Blockchain Technology is rapidly developing and changing our world. Major companies and even countries are adopting blockchain for better security, transparency, and traceability. Learn the different kinds of blockchain available today. Analyze the pros and cons of public, private, and hybrid blockchains.
veryday, people are finding new ways to use blockchain technology to transform the world we know. And for more people to understand the implications, it’s also important to know what the different types of blockchain are, and how they’re used.
A public blockchain is, as the name suggests, a blockchain that is open to the public. That means anyone is able to join and participate in the blockchain.
Anyone is also free to create a new public blockchain if they wish. In addition, participants on the blockchain are able to view all the data on it, meaning that the transactions are available for everyone to see.
With this data being publicly available on a blockchain, one might wonder why anyone would join a public blockchain. However, this can actually be seen as a benefit in terms of getting more user adoption of the blockchain, which in turn promotes the growth of the public blockchain.
Public blockchains are designed to be decentralized, meaning that no one entity controls what transactions are added to the blockchain. This promotes transparency, as everyone on the blockchain has more or less equal control.
Fraud that would commonly plague other currency or transaction systems is not present in a public blockchain as double spending and fraudulent transactions can easily be verified by other members on the blockchain.
A prime example of a public blockchain is Bitcoin. Any miner is able to participate and donate their computing power to solve the complex equations in order to add a new block. The success of Bitcoin is due in part to the number of miners verifying transactions and adding to the blockchain.
Furthermore, the miners are also incentivized to participate in the blockchain, as they are rewarded with bitcoin for each computation they complete. The public blockchain that is Bitcoin has a healthy supply of miners and runs smoothly as a result.
Decentralization, and the transparency and immutability that comes with public blockchains are what builds trust in people for the blockchain, which in turn gives way to the popularity of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
Other examples of public blockchains include Ethereum and NEO.
Pros: Public blockchain systems are completely transparent, which is great for building trust in the blockchain. It also incentivizes participants to participate in the network by rewarding cryptocurrency for work done on the blockchain. It’s also good to use in nearly every industry, making it a great option for anyone looking to start using blockchain technology.
Cons: Organizations who are looking to have some semblance of control over their blockchain will not find public blockchain to be an efficient solution. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin operating on public blockchains are known to be very volatile in terms of price, which is not reliable for business and financial institutions.
Where public blockchains allow users to have full and equal access to the data stored on it, the managers of private blockchains provide limited access to its users. There is a central authority that controls what other users have access to, rather than having it be a decentralized system.
Just as the managing authority of the blockchain can control access for its users (which means that access can be revoked), it can also control other aspects of the blockchain. This includes being able to limit transactions on the basis of speed or intent.
While most of this can be inferred from the name, it is also important to know that private blockchains don’t always have to be closed off from public access. The administrator has the ability to set parameters for what can be publicly accessed on the blockchain.
This level of control available in private blockchain works especially well for companies and firms that want the benefits of blockchain technology with the security of a closed environment.
Mining Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies takes a huge amount of computational power, which is often not efficient nor feasible for public entities. Private blockchains are considered more energy efficient, since the coins that they provide for work done on the blockchain are pre-mined.
It is no secret that the price of Bitcoin can fluctuate wildly, making it a fairly risky business investment. Private organizations that regulate and manage their own blockchains have a much greater control on their own prices, making it much more reliable and less volatile.
Additionally, private blockchains allow for more reliability by allowing users to work alongside banks and other financial institutions. In this situation, working with the system makes the technology more usable and secure.
Pros: Private blockchain networks allow control for administrators, and lets them be more selective with who gets access to the network. In this way, it makes private blockchain a much more secure and reliable option. It is great for organizational blockchain implementation as they require total control over the workflow.
Cons: Unlike public blockchain, there isn’t any similar incentive in private networks to have users grow the network. The main goal is not to have more and more people join the network and maintain it, as it is up to the managing authority of the private blockchain network to do that.
The third type of blockchain, hybrid blockchain, aims to combine the best of both public and private blockchain solutions. As a result, you would get the freedom of public blockchain without having to completely sacrifice the controlled access you get with private blockchain.
Hybrid blockchain still allows administrators to be selective with who gets access while still having features like transparency and security. There is a high level of customization available, as members of the hybrid blockchain can decide who can participate, and which transactions are publicly displayed.
The fusion of different features from public and private blockchain systems ensures that companies can work with their stakeholders in an optimal fashion. Dragonchain is an example of hybrid blockchain, which it achieves through its patented Interchain technology, allowing it to easily connect with various blockchain protocols.
Businesses utilizing hybrid blockchain solutions are able to operate with the transparency they desire, but not have to sacrifice privacy and security. The level of security is increased from being able to post multiple public blockchains at once, benefiting from the combined hashpower that is applied to the public blockchains.
In addition to the security features, the immutability of the hybrid blockchain can also be maintained. Though the transactions in a hybrid blockchain can be kept private, they are always open for verification if needed.
This helps cut down on fraud and double spending, as each transaction is written once and cannot be tampered with. An attempt to do so would be rejected as would happen in a public blockchain.
An area where hybrid blockchain technology can be implemented is the Hybrid IoT (Internet of Things). Public blockchain solutions can be tricky as it could give hackers free access to data and nodes, but hybrid blockchain places devices in a private network, and provides selective access to people who need them. Conversely, the managing authority can also decide which aspects of the network can be made public.
The first use-case that we want to discuss is the Hybrid IoT. The internet of things can be a tricky thing to manage with complete public blockchain solution as it will give hackers free data to map nodes or even hack into them.
With hybrid blockchain, the devices can be placed in a private network with access to the ones that only need them. Some aspects of the network can be made public depending on which data to share. A hybrid approach can solve many security issues.
Pros: The most obvious benefit of hybrid blockchain solutions is the combination of the best parts of the former types of blockchain. Hybrid blockchains can be as selective or open as they want, and that also feeds into how much they want to incentivize users on the network.
Cons: Not everyone is in a position to be able to implement hybrid blockchain, at least not efficiently. Public blockchain is more affordable and open for most people and organizations, but the payoff of using hybrid blockchain is worth it.
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