Beginner’s Guide to Private Blockchain Platforms and Projects

Beginner’s Guide / 16.03.2020

Is Private Blockchain an Oxymoron?

We usually get puzzled and confused-looks from newcomers to the cryptosphere when we talk about a centralized party looking into “Blockchain Technology”. Or when a consortium of banks tries to find the best solutions using blockchain, to stay in the game.

Assuming most newcomers count bitcoin as their gateway to cryptocurrencies, they are exposed to a lot of fancy and disruptive words like “decentralized”, “open-source”, “trustless”, etc. The people who stay are swayed away by the hopes and dreams and alternate realities that they are exposed to.

That’s why most of them are absolutely clueless when asked about the future of ‘Private Blockchains’ or ‘Enterprise Blockchains’. Somehow, the word feels contradictory, like an oxymoron. How can a private enterprise take control of something open-source, community-based and decentralized by definition? How can consortiums be formed to look into corporate solutions? How can governments try to take charge of the innovation?

The Competitors to Open-Source

An application that is open for all participants to read, audit, edit and argue about the internal functioning of the network, is an open-source public blockchain. Public blockchains are relevant mostly because they function as autonomous entities that are not dependent on established organizations. They do not depend on third parties to proctor the day to day functioning of the network. Bitcoin and Ethereum are just some of the classic examples of what a Public blockchain can do.

A Private Blockchain is just the opposite. A ‘Private Blockchain’ is an in-house solution or application developed by a closed group of members. It leverages the principles of Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) to develop solutions built on the existing organizational infrastructure. Building enterprise-based blockchain projects acts as a way for centralized entities to compete with the advent of decentralized open-source technologies. It is an alternative for them to keep their foot in the game.

Let us look at some of the most enticing and competitive Private Blockchain projects that look to compete with the public blockchains:

Best Private Blockchain Projects

  • R3 Corda

Corda is an enterprise blockchain platform that enables easy management of legal contracts and other shared data between mutually trusting organizations. The platform makes it possible for a diverse range of applications to interoperate on a single network. The R3 Coalition is a consortium of some of the top finance giants in the business like Goldman Sachs, Barclays, Bank of America among others.

The Corda platform developed by R3 is considered the spearhead of Private blockchain adoption. With over $100 Million in funding and 50+ backers, Corda aims to develop the most efficient and trusted enterprise solutions. For now, Corda Enterprise, a commercial distribution version of Corda, has been released for enterprise use.

  • Hyperledger

Probably the most successful enterprise based blockchain project, Hyperledger is a platform built under the purview of IBM, with help from the Linux Foundation. Hyperledger is neither a company nor a cryptocurrency nor a blockchain. Instead, it is an open-source hub, which seeks to support industrial blockchain development. One can think of it as an open-source collective effort initiated by a private organization to accelerate the development of cross-industry blockchain technologies. Hyperledger has evolved into several sub-projects, each with its specialization. The important sub-platforms to look out for include Hyperledger Fabric, Sawtooth, Indy, Iroha, and Burrow.

  • Quorum

Quorum is built under the coalition of financial giant JP Morgan and public blockchain giant Ethereum. The platform was initiated to develop operations of smart contracts based enterprise solutions. Quorum, to compete with other private platforms, aims to specializes in enterprise automation by leveraging the Ethereum blockchain. Automation and the use of blockchain could allow users of Quorum to bypass intermediaries, third parties and commission agents by directly transacting with each other.

Conclusion

The Future of enterprise blockchain is evolving to a Blockchain 3.0 infrastructure. This new evolution can allow for high scalability, sustainability, and governance to existing centralized organizations. The platforms such as Corda, Quorum, etc., allow organizations rooted in traditional infrastructure to drive institutional adoption of the technology. It allows them to stay in the game when competing with the threat of open-source competition.

With the advent of enterprise-based solutions and innovation in Digital ledger mechanisms, the time has come for blockchain to come out from the shadows of cryptocurrency. Enterprise blockchains can push away from tokens to having an application with the merits of their own.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Sudarshan M is a long time crypto-enthusiast. Pulled in by bitcoin early on, it did not take long for Sudarshan to divert all of his academic attention from business studies to blockchain by doing his Masters and eventually pursuing his PhD in the subject.