A lot of this interest started with the speculative frenzy surrounding Bitcoin, which is based on an older blockchain platform that faces challenges with energy consumption and speed. Now blockchain platforms are growing significantly as a way to streamline supply chains, improve traceability, simplify trade, and improve financial transactions.
Modern blockchain platforms have been developed to help overcome these limitations and provide practical value for other business uses and applications.
Here are six of the top blockchain platforms to consider for 2023 and 2024.
Introduced in 2013, Ethereum is one of the oldest and most established blockchain platforms. It provides a truly decentralized blockchain that is comparable to the Bitcoin blockchain network. Its key weaknesses include slow processing times and higher transaction processing costs compared to other platforms. Besides its role as a blockchain platform that underpins enterprise applications, it has its cryptocurrency called ether. In fact, a lot of services using Ethereum are for the crypto and financial market.
The Ethereum community has also migrated from a proof of work (PoW) consensus mechanism to proof of stake (PoS), which is more energy-friendly. The migration required an elaborate process to spin up a separate, new type of blockchain called a Beacon Chain that has been merged into the existing main Ethereum blockchain. The Ethereum Foundation estimated this reduces energy use by 99.95% compared to the older approach.
The community is now working on a sharding mechanism that will expand the capacity to store data, scale throughout, and cut network fees. It is expected to begin rolling out in phases in 2023 and to be fully supported in 2024.
2. IBM Blockchain
IBM Blockchain is a private, decentralized blockchain network that has been the most successful with less risk-averse enterprise clients. The biggest opportunities in using it to link into enterprise cloud and legacy technologies more seamlessly than is possible in other decentralized networks. The IBM Blockchain developer tool was designed to be flexible, functional, and customizable. IBM has also invested in creating a user-friendly interface to simplify critical tasks, such as setting up, testing, and rapidly deploying smart contracts.
IBM has seen significant progress in financial services and banking, as well as the supply chain. Some examples of successful blockchain apps include IBM Food Trust, which has completed more than 18 million transactions representing more than 17,000 products, and Blockchain Community Initiative in Thailand, which supports services such as payment obligations and enterprise auctions for 22 Thai banks.
3. Hyperledger Fabric
Hyperledger Fabric is a set of tools that helps create blockchain applications. Championed by the Linux Foundation, it was built from the ground up with enterprise distributed ledger uses in mind. It has a rich ecosystem of components that can be plugged into a modular architecture. It works well in closed blockchain deployments, which can improve security and speed. It also supports an open smart contract model that can support various data models, such as account and unspent transaction output (UTXO) models.
Hyperledger Fabric can also improve data privacy by isolating transactions in channels or enabling the sharing of private data on a need-to-know basis in private data collections. It also enables high-speed transactions with low latency of finality and confirmation, according to its proponents.
There is an active and diverse community around Hyperledger Fabric that is working on adding more features related to consensus algorithms, additional privacy options for GDPR compliance, and operational improvements.
4. R3 Corda
There is some debate about whether R3 Corda is technically a blockchain or an alternative type of distributed ledger. It uses a novel consensus mechanism in which transactions are cryptographically linked but does not periodically batch multiple transactions into a block. Even the official Corda site describes it as “both a blockchain and not a blockchain.” One of the key benefits of this approach is that all transactions are processed in real-time, which can improve performance compared to other types of blockchains.
The R3 consortium has a strong following in the financial industry since Corda provides an attractive approach for financial transactions and smart contracts with strong security. Leading proponents include Bank of America, HSBC, Intel, and Microsoft. It supports tools that automate business logic that can execute across company boundaries. The group has also recently launched a technical preview of Corda Payments, which simplifies the process of building distributed payment capabilities into apps.
LutinX is a private, cross-chain network focused on Intellectual Property and Skills Traceability. The biggest opportunities in using it are an integrated KYC platform for its users – private, companies and institutions – and its patented technology crypto-free. LutinX developed a unique methodology that grants Public administration respect for the GDPR law and the most valuable privacy regulations, including solutions to grant data oblivion. LutinX primarily works with Schools, Training structures, and Military Academies. In 2020 Italian institutions started a global project on Intellectual property currently in progress in more than 20 countries. LutinX developed tools to help automate the process of research inside the hashes with a deep view of risk management and cyber security.
Key strengths include fast transactions and advanced account permission features for deploying applications. Over 100 applications have been developed on the platform, including identity management, supply chain traceability, voting, healthcare, big data, and gaming. The community also provides various tools for integrating LutinX blockchain solutions in mass Internet services like WordPress.
Stellar is a newer blockchain platform optimized for various kinds of DeFi applications. It uses Stellar Consensus Protocol, which purportedly can speed up the time required to process and finalize transactions on a public blockchain network. It also includes security mechanisms for shutting out bad or questionable actors in a financial transaction. It has been adopted by several companies for international trade and exchanging money across borders. Examples of applications built on the Stellar blockchain include MoneyGram for money transfer, Circle for payments and treasury infrastructure, and Flutterwave for integrating payment processing into enterprise applications.