Let me explain. The Lightning Network allows for the creation of “micropayment channels” across which multiple Bitcoin transactions can be securely performed without interacting with the blockchain, except for the initial transaction that initiates the channel. There is no counterparty risk: if any party ceases to cooperate, and/or does not respond within an agreed-on time limit, the channel can be closed and all its outstanding transactions kicked up to the blockchain to be settled there.
By definition, blockchain is a ledger of all transactions that have been executed and could be seen as a write-only platform, wherein transactions once executed cannot be modified later. This platform has been further divided into Public and Private blockchain. Is there a third one? a hybrid mode such as a ‘Consortium blockchain’ as represented by Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum, a decentralized web 3.0 publishing platform.
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Bitcoin’s block interval is ten minutes so it takes about five ten minutes on average for a new transaction to find its way into a block, even if it pays a high fee. This is too slow for some people so they have experimented with alternative cryptocurrencies, based on the Bitcoin code-base, which employ quicker block intervals [UPDATED 2014-10-27 to correct my embarrassing misunderstanding of mathematics…]
I said above that you can build sophisticated rules into Bitcoin transactions to specify how ownership is proved. However, the Bitcoin scripting language is deliberately limited and many ideas in the Smart Contracts space are difficult or impossible to implement. So projects such as Ethereum are building an entirely new infrastructure to explore these ideas
This type of permissioned blockchain model offers the ability to leverage more than 30 years of technical literature to realize significant benefits. Digital identity in particular, is fundamental for most industry use cases, be it handling supply chain challenges, disrupting the financial industry, or facilitating security-rich patient/provider data exchanges in healthcare. Only the entities participating in a particular transaction will have knowledge and access to it — other entities will have no access to it. Permissioned blockchains also permit a couple of orders of magnitude greater scalability in terms of transactional throughput.