate in the Blockchain network. But this does not mean the Public Blockchains aren't secure, neither does anyone governs a public Blockchain network.
In addition, public and Private Blockchains have various applications, check out Applications Of Blockchain Technology to get an overview of real-life use cases of Blockchain!
A person or a group of people, Satoshi Nakamoto announced the launch of Bitcoin, a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. To clarify, Satoshi wanted to give authority to the peers who want to exchange money, eliminate the intermediary, and bring transparency in transactions. Hence, they invented such a decentralized network that allowed the users to keep track of their cryptocurrency, without a middleman. Bitcoin runs on the PoW consensus algorithm and it records around 3-5 transactions in a second. People have developed hundreds of applications on Bitcoin, that allow the users to make secure transactions with other users through the Bitcoin network. Decentralized peer-to-peer online marketplaces, financial, and content sharing platforms, are some of the examples of DAPPS on the Blockchain network just to begin with. Arcade City is a decentralized application built on Bitcoin, that connects drivers and riders through Facebook, and riders can pay them directly with Bitcoins.
Vitalik Buterin founded Ethereum, an open-source, Blockchain platform that provides a language, and tools for developers to build and deploy decentralized Blockchain applications and smart contracts. Solidity is a Turing complete language of the Ethereum platform that enables you to create smart contracts, with a lot fewer restrictions compared to Bitcoin, which comes with a more restricted scripting language. Moreover, Ethereum uses ‘Ethers’ as a cryptocurrency, to run different applications, monetize work and smart contracts. Ethereum is capable of making 15 transactions in a second.
Mist browser is used to plug into Ethereum, which enables you to store and trade Ethers. It is just like a usual internet browser; however, it lets you browse through different decentralized applications deployed on the Ethereum network only. An example of an application built on Ethereum is Ethereum Blockchain as a Service (EBaaS) on Microsoft Azure.
Block.one developed EOS, a Blockchain platform built for the development of industrial-scale decentralized applications (DAPPS). It aims to be a free and open-source Blockchain platform, easy to use, and massively scalable. EOS can also be described as an operating system for DAPPS. It provides developers the basic tools and functionalities of an actual operating system, to help them develop industrial-scale DAPPS. EOS isn't completely a decentralized platform yet, but the EOS community is working hard to make it one. Its goal is to do millions of transactions in a second, all without any transaction fees. Currently, it can do 3,996 transactions in a second.
The EOS community innovated a new consensus algorithm, DPoS (Delegated Proof of Stake). DPoS is more efficient in comparison with the good old PoS/PoW, as it uses a realtime voting system to achieve consensus. EOS is way more scalable and secure than Ethereum, only because of the consensus algorithm it uses. The EOS community members give votes to super representatives and the representatives are rewarded by validating transactions. In DPoS, community members have more governance rights in the network.
Tron was founded by a nonprofit organization, with the goal of eliminating intermediaries from entertainment platforms, so that people can share content, pay for it and enjoy. This is a public Blockchain platform, a free and digital content entertainment system that enables users to share content effectively. The TRON code-base was originally a copy of Ethereum. TRON uses a fork of Solidity, which makes Ethereum smart contracts compatible with the TRON ecosystem. TRON's goal was to overcome the scalability issues in Ethereum. TRON uses the Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) mechanism as its consensus algorithm, which marks the biggest difference in Ethereum and TRON. In DPoS, 27 Super Representatives are elected to produce blocks for the network, unlike PoW. TRON has its own cryptocurrency Tronix (TRX), that can be used by the users to pay for the content they consume. It can only be exchanged with other cryptocurrencies, like BTC.
Mr. Gox and Joyce Kim founded Stellar, a Blockchain-based payment technology that aims to provide more attainable financial services to people around the world. In other words, the goal of Stellar is to bring about financial inclusion by, easy-to-use global payment systems in the unbanked developing countries. Stellar has a native cryptocurrency, named Lumens (XLM). It has its own consensus algorithm, named Stellar Consensus Protocol (SCP) which allows faster transaction processing. Stellar provides you with developer tools to build applications like LOBSTER - 'Lumens to any email address', which allows you to send Lumens to any email addresses you want to. An email is sent to the recipient who doesn't have a Stellar account to notify him about his account and has Lumens for him to use anytime!
Ripple and Stellar are two very different platforms. While Ripple is for-profit, Stellar covers it's functioning costs by putting aside 5% of the total Lumens available, and they accept donations. Ripple is in connection with the bank industry, Stellar runs after financial inclusion in unbanked countries. Stellar also differs from Ripple in terms of money exchange.
Zilliqa is a scalable, secure Blockchain platform that is popular for its implementation of 'sharding'. Sharding is a scaling method that breaks transaction validating nodes in an ever-growing Blockchain network into shards. These 'shards' validate micro-blocks with other shards and these are combined to create a single block on the Blockchain. Zilliqa can process tens of thousands of transactions per second. Zilliqa uses PoW to verify miners to prevent Sybil attacks and pBFT for its consensus. pBFT is the feature of a decentralized network to hold consensus, even after some of the nodes in the network respond with wrong information. One of the advantages of the pBFT model is its capacity to finalize a transaction without the need for confirmations and energy as in PoW. Zilliqa comes with a number of developer tools, like Explorer, that helps you to explore Zilliqa Blockchain for transactions, tokens, and other statistics.
Blockstack is a decentralized computing network or an app ecosystem that allows developers and users to connect safely. Stacks is the native cryptocurrency of Blockstack. Blockstack uses Blockchain technology to build developer tools that give access to users to an open internet that lets them own their data and digital identity. A developer can build a DAPP in just 60 minutes! Application Mining program on Blockstack network funds DAPP developers every month when they build apps the community wants, with the provided Blockstack developer tools, like Blockstack Auth. Many useful applications have been built without any capability of smart contracts, but Clarity; a Turing complete smart contract language, was introduced for Blockstack to enable smart contract functionality for Blockstack apps. For more information about Blockstack read Why Blockstack Is The Future Of Internet.
To sum up, here are some basis for selecting a Blockchain platform:
1) Scalability of the platform
2) Transaction fees on the platform
3) Type of consensus algorithm of the platform
4) Popularity on GitHub
5) Security of the network
Still unsure about which public blockchain platform to choose for your business needs? Talk to a Blockchain expert from Xord here and get FREE consultation.