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Blockchain as technology was first presented over a decade ago. But, it was only recently brought to the public’s attention. Because everyone had access to information and there was no central authority regulating it, the distributed ledger technology was first dubbed “permissionless or public blockchain.” Permissionless blockchains are something everyone is aware of, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
The past year’s upheavals have accelerated the adoption of several new technologies, including blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLTs). While distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) have been available for more than a decade, the convergence of recent technical advances with economic and social factors has prompted businesses to reconsider if, when, and how to implement blockchain applications.
Rather than a single central authority, distributed ledger technology (e.g., blockchain) is an innovation in record-keeping. Transactions, authentications, and interactions are recorded throughout and confirmed by a network. Although the word blockchain is more often used than DLT (and is sometimes used interchangeably), blockchains are only one kind of distributed consensus structure.
DLT is best understood as an umbrella word for many distributed design principles and the technology that goes with them. Next, I’ll look at two key models for business decision-making: permissionless vs. permissioned blockchains.
At the most basic level, the difference is whether the network’s architecture allows everyone to join (permissionless) or is restricted to specific users (permissioned).
What is Permissionless Blockchain?
Permissionless blockchains are those that do not need any authorization to join or interact. They are sometimes referred to as public blockchains. A permissionless blockchain is suitable for operating and maintaining digital currency the majority of the time.
A user may establish a personal address on a permissionless blockchain and then engage with the network by either assisting the network in validating transactions or just sending transactions to another user on the network.
Bitcoin was the very first permissionless blockchain. It lets users exchange digital money with one another. Users may also engage with the network by taking part in the mining process. It is a procedure that involves solving complicated mathematical equations and then using the results to verify transactions. Bitcoin’s consensus algorithm is Proof-of-Work (PoW).
Other permissionless blockchains exist as well. Ethereum (ETH) is another prominent public permissionless type that uses the Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism (PoS). Other ideas, like smart contracts, are also introduced.
Permissionless blockchain has many applications. Some noteworthy ones are Voting, Digital Identity, and Fundraising.
Characteristics Of Permissionless blockchains
Permissionless blockchains offer several intriguing features. Let’s go through them now.
You can track or read the transactions if you have faith. As a result, you may put greater confidence in permissionless blockchains than in closed or permissioned blockchains.
True decentralization –
Permissionless blockchain technology is true decentralization. But what exactly do we mean by “fully decentralized”? Some systems, however, are not decentralized.
Permissionless blockchain is available to everyone. That does not, however, imply that it is not anonymous. Anyone who enters the network will stay anonymous since there will be no requirement for a KYC to join and traverse the network.
The network is transparent since public nodes may observe the transactions.
Secure –Every piece of data on the platform is immutable, which means you can’t alter it at any moment. Permissionless blockchains are more safe thanks to cryptography and other security features.
Aside from this, another important feature of permissionless blockchains is that anybody may join the network if they so choose. Permissionless blockchains are also very effective at incentivizing network users. They may be utilized to benefit the participants by bringing transparency and confidence to the whole network.
Benefits and Drawbacks
The Benefits of Permissionless Blockchains
- Permissionless blockchains are accessible to everyone. They instill confidence in all users or entities who engage with them.
- Users are also incentivized to participate in network activities while using permissionless blockchains.
The Drawbacks of Permissionless Blockchains
- When it comes to transaction speeds, a permissionless blockchain is sluggish.
- These blockchains are more difficult to grow.
Not all permissionless blockchains are energy efficient, and they may require a significant amount of computing power to verify transactions.
What are Permissioned Blockchains?
Permissioned blockchains are opposed to permissionless blockchains. Permissioned blockchain is similar to private blockchain in that it is closed.
There are many reasons why permissioned blockchains should be temporarily closed. The most significant distinction between permissionless and permissioned blockchain is that not everyone may join the blockchain. Joining the network requires specific authorization from the network administrator or owner.
So, what is the point of permissioned blockchains? The only goal is to build a blockchain network that is not accessible to the general public. However, not all blockchains must be public, and businesses cannot afford to make their operations or data public. This is where permissioned blockchain comes in handy, even if it deviates somewhat from the fundamental characteristic of blockchain, namely decentralization.
Banks, businesses, and other organizations that need to protect their data and comply with laws may utilize permissioned blockchain.
Ripple is a great example of a permissioned blockchain (XRP).
Permissioned blockchain has various applications, including research, food tracking, payments and banking, asset ownership, internal voting, management of the supply chain.
Varying degrees of decentralization –If you believe that decentralization can only be accomplished in one manner, you are mistaken. Decentralization may be achieved in various methods, including preserving the owner’s interest while still guaranteeing a few fundamental characteristics compatible with blockchain technology. We may conceive of it as different degrees of decentralization. In a public network, we have complete decentralization since it corresponds to the network’s ideology. Not every entity can now fully decentralize. It must settle for a milder form of decentralization in which a central authority decides who joins and who does not. Permissioned blockchains’ decentralization is also more versatile. This is because private networks may employ whatever consensus method they choose.
Governance –The organization is in charge of permissioned networks. They select members to the business network and ensure that most of the network is decentralized, with some central supervision. The organization may include the validator node(s) to verify transactions in a permissioned network.
Customizability –Organizations, may modify the networks to meet their specific needs.
Efficiency –Permissioned blockchains are efficient in terms of transaction speed and scalability.
Anonymity and transparency –Private blockchains are renowned for their transparency, although they are not required to be so by definition. They may, however, choose to be transparent through fostering trust inside the company. When it comes to privacy, encryption is used to safeguard each individual’s identity. Because they must complete a KYC when they join the network, only the centralized organization knows anything about the person.
Benefits and Drawbacks
Permissioned blockchain has clear benefits. Let’s go through a couple of them.
- Permissioned blockchains are often faster since they select their consensus mechanism and do not need every node for validation. These are much more scalable.
- Permissioned blockchain (consortium) can provide greater customization for businesses.
- Permissioned blockchains, too, may adhere to a governance framework.
The Drawbacks of Permissioned Blockchain
- A permissioned blockchain does not provide true decentralization.
- They are not as transparent.
- The admin must approve the member’s KYC before they may join the network.
- Less anonymity
Permissioned Blockchains Are More Convenient.
Okay, we’ve covered a lot of ground in terms of permissioned versus permissionless blockchain. Which one, though, is more practical? As you can see, both kinds have applications, benefits, drawbacks, and similarities.
Each of them caters to a certain use-case that the other cannot meet.
In summary, permissioned blockchains are opposed to permissionless blockchains. However, they are also more practical and have more real-world applications.
Permissionless blockchains are only appropriate for projects with a large audience – for example, if you are operating a cryptocurrency network, it is clear that you should use a permissionless network, such as bitcoin.
A currency for a private network is possible, but it is always an add-on rather than the primary goal of maintaining a private network. The argument is that money that is tied to a network will always get less attention.
A business or organization controls Permissioned blockchains. Therefore it is always the most practical option. No business would want to operate on a public blockchain where its data and trade secrets are vulnerable.
Permissioned blockchains are also more efficient, allowing businesses to connect their operations without fear of performance or scalability problems.
There is also disagreement about how blockchains should be characterized. We have decentralization at its heart, but not every network can afford it.
What Does the Future Hold?
When comparing permissioned versus permissionless Blockchains, the question isn’t which is “better.” A permissioned Blockchain can fulfill business needs for many corporate use cases that a permissionless Blockchain simply cannot. Some of the amazing application cases for industrial disruption, disintermediation, and social infrastructure, on the other hand, need an open, public Blockchain. As a result, assuming either in the absence of a well-defined use case is a pointless endeavor.
Fortunately, we are unlikely to have to choose between these two theories at any time. The truth is that the future will consist of many chains, each with as many distinct features as there are use cases. The choice between a permissionless and a permissioned model will be only one of several design choices, including consensus methods, smart contract language, integrations with current information sources, and other factors.
The true difficulty will be reconciling all of these variances with the common code. The Blockchain community is fully aware that any platform would struggle to gain momentum inside existing sectors without interoperability standards. The fast formation of many consortiums to investigate governance and standards in Blockchain development demonstrates that efforts toward this aim are underway. Although the sector is still in its infancy, there will come a day when we will not have to pick between our desires for decentralized connection and corporate efficiency.
Permissionless blockchains are game-changers. However, permissioned blockchains are evolving.
There is no doubt that permissionless blockchains can transform the financial sector.
Whereas an entrepreneur may be unable to get conventional funding, they may start their company and seek money on a public or permissionless blockchain. There are no guards to determine who should/shouldn’t be onboarded. Because everything is in arithmetic, there’s no mystery.
Putting it another way, just like the internet has democratized information and the cloud democratized software development, permissionless blockchains have the potential to democratize money.
In a decade characterized by disruption, it’s easy to understand how some technology with such far-reaching implications might grab everyone’s attention and steal the show. But, while ‘evolution’ might not be as enticing as revolution, it plays an equally essential role in bringing us to wherever there is a need to go.
The ideology, capabilities, and adoption affordances of permissioned and permissionless blockchains are different. Companies that want to use blockchains must grasp these subtleties to prevent expensive errors down the line. Because of the maturity of today’s blockchain stacks, permissionless models are better suited when cryptoeconomics are included in the business model. Permissioned models are a better match for companies who want to utilize blockchain-primarily to have a trustworthy, non-repudiable source of truth. Companies are expected to utilize several kinds of blockchains concurrently in the future.
While public and private blockchains were formerly the most common, permissioned blockchains, which provide a medium route between the two, are becoming more popular since they allow for restricted operations even by external suppliers and providers.