Public vs. Private Blockchains: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Hyperledger

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What difference does it make?

You might be familiar with Bitcoin, Litecoin, or all the other cryptocurrencies. What about blockchain? Apart from knowing that it is the basis of all crypto, what other real-world use cases does blockchain technology bring? Or simply, what are the differences between a public and a private blockchain? Which is better?

Public vs private: Same but different?

In a nutshell, public and private blockchains are two very different things.

Most of us understand the rationale behind blockchain – a distributed, decentralized public ledger that stores lists of records in blocks that are interconnected to each other through cryptography, thus ensuring the confidentially of the transactions. They are time-stamped, immutable and not managed by any central authorities or computers.

This is called public blockchain.

For example, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the soon-launching OKChain are public blockchains. It allows anyone to join the network, read, write, or participate within the blockchain, but no one has the authority to control the whole network. Data on a public blockchain are secure as it has been validated and impossible to modify on-chain.

Private blockchains, on the other hand, are controlled by one or more entities and restrict participants’ access to the network, only people involved in the transaction know the whole picture, such as the Hyperledger network.

The major difference between public and private blockchains is the level of access granted to participants. Public blockchains are permissionless and decentralized. Anyone can verify and add transaction data on-chain. It is completely open, with open-source computing codes that can be inspected, verified and downloaded by those who wish to become a full node or a miner. Private blockchains are more centralized in nature as they only allow certain people to participate in a closed network. In a private blockchain, every…

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