Private blockchains are valuable for solving efficiency, security and fraud problems within traditional financial institutions, but only incrementally. It’s not very likely that private blockchains will revolutionize the financial system. Public blockchains, however, hold the potential to replace most functions of traditional financial institutions with software, fundamentally reshaping the way the financial system works.
“Blockchain could significantly reduce time delays and human mistakes, and monitor cost, labor, waste and emissions at every point in the supply chain. In the food sector, a manufacturer could automatically identify contaminated products in a matter of seconds and wouldn’t need to pull an entire product line from store shelves in the case of contamination.”
Because decentralization has been viewed by many as intrinsic to the revolutionary potential of blockchain, the point of private blockchains might be called into question. However, blockchains offer much more than a structure that accommodates decentralization. Among other features, their strong cryptography and auditability offers them more security than traditional protocols (although not bulletproof, as noted), and they allow for the development of new cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, voting platforms, accounting systems, and any type of data archive can arguably be optimized with blockchain technology. We are still in the early days of blockchain technology, and the power it has to reshape older systems has yet to be seen.
A private blockchain on the other hand provides only the owner to have the rights on any changes that have to be done. This could be seen as a similar version to the existing infrastructure wherein the owner (a centralized authority) would have the power to change the rules, revert transactions, etc. based on the need. This could be a concept with huge interest from FI’s and large companies. It could find use cases to build proprietary systems and reduce the costs, while at the same time increase their efficiency. Some of the examples could be:
To most people, Bitcoin itself is already deeply esoteric (and many still find it risible.) But to cryptocurrency aficionados, tired old garden-variety Bitcoin is so five minutes ago. Explaining today’s new cryptocurrency hotness to a general audience is an interesting challenge–I have an engineering degree from a top-tier school and I write software for a living, and I still find much of this material pretty impenetrable on first acquaintance–but here goes:
Third option is to write your own blockchain protocol according to your needs. You will be able to answer all your what if questions if you design it by yourself. Ripple, Hyperledger projects (Fabric, Burrow, Indy), Corda, Multichain and most flexible and popular one Ethereum can be examples of that option. That option is the most costly and risky one. You have to invest a lot, and after you create your blockchain, you have to find people & companies to use it. Also you need to attract community of developers to upgrade, enhance your blockchain for coming requirements in the future. Above blockchains are the ones I remember immediately, also there are others.
As RSK plans to host all types of clients and smart contracts: financial industry players, educational institutions, large importing companies, government and individuals, which means they are full on attack mode on Ethereum’s business model. There are endless opportunities within a market with unlimited potential and we could now see a first real competitor for Ethereum, that has a big hashrate, secure network, safer environment for developers, much higher throughput and solved scalability issues.
There has been tremendous interest in blockchain, the technology on which Bitcoin functions. Nakamoto developed the blockchain as an acceptable solution to the game theory puzzle – Byzantine General’s Problem. This lead to a number of firms adopting the technology in different ways to solve real world issues, wherever there was an element of trust involved. Majority of them could be relating to the ability to provide proof of ownership – for documents, software modules/licenses, voting etc.
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By design, a blockchain is resistant to modification of the data. It is "an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way". For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for inter-node communication and validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires consensus of the network majority. Although blockchain records are not unalterable, blockchains may be considered secure by design and exemplify a distributed computing system with high Byzantine fault tolerance. Decentralized consensus has therefore been claimed with a blockchain.
The information on every public blockchain is subsequently replicated to sometimes thousands of nodes on the network. No one power administers it centrally, hence, hackers can’t destroy the network by crippling one central server. Read this article “What is Blockchain technology? A step-by-step Guide For Beginners”, for a more detailed description of the technology.
Private blockchains, or as I like to call them, shared databases, have a place in improving efficiency for financial institution for back-office settlement processes. They should not be seen as controversial, or part of some dialectic struggle between punks and police. To the extent that the identifying shroud of AML/KYC can be placed into public blockchain metadata (possible in Omni Layer transactions over the Bitcoin blockchain) there may even be interoperability between these two sides of the train tracks. Right now, due to state-granted monopolies to issue credit, most of the world's liquidity is still in banks. However, we believe that in the long-term, public blockchains, especially those based on work, will come to take a more significant part in the ‘System D’ informal economy, which is where most of the global economic growth will originate.”
Blockstream recently released a whitepaper on “strong federations,” which is essentially their vision of a federated two-way peg system. Liquid is a sidechain created by Blockstream that uses the strong federations model. The sidechain is used to transfer bitcoins between centralized bitcoin institutions, such as exchanges, at a faster pace than the public Bitcoin blockchain.
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The public blockchain is open to anyone who wants to deploy smart contracts and have their executions performed by public mining nodes. Bitcoin is one of the largest public blockchain networks today. As such, there is limited privacy in the public blockchain. Mining nodes in the public blockchain requires a substantial amount of computational power to maintain the distributed ledger at a large scale. In the Ethereum public blockchain, smart contract codes can be viewed openly.
“The consortium or company running a private blockchain can easily, if desired, change the rules of a blockchain, revert transactions, modify balances, etc. In some cases, e.g. national land registries, this functionality is necessary; there is no way a system would be allowed to exist where Dread Pirate Roberts can have legal ownership rights over a plainly visible piece of land, and so an attempt to create a government-uncontrollable land registry would in practice quickly devolve into one that is not recognized by the government itself….
@tradles – thanks for taking the time to explain this. OK – so I get the debate around blockchain bloat and the (grudging) inclusion of OP_RETURN, etc., but what I’m missing is that I can only really see one scenario where embedding any identity data into the blockchain makes sense…. and that’s when I want to *associate* an identity with a transaction I’m performing.
The term “sidechains” was first described in the paper “Enabling Blockchain Innovations with Pegged Sidechains”, circa 2014 by Adam Back et al. The paper describes “two-way pegged sidechains”, a mechanism where by proving that you had “locked” some coins that were previously in your posession, you were allowed to move some other coins within a sidechain.
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To scale Blockchain, sidechain or childchain solutions cannot be undermined. Sidechains are separate Blockchains that are linked to the main Blockchain using a two-way peg. They are an auxiliary network that executes the complementary function of: faster transactions, lower transaction costs and greater scalability in terms of the number of transactions that can be supported in a network at a given time.
Jump up ^ Redrup, Yolanda (29 June 2016). "ANZ backs private blockchain, but won't go public". Australia Financial Review. Archived from the original on 3 July 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2016. Blockchain networks can be either public or private. Public blockchains have many users and there are no controls over who can read, upload or delete the data and there are an unknown number of pseudonymous participants. In comparison, private blockchains also have multiple data sets, but there are controls in place over who can edit data and there are a known number of participants.
At Iryo, we consider databases and blockchains that are not opened to the public to be insecure they, can easily be altered by the business running it, at their discretion and it goes against the ethos of the open and transparent cryptocurrency space. Designed to keep public out and introducing “trusted” middlemen, private chains forget that trusted third parties are security holes.
"I see quite a few use cases for private blockchains, and they definitely have their place. Traditional institutions won't switch to a completely public blockchain from one day to the other. A private blockchain is a great first step towards a more cryptographic future. The biggest advantages of private blockchains in comparison to centralized databases are the cryptographic auditing and known identities. Nobody can tamper with the data, and mistakes can be traced back. In comparison to a public blockchain it is much faster, cheaper and respects the company's privacy. As a conclusion, it's better to rely on a private blockchain than no cryptographic system at all. It has merits and pushes the blockchain terminology into the corporate world, making truly public blockchains a bit more likely for the future."