Blockchain technology was announced through the paper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. Interestingly, this paper does not specifically use the word “blockchain”.
This paper talks about a “purely p2r version of electronic cash” where “the network timestamps transactions by hashing them into an ongoing chain of hash-based proof-of-work, creating a record that can't be changed without redoing the proof-of-work”.
The open source PT-BSC (Blockchain Security Controls) defines a blockchain as a peer-to-peer network which timestamps records by hashing them into an ongoing chain of hash-based proof-of-work, forming a record that can't be changed without redoing the proof-of-work. A blockchain can be permissioned, permissionless or hybrid.
On the other hand, a distributed ledger is defined as a peer-to-peer network, which uses a defined consensus mechanism to prevent modification of an ordered series of time-stamped records. Consensus mechanisms include Proof of stake, Federated Byzantine Agreement etc.
The most popular Blockchain platforms
Ethereum is an open-source Blockchain platform that runs smart contracts and provides programming tools for their creation. Having been proposed by Vitalik Buterin in 2013, the platform simplifies both the development of next-generation decentralized applications (DApps) and online contractual agreements.
Ethereum allows designing and issuing of cryptocurrencies and tradeable digital tokens. What’s more, you can create your own DAO (democratic autonomous organization), e.g., a virtual organization where various issues are solved by member voting.
The platform offers many useful features, including Turing-complete languages, command line tools (built in Go, C++, Python, Java, etc.), and Ethereum wallet, the last enabling developers to hold and protect crypto-assets and simplifying smart contract development.
BigChainDB is an open-source distributed ledger system designed for storing large data amounts and enabling developers to deploy Blockchain proof-of-concepts and applications.
The database provides decentralized control, low latency, immutability, powerful query functionality, and a high speed of transaction processing.
The system doesn’t have its own currency but allows the issuing and transfer of any assets, tokens, and cryptocurrencies. BigChainDB supports custom digital assets and establishes access permissions at a transaction level.
BigChainDB is based on Federation Consensus Model, a federation of nodes with voting permissions. Supporting both public and private networks, BigChainDB has many use cases, including areas like intellectual property, human resources, government, and land registry.
Also, get insight into the comparison of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and BigchainDB.
3. Hyperledger Fabric
Blockchain Hyperledger Fabric is one of the most popular Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation and released in 2016. Hyperledger Fabric is written in Go and uses Docker-containers for smart contract implementation.
The platform serves as the basis for building Blockchain-based solutions with a modular architecture and supports the use of one or more networks. Enabling to ensure high levels of flexibility, reliability, and scalability, Hyperledger Fabric suits best for developing enterprise solutions.
Considering useful features, it contains channels for sharing confidential information and endorsement policies for transactions. Also, transactions include signatures of all endorsing peers and are submitted to ordering service. Hyperledger Fabric is one of the best platforms for the creation of permissioned blockchains.
4. Hyperledger Cello
Hyperledger Cello is a Blockchain platform and operation system and one of Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation. The goal of Hyperledger Cello is to minimize efforts for designing and managing blockchains by delivering the on-demand “as-a-service” deployment model to the Blockchain ecosystem.
Hyperledger Cello enables developers to create Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform from scratch as well as manage the lifecycle of blockchains. What’s more, with Cello they can maintain a set of networks on top of bare metals, virtual clouds, and container clusters (Cello supports Docker, Swarm, and Kubernetes).
5. Hyperledger Sawtooth Lake
Hyperledger Sawtooth Lake is a Blockchain platform, representing an enterprise solution that supports both permissioned and permissionless developments. The platform helps software engineers easier create, deploy, and run distributed ledger systems and applications.
Sawtooth Lake is a modular suite written in Python and providing smart contract abstraction allowing developers to write contract logic in a programming language they want. Transaction business logic in Hyperledger Sawtooth is decoupled from the consensus layer.
A consensus mechanism is called Proof of Elapsed Time (PoET) and uses the SGX trusted computing module, built into the Intel processors of the latest generations.
There are many useful applications for Sawtooth Lake. In supply chain management and seafood delivery, for instance, it can solve such problems as improper food storage conditions, illegal fishing practices, and seafood fraud.
Also, Hyperledger Sawtooth can ensure a secure infrastructure for the creation and exchange of digital assets. Find out, how Sawtooth Lake and its solutions work in different areas.
HydraChain is an open-source extension of Ethereum Blockchain platform that offers support for developing and deploying permissioned distributed ledgers.
HydraChain is fully compatible with the Ethereum Protocol and provides an infrastructure to create smart contracts in Python. Hydrachain has many tools allowing to reduce development times and improving debugging capabilities.
What’s important, HydraChain ensures a high level of customization: various aspects of the system can be easily configured to meet customer needs. For instance, such things as transaction fees, gas limits, genesis allocation, and block time can easily be customized when creating smart contracts.
Corda is an open-source Blockchain platform for building permissioned distributed ledger systems. The project was created by R3 consortium, combining the largest banks and allowing to manage legal agreements between parties.
Like other distributed ledgers, R3 Corda provides safe data storage and immutable data record. Noteworthy that only Corda enables to develop interoperable blockchain networks which transact in strict privacy. At the moment, it’s probably the only distributed ledger platform that has a pluggable consensus.
Multichain is an open-source distributed ledger system, based on Bitcoin Blockchain and designed for processing of multi-currency financial transactions.
The platform provides various levels of access control and permissions and enables fast solution deployment. In Multichain, various networks can simultaneously be on a single server.
Being an open-source Blockchain platform, Openchain was designed for the issuance and management of digital assets in a robust, safe, and scalable way. The technology includes smart contract modules, unified API, and multiple levels of control and access permissions due to hierarchical account systems.
In Openchain, every transaction is digitally signed (like it is in Bitcoin) and consensus mechanism is introduced by Partionned Consensus. One should note that Openchain is free, so you don’t have to spend cryptocurrencies in order to use it.
10. Chain Core
Chain Core is an enterprise-grade Blockchain platform, powered by Chain Protocol and design for issuing, transferring, and managing digital assets on permissioned Blockchain networks. Besides, the platform enables developers to create financial services from scratch.
In Chain Core, native digital assets involve currencies, securities, derivatives, gift cards, and loyalty points. The platform offers role-based permission access management for operating in the network. Chain Core has federated consensus and provides smart contract support, transaction privacy, and multi-signature account support as well.