What are the different types of blockchains?

Do you know there are different types of blockchain? Whenever we have discussed blockchain in the previous articles, we have mainly focused on one blockchain. However, over the years, the blockchain has evolved a lot. Today, we have various types of blockchain technology to solve different problems.

Also Read: What is Atomic Swaps & It’s Advantage? | How Is the Price of Bitcoin Determined?

Why do we need different types of blockchains?

different types of blockchains

You must be wondering about the need for different types of blockchains, are you? 

We have discussed the limitation of blockchain technology multiple times. Blockchain technology was introduced with one used case – cryptocurrency. It was a public blockchain created around Decentralized Ledger Technology (DLT). It revolutionized how the organization worked without depending on a centralized entity. However, the public DLT had many issues (high amount of energy, slow transactions, information being public), and to solve these issues related to the public blockchain, other types of blockchain technology evolved over the years.

Different types of blockchains technologies:

Below are the top four different types of blockchains technologies we are using presently:

Public Blockchain –

It is the first type of blockchain technology. You can think of it as permission-less DLT. It means anyone can join the blockchain network and do transactions. Every person on the blockchain has a copy of the ledger with him, and anyone who has internet connectivity can access the public blockchain. 

The first blockchain made available to the general public was for Bitcoin, and it used public blockchain. The transactions are verified using the Proof-of-Work and other methods. 

There are a number of use-cases of the public blockchain. The most popular being voting and fundraising activities.

Advantages:

  • It is open, and hence anyone can join the network.
  • It brings trust among the community members since everyone has a ledger open.
  • Public blockchains are highly secure.
  • It does not require any intermediaries to work with

Disadvantages:

We have discussed the disadvantages and limitations of blockchain in a separate article. You can check the article to study them in detail. Here we are the top two disadvantages – 

  • The public blockchain has a low transaction speed.
  • Scalability is a big issue.

Private Blockchain

The disadvantage of a public blockchain is that it is public and even though organizations want to use it, they cannot use it. The private blockchain is a solution to the problem – it works in a closed network and is a permission-based blockchain. The permission control is with the entity using it.

Companies that want to use blockchain for internal use find private blockchain useful. Using it, they can control who has access to the blockchain network and who can do transactions. 

The only difference between public and private is in the way they are accessed. In terms of features, both are the same. It provides user security, transparency, and trust. However, if you look at it theoretically, it is not a decentralized network but a centralized network. 

Companies working in supply chain management industries are using a private blockchain. Also, it finds application in tracking and verifying asset ownership and in internal voting.

Advantages:

  • They are fast as there is a fewer number of participants in the network.
  • Scalability is possible as only a few nodes need to be authorized to validate transactions.

Disadvantages:

  • These are centralized in a way, and centralization is against the core principle of DLT.
  • Trust is an issue as the centralized nodes make the last call.
  • With few nodes, security is an issue.

Consortium Blockchain –

It is blockchain technology that tries to solve the organizations’ needs which private blockchain is unable to. It brings in features of both private and public blockchain together. In this type, the organization keeps some aspects public while some are kept private. 

The consensus procedures are controlled by the preset nodes. You must be wondering what changes exactly in the consortium blockchain? It is decentralized as it is managed by more than one organization, and hence there is no single force to drive the outcome.

There is a concept of a validator node in consortium blockchain. It validates the transactions and also initiates new transactions in the blockchain. All the features of private blockchain are here, the only difference being the power is not with a single party.

It finds application in banking and payment, research data and results, and the food tracking industry.

Advantages:

  • They are secure and have better scalability.
  • It comes with a well-defined governance structure and is hence highly useful to the organization.
  • It has better control over resources and can be customized.

Disadvantages:

  • It is less transparent.
  • The network functionality can be impacted by censorship and regulations.

Hybrid blockchain

At many places, you will see hybrid and consortium blockchain used interchangeably. However, both are different. It is also a combination of a private and public blockchain. However, organizations that neither want to deploy a public blockchain nor a private blockchain use it. It is implemented by an organization that wants to deploy the best of both worlds.

These find applications in real estate where a company can use it to run their internal system and also use it to show information to the public. Retail companies are using hybrid blockchain to streamline their process. It is also beneficial for a regulated market like finance.

Advantages:

  • The organization can change the rules of the network according to the needs.
  • These are immune to 51% attack and hence highly secure.
  • It offers privacy and good scalability.

Disadvantages:

  • It is not transparent.
  • Upgrading existing blockchain to hybrid blockchain is a big challenge.

Among the Different Types of blockchains, Which blockchain type is best?

There is no direct answer to the question. Each type has something unique to offer to its users. Hence organizations must understand each type, feature, advantage, and limitation to pick the one that works best for them.

To sum up, if you are a company, you should prefer to use a private blockchain. However, if transparency is your top priority, then the obvious choice is a public network. 

In the coming years, many more organizations will start using it. As the speed increases, along with network bandwidth, blockchain will find more use cases. We hope this article was helpful for you and you learned something new.

Leave a Comment