Top Blockchain Platforms of 2019

With the increasing demand of blockchain, everyone has started to experience the potential of this technology. Initially, blockchain brought disruption in the financial industry, but now its uses have been investigated across various industries.

Since the businesses have started to explore the capability of blockchain by building blockchain application, the demand for the blockchain development platform is also off the charts. The growth of dApp development is also another reason that the number of blockchain platforms is increasing day by day.

Now, the question is do you know what is a blockchain platform.

Blockchain platforms allow the development of blockchain-based applications. They can either be permissioned or permissionless. Ethereum, Hyperledger, R3, Ripple and EOS are a few names that have built blockchain frameworks, allowing people to develop and host applications on the blockchain.

Let us first discuss the factors that can help you decide the best blockchain platform for your business.

How to select a Blockchain Platform for your business?

As one of the top blockchain companies, we have selected the blockchain platforms based on the subjective evaluation of their ease of prototyping. We have done an in-depth analysis of the platforms mentioned below based on the following factors:

What is the development status of a platform?

Checking how active is the development of a platform in GitHub or other related communities. Know if the platform’s code has been tested multiple times or if the platform is still in the development stage.

What type of Blockchain do you require?

To understand the type of blockchain your use case requires, you should first know what are the different types of blockchain. Make sure to choose the platform based on the network it supports, i.e., public, permissioned or private blockchain network.

What Languages does the platform support?

Blockchain is still in its nascent stage and many new programming languages have been introduced. Before selecting a blockchain framework, know what programming languages are supported by SDKs of that platform.

How popular is the platform?

Look at the reputation of a blockchain platform on websites like GitHub or Reddit.

What Blockchain Consensus Protocol does the platform use to achieve consensus?

It is challenging to work on the blockchain platform if you don’t understand its consensus protocol. Since there are different types of consensus algorithms such as Proof of Work, Proof of Stake, Proof of Burn and many more, it is crucial to understand that which blockchain platform supports what consensus protocol.

Does the platform support Smart Contracts Functionality?

Not all blockchain platforms support the concept of smart contracts which are responsible for validating, triggering or enforcing actions on the blockchain systems.

What kind of scalability does your solution need?

As the number of transactions and participants increase, a blockchain network should be able to scale to adapt to the growth. In case your project is not transaction intensive and only requires periodic data review such as escrow agreement, you should limit network decisions to quality, ease of use, access and cost.

On the other hand, if your project is transaction intensive, ensure to determine side-chain implications for security and assess network transaction fees.

A study done by IBM says that out of 3,000 global C-level executives, 33 percent of organizations are considering to engage with blockchain technology.

We have analyzed the different blockchain platforms used by top blockchain companies and have come up with a list of widely-used platforms for blockchain-based applications.

If you are new to technology, this article will help you to choose the right blockchain platform for your project.

Author’s Bio

Akash Takyar
Akash Takyar
CEO LeewayHertz
Akash Takyar is the author of Blockchain Technology and Business book. He is the co-founder of LeewayHertz and is a consultant to fortune 500 companies including Siemens, 3M, Hershey’s and others. He has a Masters Degree in Computer Science. Akash’s experience of building over 100+ apps allows him to rapidly architect and design solutions. His ability to explain complex technologies in simple and practical ways has resulted in him becoming a popular speaker at colleges, universities, and conferences.

Here is the comparison of best blockchain platforms used by companies for building blockchain based applications

EthereumHyperledger FabricR3 CordaRippleQuorumHyperledger SawtoothEOSHyperledger IrohaOpenChainStellar
Industry focusCross-IndustryCross-IndustryFinancial ServicesFinancial ServicesCross-IndustryCross-IndustryCross-IndustryCross-IndustryDigital Asset ManagementFinancial Services
Ledger TypePermissionlessPermissionedPermissionedPermissionedPermissioned Permissioned Permissioned Permissioned Permissioned Both Public & Private
Consensus Algorithm Proof of Work Pluggable Framework Pluggable Framework Probabilistic Voting Majority Voting Pluggable Framework Delegated Proof-of-Stake Chain-based Byzantine Fault Tolerant Partionned Consensus Stellar Consensus Protocol
Smart Contract Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Governance  Ethereum Developers Linux Foundation R3 Consortium Ripple Labs Ethereum Developers and JP Morgan Chase Linux Foundation EOSIO Core Arbitration Forum(ECAF) Linux Foundation CoinPrism Stellar Development Foundation

Ethereum

Founded in late 2013, Ethereum is an open-source and blockchain based distributed computing platform proposed by Vitalk Buterin, a 22-year old Russian-Canadian programmer. Ethereum is known for running smart contracts on a custom-built blockchain. Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) provides the run-time environment to smart contracts in Ethereum. Every node within the network has to run an EVM implementation.

Though enterprises have adopted Ethereum widely, it is essential to understand that Ethereum is a public (permissionless) blockchain platform, built for restricted access versus mass consumption. Moreover, it is PoW (Proof of Work) based platform, which is comparatively slower in terms of speed. But it might change its consensus algorithm to Proof of Stake in the coming years.

Ether is a native cryptocurrency of Ethereum, used for fueling the Ethereum ecosystem. A developer who builds applications using Ethereum has to pay charges in Ethers, for executing transactions and running apps on the Ethereum network.

Ethereum has also built a large online support community to keep everyone up-to-date with product enhancements and updates.

The Ethereum Enterprise Alliance (EEA) is a non-profit organization with more than 250 members, connects Fortune 500 companies, academics, start-ups, and blockchain companies with Ethereum subject matter experts. Members of the EEA include Microsoft, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Intel, who are embracing the use of Ethereum platform.

Industry Focus: Cross-Industry
Consensus Algorithm: Proof of Work
Governance: Ethereum Developers
Smart Contract Functionality: Yes
Ledger Type: Permissionless

Hyperledger Fabric

Hyperledger Fabric Blockchain Platform

Hyperledger Fabric is another project of Hyperledger, intended for building blockchain based solutions or applications using a modular architecture. The modularity of the architecture allows network designers to plug in their preferred components like membership services and consensus, distinguishing it from other blockchain solutions.

Hyperledger Fabric framework is designed for permissioned networks, enabling known identities to participate within a system. The participants within this network should be authorized and should have credibility in capital to take part in the blockchain.

Digital Asset and IBM initially contributed to Hyperledger Fabric platform as a result of the first hackathon. Blockchain companies prefer building enterprise-grade applications using this blockchain platform.

Industry Focus: Cross-Industry
Consensus Algorithm: Pluggable Framework
Governance: Linux Foundation
Smart Contract Functionality: Yes
Ledger Type: Permissioned

Hyperledger Sawtooth

Hyperledger Sawtooth Blockchain Platform

Launched by the Linux Foundation and contributed by IBM and Digital Asset, Hyperledger Sawtooth is an enterprise-grade and modular platform, designed for creating, deploying, and executing distributed ledgers which enable digital records to be maintained without a central authority.

Sawtooth’s PoET (Proof of Elapsed Time) consensus mechanism enables Hyperledger Sawtooth to integrate with hardware security solutions, known as “trusted execution environments” and Intel’s newly launched Xeon processor is one of its applications.

It is Hyperledger’s second open-source blockchain platform to integrate with an enterprise-ready 1.0 version. The launch of 1.0 software solutions is essential for every developer as it indicates that the maintainers are still dedicated to the core features. So, it gives blockchain companies a sense of confidence that whatever they build, won’t break because of future upgrades.

Recently, Hyperledger has announced the release of Sawtooth version 1.1. Earlier, they released Sawtooth 1.0 which marked the production-ready status of the platform. But in the new release, they have introduced support for WebAssembly smart contracts and an improved consensus interface.

Industry Focus: Cross-Industry
Consensus Algorithm: Pluggable Framework
Governance: Linux Foundation
Smart Contract Functionality: Yes
Ledger Type: Permissioned

Check our work on Hyperledger Sawtooth: TraceRX

Hedera Hashgraph

Hedera Hashgraph Blockchain Platform

Providing a new form of distributed consensus, Hedera Hashgraph platform is lightning secure, fast and fair platform that does not need to compute a heavy proof of work algorithm.

Hedera empowers and enables developers to build an entirely new class of decentralized applications that are scalable.

The Hedera Hashgraph Council is the governing body of the Hedera Hashgraph platform and the terms made in Hedera’s governance ensures no single member can have control and no small groups can have extreme influence over the entire body.

Smart contracts in Hedera Hashgraph platform can be made dynamic just like any other software component. Since it offers an optional mechanism which allows “binding arbitration”, the smart contracts deployed with a list of the public key of arbitrators can be edited to fix bugs or add new features.

If a designated arbitrator agrees on the amendment of a smart contract, the transaction having a new bytecode is approved by the arbitrator’s keys and the change is implemented.

Here’s why should you use Hedera Hashgraph platform

  • Fast
    Hedera Hashgraph is fast just like the speed of your internet. Having the capability to handle hundreds of thousands of transactions per second and authenticate more than one million signatures per second, time to finality for Hedera platform is measured in seconds; not minutes, hours, or days.
  • Fair
    Hedera Hashgraph is fair, ensuring the consensus order of transactions which represents the transaction order received by the community. The platform makes sure no single user is allowed to block the transactions flow into the community.
  • Secure
    As Hedera Hashgraph is asynchronous Byzantine fault tolerant, Hedera Hashgraph has the strongest level of security. Achieving this level of security at scale is a fundamental advance in the field of distributed systems.

Industry Focus: Cross-Industry
Consensus Algorithm: Asynchronous Byzantine Fault Tolerance
Governance: Hedera Hashgraph Council
Smart Contract Functionality: Yes
Ledger Type: Permissioned

Ripple

Ripple Blockchain Platform

Discovered in 2012, Ripple is aimed at connecting payment providers, digital asset exchanges, banks, and corporate via blockchain network, RippleNet without any chargebacks. It allows global payments through a digital asset called “XRP or Ripple,” which is now one of the popular cryptocurrencies like Ether and Bitcoin.

Built on the advanced blockchain technology, XRP is more scalable and faster than other blockchains. Ripple uses probabilistic voting to reach the consensus between nodes.

Currently, it has more than 100 customers and around 75 clients in different stages of commercial deployment primarily across three use cases, i.e., minimizing liquidity costs (xRapid), sending payments across multiple networks (xVia), and cross-border payments (xCurrent).

Big brands like Santander, American Express, MoneyGram International, SBI Holdings, and Deloitte are testing the potential of Ripple’s Blockchain and planning to integrate it to make the existing payment processes secure and faster.

Industry Focus: Financial Services
Consensus Algorithm: Probabilistic Voting
Governance: Ripple Labs
Smart Contract Functionality: No
Ledger Type: Permissioned

Quorum

 

Quorum Blockchain Platform

Founded by J.P. Morgan, Quorum is an enterprise-focused version of Ethereum. It modifies Ethereum’s core and therefore, can incorporate the Ethereum updates seamlessly and quickly.

Similar to Ethereum, Quorum is also open-source and free to use blockchain platform in perpetuity. Unlike other blockchain platforms, it uses vote based and different algorithms to process hundreds of transactions per seconds. Designed to be permissioned, the networks using Quorum won’t be open to everyone. It can handle applications requiring high throughput processing and speed of private transactions.

Quorum resolves the issue of the confidentiality of records that Ethereum and other blockchains failed to handle by introducing private and public on-chain transactions.

Industry Focus: Cross-Industry
Consensus Algorithm: Majority Voting
Governance: Ethereum Developers and JP Morgan Chase
Smart Contract Functionality: No
Ledger Type: Permissioned

Hyperledger Iroha

Hyperledger Iroha platform

Hosted by the Linux Foundation, Hyperledger Iroha is a blockchain platform for building trusted, secure and fast decentralized applications.

It is a simple and modularized distributed ledger system based on a highly secure and fast consensus algorithm called Yet Another Consensus, protecting Iroha networks from adversary nodes or failures. Being portable and supporting macOS and Linux environment, the platform is highly applicable for supply chain and IoT use cases.

The National Bank of Cambodia and Soramistu Co. Ltd. are working together to develop the distributed ledger project, i.e., Hyperledger Iroha.

Here’s why should you choose Hyperledger Blockchain

  1. Modular Architecture
    Developers are encouraged to build components that can take advantage of the plug and play nature of Hyperledger.
  2. Transparent Process
    While the transactions on Fabric might be obfuscated, the development process is not. In fact, the core teams behind Hyperledger have worked hard to create a healthy balance between transparency in the development process and attaining important milestones.
  3. Smart Contracts
    Hyperledger also uses (chain code) smart contracts just like Ethereum does.

Industry Focus: Cross-Industry
Consensus Algorithm: Chain-based Byzantine Fault Tolerant
Governance: Linux Foundation
Smart Contract Functionality: Yes
Ledger Type: Permissioned

Corda

Corda Blockchain Platform

R3 is a consortium of world’s leading financial institutions that built one of the open source blockchain platforms called Corda in 2015. Corda is a cutting-edge blockchain platform, which enables institutions to transact directly with smart contracts by removing costly frictions in business transactions.

Corda does not have a cryptocurrency or built-in token and is a permissioned blockchain platform which only allows the authorized participants to access the data, not the entire network. Since it operates in a permissioned mode, it enhances privacy and offers fine-grained access control to digital records.

Designed initially by the financial industry, for the financial sector, Corda is now being applied in various other uses cases like healthcare, trade finance, supply chain, and government authorities.

More than 60 firms, including Intel and Microsoft, are using Corda as a blockchain platform. HSBC, Intel, Bank of America Merill Lynch, and dozens of other institutions have invested around $107 million into R3 Corda.

Industry Focus: Cross-Industry
Consensus Algorithm: Asynchronous Byzantine Fault Tolerance
Governance: Hedera Hashgraph Council
Smart Contract Functionality: Yes
Ledger Type: Permissioned

EOS

EOS Blockchain Platform

Launched as open-source software in June 2018, EOS is a blockchain platform founded by a private company, Block.one. It is designed for the development of dApps (Decentralized applications). The company distributed one billion ERC-20 tokens to ensure widespread distribution of their cryptocurrency and allow anyone to use EOS blockchain after it was released.

The goal of the platform is to offer decentralized application’s hosting, decentralized storage of enterprise solutions and smart contract capability, solving the scalability issues of Ethereum and Bitcoin. Also, it eliminates the fees for all users, i.e., no one needs to pay to avail the benefits of a dApp based on EOS.

EOS accomplishes consensus by using multi-threading as well as a delegated proof-of-stake algorithm. They have their own community forum named as EOS Forum, enabling developers and investors to discuss the platform and EOS Talk for their users based on the steem blockchain.

Here’s why should you choose EOS blockchain for app development

  1. Free to use
    The end user does not need to pay via micropayments to perform various tasks or send messages on the EOS platform.
  2. Features
    The EOS platform provides the producers with a governance system which they can use to vote on to validate transactions, edits made to the source code of the platform and confirm whether an application is performing correctly.
  3. Authenticity
    The platform offers a fully-featured authentication platform to the users where each account will be given a different permission level to save data in a secure manner.

Industry Focus: Cross-Industry
Consensus Algorithm: Delegated Proof of Stake
Governance: EOSIO Core Arbitration Forum (ECAF)
Smart Contract Functionality: Yes
Ledger Type: Permissioned

OpenChain

Openchain Platform

The platform OpenChain has been Developed by Coinprism, a company behind the colored coins standard Open Assets.

OpenChain is an open-source distributed ledger technology, highly suited for organizations willing to manage the digital assets in a secure and scalable manner. Unlike the consensus mechanism used in Bitcoin, it uses Partionned Consensus where one instance will only have a single authority for validation of transactions.

Since there is no miner in the OpenChain, the transactions are free of costs and can be validated by the asset administrator, making it more efficient than other platforms.

Industry Focus: Digital Asset Management
Consensus Algorithm: Partitioned Consensus
Governance: Linux Foundation
Smart Contract Functionality: Yes
Ledger Type: Permissioned

Stellar

Stellar Blockchain platform

Stellar is a distributed blockchain based ledger used for facilitating cross-asset transfers of value. Similar to Ripple, it can also deal with exchanges between cryptocurrencies and fiat based currencies. It is possible to build banking tools, smart devices and mobile wallets using the Stellar network.

Stellar Consensus Protocol (SCP) makes it possible to reach consensus without depending on a closed system for recording financial transactions. Having a set of provable safety properties, SCP optimizes for safety over liveness by halting the progress of the network until a consensus can be reached in case of misbehaving nodes or partition.

As compared to the decentralized proof-of-work and proof-of-stake algorithms, SCP has modest financial and computing requirements, reducing the barrier to entry and opening up financial system to new participants.

SureRemit leverages Stellar blockchain for connecting immigrants in abroad with the merchants providing the services required by their loved ones in a different country. Many other companies like Transfer To, NaoBTC, RippleFox, and ICICI Bank are integrating with the Stellar network to enable money transfers across borders.

Industry Focus: Financial Services
Consensus Algorithm: Stellar Consensus Protocol
Governance: Stellar Development Foundation
Smart Contract Functionality: Yes
Ledger Type: Both public and private

Dragonchain Platform

Dragonchain’s Blockchain as a Service Platform is designed to provide developers and enterprises the useful resources required to develop blockchain applications in minutes.

Originally developed at the Walt Disney Company in 2014 and open-sourced later in 2016, the Dragonchain platform has been specifically designed for enterprises. It’s public/private hybrid blockchain platform offers ease of use and high performance to develop and deploy blockchain apps and microservice-based smart contracts.

Their blockchain as a service offers flexibility to businesses by allowing them to utilize Interchain that provides the capabilities of other blockchains. With their cloud-based model for Blockchain as a Service, the need for patch implementation, updates and server setup is eliminated.

Also, the platform can support any programming language, including Python, Node.js, Java, C# and Go. With five levels of consensus, Dragonchain offers a wide spectrum of trust and allows users to use multiple proof protocols.

Industry Focus: Cross-Industry
Consensus Algorithm: Context-Based Verification with five levels of consensus
Governance: Dragonchain Foundation
Smart Contract Functionality: Yes
Ledger Type: Public, Private and Hybrid

NEO

NEO Blockchain Platform

Neo was founded by the same duo who established blockchain R&D company “OnChain” in Shangai, – Da Hongfei (CEO) and Erik Zhang (CTO).

Designed to develop scalable decentralized applications, the base asset of the NEO blockchain is NEO token. The role of NEO token is to generate GAS tokens which can be used to pay transaction fees to run applications on the network.

Neo uses Delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance as its consensus algorithm. The creators of Neo selected this protocol because it allows better performance and scaling as compared to other consensus mechanisms.

The three components that form Neo Smart Economy are:

  • Digital Assets
    Digital assets exist as electronic data. Using blockchain, assets digitization can be trustful, transparent, traceable, free of intermediaries and decentralized. Users can register, trade and transfer different types of digital assets on the Neo platform.
  • Digital Identity
    Identity information that remains in the form of electronic data is referred to as digital identity. Neo maintains a set of X.509 compatible digital identity standards to support the web of trust point-to-point certificate issuance model.
  • Smart Contract
    Using Neo SmartContract system, developers do not require to learn a new programming language. Rather, they can use Java, C# or other languages to develop smart contracts.

Industry Focus: Smart Economy
Consensus Algorithm: Delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance
Governance: On-chain governance through votes of NEO holders and Off-chain governance through NEO Foundation support.
Smart Contract Functionality: Yes
Ledger Type: Permissioned

Since blockchain is moving at a frenetic pace of innovation, new platforms have started to emerge with additional features and new releases. No doubt that there are plenty of blockchain platforms available across the world, enterprises need to understand the right platforms to build highly scalable applications.

Therefore, we have discussed the platforms used by the top blockchain companies including IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and so on.

As one of the leading blockchain companies, we provide blockchain consultation to our clients and help them select the right blockchain platform and technology stack that meets their business needs.

At LeewayHertz, we have an innovative team of blockchain developers who have a deep understanding of blockchain concepts and understand how to build applications using the blockchain platforms mentioned above in the article.

Author’s Bio

Akash Takyar
Akash Takyar
CEO LeewayHertz
Akash Takyar is the author of Blockchain Technology and Business book. He is the co-founder of LeewayHertz and is a consultant to fortune 500 companies including Siemens, 3M, Hershey’s and others. He has a Masters Degree in Computer Science. Akash’s experience of building over 100+ apps allows him to rapidly architect and design solutions. His ability to explain complex technologies in simple and practical ways has resulted in him becoming a popular speaker at colleges, universities, and conferences.

Author’s Bio

Akash Takyar
Akash Takyar
CEO LeewayHertz
Akash Takyar is the author of Blockchain Technology and Business book. He is the co-founder of LeewayHertz and is a consultant to fortune 500 companies including Siemens, 3M, Hershey’s and others. He has a Masters Degree in Computer Science. Akash’s experience of building over 100+ apps allows him to rapidly architect and design solutions. His ability to explain complex technologies in simple and practical ways has resulted in him becoming a popular speaker at colleges, universities, and conferences.

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