Blockchain, the Distributed Ledger Technology, is one of the biggest disruptions in the data management field. It certainly has made it possible to lower costs, improve efficiency and improve security of the software eco-space. However, the current implementation of blockchain technology in the business environment includes a vast network of several ledger systems, which are very much vulnerable to falsification, fraud, or delayed response times. For this reason, picking the most suitable blockchain technology platform and framework is crucial for your decentralised project to be a success.
There are several blockchain technology platforms and networks out there, each claiming themselves to be the best in terms of security, features, capabilities, and scalability. Most of these claims are nothing but marketing gimmicks. Therefore while considering the most suitable blockchain technology platform, you need to look beyond these buzzwords. So, what characteristics of a blockchain technology platform do truly matter?
Honestly, there is no straightforward answer to this question. Because, your decision for the right platform selection will depend on many external factors such as the strength of community and the quality of documentation. This article will take you through the most crucial criteria for blockchain development platform selection.
Blockchain Platform Selection Criteria
If your use case would require every participant to authorise before accessing the network, you will need a permissioned blockchain network. It must be remembered that permissioned blockchain networks will require identity verification or authorisation services which are also known as notaries. These services are both centralised and decentralized, so you will have to pick the suitable one as per your use case.
If you want to tokenize an asset or create your crypto-currency on the blockchain network, then you should know that not all of the blockchain technology platforms provide the tokenisation facility. Blockchain platforms like Corda or Hyperledger do not provide any facility to create a token. There are a few options available for enterprise-level blockchain platforms such as Stockmind that provide the tokenization feature.
Scalability and Transaction Speed
Your blockchain network should be able to handle an increase in the number of participants and transactions, especially if you feel that your user base is expected to increase tremendously over the time. Most common challenges that blockchain projects face are of scalability. Also, not every blockchain technology platform can deliver high scalability and transaction speed, both at the same time. Therefore, if your project isn’t transaction centric, hence not requiring an instantaneous data transfer, you should limit the network selection decision to platform cost, accessibility, quality, security, and ease of use.
Enterprise-level support is crucial for every technological implementation. It largely depends on how accessible the dedicated communities are in terms of feedback and support? Blockchain is still in its infancy. Hence, there is not significant developer support available for this technology. This issue becomes more severe considering that these blockchain technology frameworks are built using different languages, which makes it more cumbersome to find the right support.
Not every blockchain platform can provide high-end security which is a must in enterprise IT infrastructure. While choosing the appropriate blockchain technology platform, you will have to check each platform for the security parameters.
Before picking the blockchain technology platform for your project, you should understand how the platform will evolve in the future. For enterprises, It is very important to make sure that their blockchain technology platform has a realistic roadmap.
What Options Do We Have?
Till now, we’ve discussed that every blockchain technology platform is different and that you must thoroughly analyse the available options to identify the suitable one for your project. The aforementioned blockchain technology platform criteria, Roadmap, Security, Scalability, Community Strength and various other features, will help in your hunt for the best blockchain solution. But, what are the top blockchain platforms in 2020?
Here I am mentioning the top blockchain platforms that are very popular for enterprise blockchain initiatives:
Ethereum is a great project to start with, especially for beginners. The community support is widespread and anyone can access literally tons of information. Here is the link to some of the great resources for Ethereum:
The information you would find about Ethereum is often of a very high quality, even from some unofficial sources. Ethereum is one of the most famous and commonly used blockchain platforms and has gained popularity over the past few years. One can find free tutorials and other related content on many websites that are dedicated for Ethereum support.
For instance, there is a community created technical content about Solidity programming. I’ve found a piece on Random Number Generation that takes you through a deterministic and safe way of using random number generation techniques to develop a lottery system or raffle smart contract.
The thing about Ethereum most developers don’t like is that it has a very steep learning curve. The developers are supposed to learn many things like development of smart contract using a new programming language Solidity, Ethereum’s mechanics, and many other tools that are generally new for them. The things that need to be learnt are too much and sometimes, they are overwhelming for some new developers.
Hence, Ethereum is definitely a great option for blockchain app development companies who have done a couple of blockchain projects on Ethereum in the past. The abundance of support information makes it a great product to start experimenting with, even if the learning curve looks steep.
Pioneered by Linux Foundation, Hyperledger is an open-source blockchain platform that focuses on developing distributed ledger tools and frameworks to increase the blockchain adoption across the industries. Unlike other blockchain development platforms that focus on developing the public blockchain, Hyperledger makes use of permissioned blockchain systems to ensure data confidentiality, security, and privacy.
Hyperledger has many tools and frameworks that are positioned to solve many issues with the supply chain such as traceability and transparency. Hyperledger framework initiatives include Hyperledger Sawtooth, Hyperledger Iroha, Hyperledger Fabric, and HyperledgerBurrow. Hyperledger Sawtooth is focused on supply chain solutions while Hyperledger Fabric helps businesses create blockchain-based applications.
Launched in 2016, Quorum is an Etherrum-based open-source blockchain platform that is used for creating blockchain-based solutions across several industries. This platform is focused on enterprise-level application and is a permissioned network that provides support for both public and private transactions. Quorum is also helping financial businesses by solving crucial issues such as data privacy and confidentiality.
Quorum code is open-source, allowing developers across the globe to contribute and help it evolve. The platform was first initiated by JP Morgan and is labelled as an enterprise-ready version of Ethereum. Quorum surpasses Ethereum with feature implementations such as smart contract privacy, increased transaction rates, voting-based consensus mechanisms, and peer permission management.
A money transfer and settlement blockchain network, Ripple is powered by the XRP cryptocurrency. Ripple enables companies, banks, and even individuals to transfer money within seconds, eliminating the need for third-party payment systems such as Western Union.
The platform’s scalability and transaction speed are among the prime selling points for Ripple. These allow the platform to help businesses make cross-border payments and mitigate liquidity costs. These out-of-the-box features and benefits have led to an increase in Ripple’s popularity, which eventually made it appealing to fintechs and other corporates. Corporate giants like UBS, Santander, Standard Chartered are using Ripple for their blockchain-based technological implementation.
We’ve discussed the widely used blockchain technology platforms for enterprise solutions. Each one of them has some common and some different features that make them suitable for different use cases i.e. some projects require heavy security, while others are very keen to have faster payment processing.
To conclude, your decision of choosing the appropriate blockchain platform will have a considerable impact on the way you will be able to leverage blockchain technology into your business processes. In short notes, the comparison between the blockchain platform will revolve around the following features:
- Privacy and Security: How the platform distinguishes itself from others in terms of network security and data privacy.
- Transparency: Is data transparency among the most important aspects for your blockchain project?
- Cost-efficiency: What business process do you want to streamline or optimise to gain cost-efficiency? Is it eliminating the mediators through smart contracts or automating and streamlining the data sharing process?
- Learning Curve: What are the capabilities of your in-house technical team? Most of the blockchain technology implementations happen through outsourcing as it is costly and impractical to hire dedicated resources for a project. Still, you will have to evaluate the platforms in terms of how easy they are to learn and implement. The easier the platform learning, the less the cost will be.
- Speed: You don’t necessarily need to adopt a blockchain technology development platform that promotes high-frequency data transfer, sometimes you just want a steady and secure network. So, this decision will heavily depend on your project.
I’ve tried to keep the article elaborative enough to help you understand the first step of how to build a decentralisation application – the blockchain platform selection. Still, if you have any questions or doubts, feel free to reach us out at email@example.com