The blockchain has become synonymous with Bitcoin and its enigmatic founder Satoshi Nakamoto. Satoshi’s literal description of the Bitcoin protocol was “chains of blocks”, when he commented about it in his source code.
In practice, a blockchain is a public ledger that is comprised of blocks that records transactions permanently and immutably. Blockchain features transactions spread over multiple parties, additional security features, and the option for decentralization.
Bitcoin was the first and original use of blockchain tech, and we are still in the very early stages of seeing everything go live.
Beyond Bitcoin, most people are aware of only about Ethereum. But there are many other protocols and coins that are suitable for different applications.
Top Blockchain Distributed Ledger Technology Protocols
Bitcoin lets users make transactions that are non-reversible and trust less in nature, eliminating the need for an intermediary such as a bank or financial institution. It uses Bitcoin as its own currency.
Bitcoin is comprised of a number of technologies such as hash, public-key cryptography, peer to peer, and proof of work. Proof of working mining is what allows users to produce Bitcoins.
In recent news, it was announced that the Ivy Platform, a compiler that was made by Chain.com, will allow the network to make use of smart contracts. This will allow for segwit-compatible addresses on the Bitcoin network.
Ethereum is most well-known for its use of smart contracts, which is an extension of application logic and with reduced interference from third parties and censorship. Smart contracts get used to store registries of data, markets, and to move funds.
Ethereum has both Ether and an Ethereum wallet that holds ERC-20 tokens. Ethereum gives developers the ability to make their own applications on the Ethereum blockchain, as well as democratic autonomous organisations (DAOs).
Ripple started back in 2012 and makes use of an open source distributed ledger and native cryptocurrency named XRP. Ripple also supports other tokens to represent fiat dollars and other coins, commodities, and other virtual assets such as mobile numbers or frequent flier points.
Essentially, Ripple was designed for banks, payment gateways, and digital asset exchanges, as well as corporates who want to send money across the world.
The development for Hyperledger started in 2015 by the Linux Foundation. Hyperledger has a focus on ledgers with a focus on trans-national business transactions, and financial, technological, and supply chain companies.
The joint effort of Hyperledger intends to bring numerous stakeholders together from industries such as finance, internet of things, supply chain, technology, and manufacturing.
Some of the features of Hyperledger include the support for the Python programming language, and endorsement policies for transactions, channels, and confidential information sharing between nodes.
Open chain differs from other blockchains significantly as it uses what’s called a partitioned consensus model. This lets developers to use a single Open Chain instance and each person will have the authority to validate transactions instead of being put into a centralized ledger. Each organization works to control their own instances. These instances can even be connected to each other.
Different transactions are validated by separate authorities, which are dependent on the assets being exchanged.
Open Chan is considered to be scalable and secure, as well as suitable for organizations who wish to manage digital assets.
The IOTA blockchain employs what’s called a blockless distributed ledger named Tangle. The IOTA ledger helps the machine economy to transact resources in real time and under demand for its user base, while connecting these devices as in IoT. The blockchain allows for tiny nano-payments without having to charge additional fees.
With IOTA, businesses can explore additional B2B models, as well as trade resources on the open market without incurring high fees.
IOTA also allows the storage of data from sensors and data loggers that are secure and verified on the ledger. The data from IOTA can then be transferred from different devices after they have been authenticated.
IOTA can be used for what what’s called e-governance, e-voting, as well as masked messaging.
The principle behind IOTA is that although the world places an emphasis on sharing economic resources, most of those resources stay untapped for the majority of the time. With IOTA, these technologies can be both leased and shared with different parties. These resources can include anything from appliances, tools, drones, computer storage resources, computational power, and Wi-Fi bandwidth, to name just a few.
With Lisk, users are able to build social networks, games, and messaging apps to name just a few things.
Lisk operates similarly to the blockchain for users and developers in the same way as the Google App Store and Play network does.
Lisk has its own cryptocurrency named LSK.
HydraChain is an off-shoot of the Ethereum platform and adds support for creating what’s called Permissioned Distributed Ledgers.
HydraChain gives access for developers to create private blockchain solutions, where access permissions are tightly controlled. This includes the rights to modify and read data on the blockchain restricted to a few users. This is important for companies in the finance sector. These companies can also build their own consortium blockchains with a consensus controlled by a handful of pre-selected nodes.
For example, 15 different financial institutions could choose to run each node and 10 must assign each block for the transaction to be valid. The right to read information can be private or public or exclusive to certain participants.
It is entirely customizable and compatible with the Ethereum network, and gives support for less than 1 second block times, uses accountable validators, and is open source in nature.
Corda was built by R3 and is a protocol that’s used for the recording, management, and synchronization of financial agreements between financial entities. Corda was built for the world’s largest entities but it can be used by multiple entities.
Corda makes use of blockchain technology, but lacks key design choices that make many standards unsuitable for scenarios in banking.
For example, Corda eliminates the unwanted global sharing of data and information. The transactions are verified only by parties on the transaction level instead of a larger pool of unrelated validators. This is what allows Corda to choreograph the workflow between companies without a centralized controller.
Consensus is reached at the individual level and not system-wide. It also helps regulatory and supervisory observer nodes.
Corda records an obvious link between human the human language in legal documents and smart contracts.
Corda has no inbuilt cryptocurrency.
Symbiont Distributed ledger
The Symbiont Distributed Ledger was introduced to the market in 201 for Assembly. Assembly is another permitted distributed ledger that works with Symbiont’s smart contracts system.
The Symbiont ledger has the capacity to process 80,000 transactions each second in a multi-node network and is a Byzantine-fault tolerant ledger.
Symbiont ’targets institutions to allow for complicated financial instruments. Symbiont also gives access for cost-saving and the sharing of business logic applications, as well as market data. The latter is possible because files are shared on the Symbiont network for high availability.
Chain includes a number of assets such as securities, loyalty points, gift cards, currencies, and loyalty points.
Chain created the Chain Protocol, which in turn powers the Chain Core blockchain platform. Using Chain Core, businesses can disperse and transfer financial assets on permissioned blockchain networks and integration.
Institutions can use Chain to launch their own blockchain network, or to connect it to a growing list of other networks to move these funds around the world.
The Chain Core Developer Edition is free of charge, and there is a Chain Core Enterprise edition for companies who intend to run Chian Core in large-scale production environments.
The control, creation, and transfer of valuables is decentralized among participants with chain, the network itself is governed by a set of entities named a federation.
BigChainDB is an open source protocol that has its roots as a distributed database. It then leverages blockchain characteristics that include a decentralized control and transfer of digital assets.
With BigChainDB, developers can make use of proof of concepts, platforms, and other apps with a blockchain database.
BigChainDB supports the creation of transactions, custom assets, transparency, and permissions. It allows for these permissions to be set at a transaction level for both private and public networks.
Another feature of BigChainDB is its Federation Consensus Model.