What is A Public Chain?

Public Blockchain

Blockchains that are open to the whole network and have no user authorization mechanism

According to the different degrees of centralization of blockchain networks, 3 types of blockchains under different application scenarios are differentiated:

(1) Blockchains that are open to the whole network and have no user authorization mechanism are called public chains;

(2) Blockchains that allow authorized nodes to join the network and view information based on permissions, often used in inter-agency blockchains, called federated chains or industry chains;

(3) All nodes in the network are in the hands of one institution, called private chains.

The federated and private chains are also collectively referred to as permission chains, and the public chains are called non-permission chains.

1. Public Blockchain

Public blockchain refers to a consensus blockchain that anyone can read, send transactions, and obtain valid confirmation. The public chain is generally considered to be "fully decentralized" because no individual or organization can control or tamper with the reading and writing of data.

The public chain generally encourages participants to compete for bookkeeping through a token mechanism to ensure data security. From the application point of view, the blockchain public chain includes Bitcoin, Ethereum, Hyperledger, most altcoins, and smart contracts. Among them, the ancestor of the blockchain public chain is the Bitcoin blockchain.

In one sentence, just like the operating system of our computer is Windows, the public chain is actually the operating system of the blockchain world.

2. The Role of Public Chain

  • The public chain can protect users' rights and interests from the influence of the program developer: The developer of the program in the public chain has no right to interfere with the users, so the public chain can protect the rights and interests of the users who use the program. In addition, the highly decentralized distributed data storage is also one of the biggest features of the public chain, and the advantages of open and transparent transaction data and data cannot be tampered with make the public chain can effectively guarantee the data security of users.
  • The Public chain can produce network effects: There exists an inherent need for interconnection of an information product, because the purpose of people producing and using them is to better collect and exchange information. As the scale of the network expands, users can get more value from it and users can obtain more value from it, and their needs will be more satisfied. The public chain is open, so it has the opportunity to be applied by many outside users and produce a certain degree of network effect.
  • The public chain can be applied to actual business scenarios: Except for financial applications, any application scenarios with high requirements for trust, security and persistence, such as asset registration, voting, management and IoT, etc. 3.0 era applications, will be influenced by the public chain on a large scale.

In short, a public chain (such as Ethereum) acts like the Android or iOS system of a smartphone. Enterprises or individuals who want to develop a blockchain project can be directly based on the public chain, which greatly reduces the difficulty and cost of development.

3. Three Stages of Public Chain Development

In order to solve the problems of high transfer latency in the development of blockchain and the lack of storage and computing power at a deeper level, many practitioners have begun to devote themselves to the development of public chains. They are trying to solve the capacity problems of Bitcoin and Ethereum and break through the bottleneck of computing and storage.

  • The first generation of public chains

The first generation of public chains starts with Bitcoin. At the beginning of 2009, the Bitcoin network began to go online, which opened the prelude to the first generation of public chains. The underlying technology that supports the operation of Bitcoin-Blockchain is actually an extremely ingenious distributed shared ledger and peer-to-peer value transmission technology. As a virtual currency system, the total amount of Bitcoin is limited by the network consensus protocol. No individual or organization can modify the supply and transaction records at will.

Around 2014, the industry began to recognize the greater value of blockchain technology and used it in areas other than digital currency, such as distributed identity authentication, distributed autonomous organizations, and distributed domain name systems. During this period, a comprehensive functional public chain represented by Ethereum began to appear, supporting diversified business scenarios in the form of smart contracts, and deriving multiple distributed industry applications (DApps).

  • The second generation of public chains

Ethereum, the second-generation public chain on the blockchain, is a public blockchain platform with Turing-complete scripts, known as the "world computer". In addition to value transfer, developers can also create arbitrary smart contracts on Ethereum. Ethereum has expanded the commercial channels of blockchain through smart contracts, such as the issuance of tokens for many blockchain projects, the development of smart contracts, and the development of decentralized DApps. However, the current Ethereum network has problems such as insufficient scalability, poor security, high development difficulty, and excessive reliance on handling fees.

  • The third generation of public chains

The third-generation public chain is positioned to be commercially available on a large scale and is associated with actual assets and real value to promote the development of the real economy. The public chain projects currently competing in the blockchain 3.0 era include EOS, Cardano, Bytom, etc., but most of these public chain projects are in the theoretical demonstration and testing stage, and a few projects that have completed the development of the main chain are still in the early exploration stage. Ethereum, which has sufficient technical reserves and strong financial resources, is still constantly iterating on itself, and the public chain is competing in the blockchain 3.0 era.

4. Problems in The Public Chain System

  1. Incentive problem: In order to encourage all nodes to provide resources and maintain the entire network spontaneously, the public chain system needs to design an incentive mechanism to ensure the continuous and healthy operation. However, Bitcoin's incentive mechanism has a "validator's dilemma", that is, nodes that have not obtained the accounting rights pay computing power to verify transactions without any return.
  2. Efficiency issues: With the development of Bitcoin and Ethereum, the current network is becoming more and more congested. And the current block processing speed is simply not enough for most enterprise applications, so how to strike a balance between decentralization and high TPS has become an important problem.
  3. Security risks: including attacks from external entities (Denial of Service Attacks, DDoS, etc.), attacks from internal participants (Sybil Attack, Collusion Attack, etc.), component failure, and computing power Attack etc.
  4. Privacy issues: The data transmitted and stored on the public chain is publicly visible, and only a certain degree of privacy protection is provided for both parties to the transaction through "pseudo-anonymity". For some business scenarios involving a large number of business secrets and interests, the exposure of data does not comply with business rules and regulatory requirements.
  5. Finality problem: The finality of a transaction refers to whether a particular transaction will eventually be included in the blockchain. Public chain consensus algorithms such as PoW cannot provide final certainty.” They can only guarantee a certain probability approximation. For example, in Bitcoin, the final certainty that a transaction can reach after 2 hours is 99.9999%, which is suitable for existing industrial and commercial applications, but compared with the legal environment, the usability is poor.

5. Except Ethereum, Currently Well-Known Public Chain Projects

EOS, the Entrepreneurial Operating System, the most powerful infrastructure for decentralized applications. EOS solves the scalability problem through the consensus algorithm (DPOS). DPOS generates a block every 3 seconds, and there is only one authorized at any point in time. Producers to generate blocks. EOS can carry a large number of users at the same time, speed (only 3S is required), and transaction costs, but its security is difficult to guarantee.

Committed to building infrastructure for the decentralized Internet. The TRON protocol is one of the world's largest blockchain-based decentralized application operating system protocols, providing high-throughput, high-scalability, and high-reliability underlying public chain support for the operation of decentralized applications on the protocol. TRON also provides better compatibility for Ethereum smart contracts through an innovative pluggable smart contract platform.

According to the whitepaper released by its founders, Qtum is the first “UTXO-based smart contract system with a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus model.” The blockchain QTUM born for commercial applications combines the advantages of the Bitcoin ecology, and is perfectly compatible with various virtual machines including Ethereum through the Account Abstraction Layer, and adopts the PoS consensus model, which provides unlimited possibilities for commercial application landing and distributed mobile applications.

Neo bills itself as a “rapidly growing and developing” ecosystem that has the goal of becoming the foundation for the next generation of the internet — a new economy where digitized payments, identities and assets come together. Initially known as Antshares, this project was believed to be China’s first-ever public blockchain when it was launched in February 2014. It’s often been likened to the Chinese version of the Ethereum network. NEO use the consensus mechanism DBFT, the full name is Delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerant, DBFT provides fault tolerance to a consensus system composed of consensus nodes, this fault tolerance also includes security and is suitable for any network environment.

Ontology Network is the world's first basic platform to propose a distributed chain network system. In addition to the distributed ledger framework of the Ontology network itself, it can support different governance models. The underlying blockchain system can also collaborate with different chains from different business fields and different regions through various protocols of the Ontology network to form cross-chain and cross-system interactions between various heterogeneous blockchains and traditional information systems. Therefore, Ontology Network innovatively proposes a matrix three-dimensional grid architecture—hyper-converged chain network structure.

The first reliable equity proof algorithm, ADA, is the product of the Cardano project. Cardano is the world's first game platform that can prove fairness and safety. It is characterized by a democratic platform that is not dominated by operators. Use blockchain to create the world's first decentralized game platform that is completely transparent and cannot be cheated. If you want to participate in CARDANO games, you must hold ADA coin.

Polygon's vision is to build the blockchain internet of Ethereum. In short, Polygon provides a common framework that allows developers to use Ethereum security to create customized, application-focused chains, and provide an interoperable network that links various extension solutions together, Such as ZK rollup, Optimistic Rollup and side chains. Recently, many mainstream DeFi protocols such as Aave, Curve, Sushiswap, and NFT have been deployed on Polygon (formerly Matic Network), their locked assets have increased sharply, and the gas fee is extremely low.

Solana is a high-performance public chain founded by former engineers of Qualcomm, Intel and Dropbox at the end of 2017. Solana aims to provide scalability without sacrificing decentralization or security. Solana has three cores: scalability, decentralization, and low cost. Compared to the PoW and PoS we are more familiar with; Solana uses an alternative consensus mechanism-Proof of History (PoH). The feature of PoH is that all operations on the chain do not need to wait until the block time to be verified, but can directly prove the history of operations on the chain. At present, the Solana ecosystem has covered the vertical fields of DeFi, blockchain games and Web3, with more than 100 integrated projects, with a total transfer volume of more than 10 billion, ranking first in the industry, and its development speed has far surpassed other new public chains.

6. You can find the following public chain projects on Mexo Platform:

  • This article was organized and edited by Mexo, please indicate the source for reprint

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