Blockchain technology is clearly here to stay, with so many companies, governments and individuals getting on board and implementing this technology in their daily lives. There are lots of potential applications for this technology, and it all stems from the development and release of Bitcoin back in 2009.
Since then, this technology has expanded and outgrown its role with Bitcoin and is now the foundation of thousands of digital currencies, as well as many new products and services being rolled out by companies.
A blockchain is effectively a public ledger which is made up of chains of blocks which create a permanent record of all transactions. Blockchains allow for multiparty transactions as well as extra security and a decentralization of records.
Bitcoin was the first digital token to utilize blockchain technology, with the likes of Ethereum also becoming well-known in recent times. There are many other parties utilizing blockchain for many different applications and it will be exciting to see happens next.
Here is a list of the best blockchain protocols currently around.
Bitcoin allows its users to carry out transactions in a safe, non-reversible way. Bitcoin is used as a digital currency in this process. There are a variety of different technologies at play here, such as public key cryptography, proof-of-work mining, digital signatures and hashing. It is through proof-of-work mining that Bitcoins are created.
There have been some issues with the scalability of the Bitcoin blockchain, with a lot of congestion leading to higher fees and slower transaction times. However, many parties are hard at work trying to solve these scalability issues. The adoption of Segwit has also helped to break up transactions and unclog some of the network.
Smart contracts are being brought onto the blockchain, which can be written on addresses on the Bitcoin network which are compatible with Segwit.
Ethereum is well-known as being the basis for many of the latest digital tokens that are being released through initial coin offerings. It is also highly respected for its smart contracts which mean that all applications are able to run as outlined and there is little to no interference when it comes to third parties.
Smart contracts have a great future ahead, as they can do everything from being a registry of debt to aiding the movement of funds and markets.
The digital currency related to the network is called Ether and it is through the Ethereum wallet that ERC-20 assets can be held. Developers can use the Ethereum network to make decentralized applications and create autonomous organizations.
Ripple Consensus Network
The Ripple platform was first created back in 2012 and is used as an open-source distributed consensus ledger alongside the native currency, XRP. There is the capability to provide support for tokens that are representative of cryptocurrencies, commodities, fiat currencies or other units of value such as for loyalty programs e.g. frequent flyer miles.
Ripple has been somewhat popular when it comes to payment providers, banks, corporations and cryptocurrency exchanges who used RippleNet to make payments all across the world.
This protocol stands out from the crowd as it utilizes what is known as the Partitioned Consensus. This means that as opposed to using a single central ledger, every group will be able to have a distinct authority that is used to validate transactions.
This means that a given organization or group has full control over their own specific needs. There is the ability to connect different instances together. This is a secure and scalable protocol, which means that it is ideal for a lot of organizations who are looking to both issue and manage their own forms of digital assets.
Hyperledger started its development process in 2015 and was hosted by the Linux Foundation. Their main focus is on ledgers with the goal of supporting business transactions on a global level as well as aiding a variety of supply chain businesses.
They aim to bring people and groups from different industries together in order to further the advancement of blockchain technology. This means that the protocol is made up of many leaders in the areas of tech, manufacturing, supply chain management, IoT and banking and finance.
They currently support Python and offer a channel that is highly confidential for sharing private information.
The likes of games, messenger apps and social networks can therefore be built in an independent manner using this protocol. A good way of thinking about the Lisk protocol is that it is similar to how the App Store works except it is a blockchain app platform for developers and users. Their native digital currency is LSK.
The IOTA blockchain uses something called Tangle, which is a distributed and blockless ledger. This caters for the machine economy and allows resources to be traded both on demand and in real-time.
It also caters for devices connected to one another in the Internet of Things. There is also the capability to cater for tiny nano-payments with no need for additional fees to be charged for this service. This means that businesses are able to trade their technological resources in an open environment without having to deal with fees.
There is even the capability for e-voting and e-governance which have become hot topics in recent times. The sharing economy is becoming more and more popular by the day.
IOTA takes this economy a step further as it allows pieces of technology such as appliances, tools and computational power to be shared and leased.
Corda was created by R3 and is utilized to supervise, synchronize and record financial agreements. It was created with the goal of catering for financial institutions globally at the same time as being applicable in a variety of industries.
It utilizes blockchain technology but has specifically tweaked it so that is suitable for banking applications. There is no need to share unnecessary data and the transactions will be solely validated by people involved in the transaction and not by validators that are not related to the process.
There are even supervisory and regulator observer nodes implemented that help to ensure that everything these institutions do is transparent and adheres to the necessary rules and regulations.
There is currently no native digital token for Corda.
HydraChain was created in the form of an extension of the Ethereum network but has since been changed in order to allow for distributed permissioned ledgers.
This means that customized private blockchains can be created where there is a tight level of control placed upon them in order to gain permission. This makes things a lot safer and more secure for users of the ledger, so it is ideal for the likes of financial institutions.
There are many capabilities that cater to financial institutions as part of this protocol when it comes to the creation of consortium blockchains.
Chain acts as a placeholder for a variety of different assets such as derivatives, securities, gift cards, loyalty rewards and currencies. The Chain Core blockchain platform is powered by the Chain protocol. Chain Core allows companies to both issue and transfer different financial assets throughout permissioned blockchain networks.
Companies are also able to use Chain Core to launch their own blockchain network or if they prefer. They can connect to the constantly expanding list of different networks that can be utilized when transferring funds globally.
The basic Chain Core Developer Edition is completely free, but there is an Enterprise edition that will be used by those groups who want to operate Chain Core for production environments.
While there is decentralization in terms of the transfer, control and creation of the digital assets, there is a group of entities that govern the network called the federation.