The choice of blockchain type is the most important task when developing a blockchain technology solution to meet the needs of the supply chain. For this reason, it is important to understand the types of blockchain to choose the right one because not all of them are suitable for supply chain information management.
Key features of blockchain technology
In most cases, blockchains are decentralized, and all users can participate in verifying and recording transactions. Blockchain transactions are fast, secure, consistent, and tamper-proof. Here are more details about them:
- Transactions are delivered directly from the sender to the recipient, eliminating intermediaries.
- Blockchain networks operate 24/7 all over the world.
- A decentralized system of nodes provides collective protection against cyber attacks.
- Since the blockchain system is transparent and its data cannot be changed, it is one of the most secure systems. Blockchains are well protected from fraud and attacks. In addition, everyone can see the transactions in the system, which makes the blockchain transparent.
Permissioned and Permissionless Blockchains
All blockchains can be divided into permissioned, permissionless, and both. Blockchains without permissions allow any user to anonymously join the blockchain networks and become a validator node without restrictions on the rights of nodes in the blockchain. At the same time, Permissioned blockchains can restrict network access to certain nodes and limit the rights of these nodes in this network. At the same time, the user’s identity is known to other users of the blockchain platform.
A permissionless blockchain is considered a more secure network since many nodes verify transactions at once, so it will be difficult for attackers to collude in the network. However, there is a downside to the coin: the long processing of transactions due to a large number of nodes. For this reason, Permissioned blockchains are more efficient. In addition, since access to the network is limited, there are fewer nodes in the blockchain networks, and the speed of verified transactions increases significantly.
Thus, the advantage of Permissioned blockchains is also a disadvantage. The centralization of such blockchains in some central authorities makes it a less secure system that is more susceptible to traditional hacker vulnerabilities. In addition, fewer nodes in a blockchain network make it more vulnerable to hacker attacks, so the network administrator must ensure that the nodes are highly trusted.
Types of Blockchains
Having dealt with permissionless and permissioned Blockchains, we can move on to the types of blockchains.
Public blockchains do not require permissions and allow users to join the decentralized network. In addition, they are decentralized and will enable all blockchain nodes to have equal rights to access the blockchain, create new data blocks and validate them. The public network is used to exchange and mine cryptocurrencies. For example, popular public blockchains include bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and others. In such nodes, cryptocurrency is farmed by creating blocks for transactions by solving cryptographic equations. In exchange for this, the blockchain issues a small amount of cryptocurrency. Thus, the system rewards miners for processing transactions.
Private blockchains are permissioned blockchains controlled by a single entity. This means they are centralized, and the central authority determines who can be a node. In addition, he doesn’t need to be given equal rights to perform certain tasks. Public access to such blockchains is limited. If we talk about examples of a private blockchain network, then this is the virtual currency exchange private network between Ripple and Hyperledger enterprises.
Both private and public blockchains have their advantages and disadvantages. Due to their slow speed, public blockchains have longer validation times for new data. However, private blockchains are more vulnerable to fraud and dishonest practices. In order to eliminate these shortcomings, hybrid blockchains and consortium blockchains were invented.
A consortium blockchain is a permissioned blockchain that is managed by a group of organizations, not just one, as is the case with a private blockchain. This allows such blockchains to be more decentralized than private blockchains, which provides a higher level of security. However, the creation of consortiums also carries risks that may arise, as it requires cooperation between several organizations. For example, some members of organizations may not have the necessary technology or infrastructure to implement any of the blockchain tools. In addition, other organizations may decide that the costs of digitizing data and connecting to other participants in the supply chain management are too high, which will threaten the existence of the blockchain consortium.
An example of a blockchain consortium is the Global Shipping Business Network Consortium developed by CargoSmart. Thanks to this blockchain, the shipping industry is digitizing, allowing maritime industry operators to collaborate more closely.
A hybrid blockchain is a blockchain controlled by a single entity but with a level of oversight provided by a public blockchain. This is necessary to perform certain checks on transactions. A prominent representative of the hybrid blockchain is the IBM Food Trust, whose main goal is to increase the efficiency of the entire food supply chain. Another example of how blockchains are being used to improve the quality of life for ordinary people.
Blockchain Types for Supply Chain Use
Supply chains are essential to the functioning of many enterprises and critical infrastructure facilities. For this reason, their data protection should be the same as in a private, consortium, or hybrid blockchain. For this reason, consortium and hybrid types of blockchain will grow tremendously in the supply chain market in the long term.
Blockchain technology is popular all over the world and finds application in many critical areas of human life. In this regard, there is a need for different types of blockchains, each of which is better suited for certain purposes. We discussed public, private, consortium, and hybrid blockchains. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, knowing that you can make the right decision when choosing the most suitable blockchain.
There are several types of blockchains, each with advantages and disadvantages. So, for example, hybrid and consortium blockchains are very popular as they combine the benefits of public and private blockchains.
It all depends on the purposes for which the blockchain will be used. The most optimal is a hybrid or consortium blockchain, combining the advantages of a private and public blockchain.
There are four types of blockchains: private, public, hybrid, and consortium blockchain.