Blockchain technology has become one of the most intriguing technology sectors in recent years, spawning a crowd of projects promising various innovations and competing for funding and adoption. Cryptocurrency is based on and intimately connected to blockchain technology, and one big reason for the interest in the latter certainly comes from the speculative market around cryptocurrencies. But blockchains are capable of much more.
The purpose of blockchain platforms is to facilitate the design, development, and deployment of distributed apps, removing the single point of failure of centralized apps. Although the first successful blockchain was specifically designed for cryptocurrencies, in particular Bitcoin, the next successful blockchain technology, Ethereum, was created as a generic platform (and also called Distributed Operating System) to provide the basements for the creation of all kinds of distributed platforms.
In particular, asset management has become one of the main uses of this platform, including the NFTs concept. These include DeFi applications and smart contracts that aim to decentralize and streamline current systems for transactions and verifications (consensus). Many legacy financial and business organizations worldwide are experimenting with blockchain integration, while other blockchain projects seek to supplant current centralized platforms altogether. These are the top blockchain platforms to follow in 2022.
Ethereum was designed to overcome the limitations of bitcoin and is well known for its cryptocurrency, Ether (ETH), the second-largest token by market cap. But Ethereum itself is a blockchain platform for the development of decentralized applications (dApps), referred to as the Ethereum Virtual Machine. It is the most popular blockchain platform used today and is the basis for many NFTs, DeFi projects, altcoins, and metaverse projects.
Ethereum continues to dominate the market, with an active and dedicated development community, but it is still innovating and improving. In 2022, Ethereum is set to upgrade from a proof-of-work to a proof-of-stake consensus model, within a project known as ‘Casper,’ making it more scalable, energy-efficient, more friendly to the environment, and cheaper to use.
Ripple is a blockchain platform designed to improve the existing banking and financial services industries, effectively serving as a settlement layer between different financial institutions. The platform’s native token, XRP, consistently ranks among the top ten cryptocurrencies by market cap. Ripple can be seen as an improved version of SWIFT and is ideal for cross-border transactions.
The Ripple platform has partnered with many established financial institutions, such as Santander and Bank of America, but it has also come under some criticism from the blockchain community. Critics of Ripple highlight that the Ripple Foundation pre-mined and holds the majority of XRP, which could be seen as against the crypto principles of decentralization.
IBM is a familiar name in the tech industry, but the legacy computer company also has its own blockchain platform. IBM blockchain aims to integrate blockchain technology into the established IT world to improve privacy and efficiency. To this end, it offers developer tools and expert guidance to help companies build blockchain apps for their services, such as finance and supply chain management. It benefits from brand recognition and has partnered with banks and charities. Their technology is based on the Hyperledger platform, a project within the Linux Foundation umbrella, and their project is called Fabric. This is a game-changer, since it is a permissioned blockchain oriented for applications in enterprise and private business for processes such as chain supply management, health care electronic medical records among others. There are thousands of installations of this blockchain.
Tron is a decentralized blockchain platform built for online content creators, with the aim of enabling content creators to directly monetize their audience instead of relying on typical middleman platforms such as YouTube or Spotify. The creators are rewarded with TRX tokens by their fans but they can also create and launch their own tokens. Tron also supports the creation of smart contracts, dApps, and games on the platform.
Polkadot is an ambitious, open-source blockchain project that connects a complex ecosystem of specialized blockchains, facilitating the cross-chain transfer of data or assets. This multichain architecture enables developers to build chains called ‘parachains’ for specific purposes, but still have them be interoperable with other chains on the platforms. Parachains can even have their own tokens separated from Polkadot’s native DOT currency. Thus, Polkadot can serve as a basis for networked decentralized apps, which makes it attractive for Web3 development.
Avalanche is a blockchain platform supporting the development and deployment of smart contracts and DeFi services. Launched in 2020, its main selling point is speed and energy efficiency compared to blockchain projects based on older models such as Ethereum, as it claims to have the fastest time-to-finality speed of any existing blockchain platform. Its AVAX token is used for fees and governance on the platform and is burned through use, creating scarcity.
Solana is an open-source platform for building dApps that uses a unique Proof-of-History (PoH) consensus model, which is much more efficient than the traditional Proof-of-Work model pioneered by bitcoin. Solana’s PoH protocol allows for very fast processing, which greatly speeds up the validation of transactions and execution of smart contracts. Solana and its native cryptocurrency SOL have previously been touted as an ‘Ethereum killer’, but it has yet to overtake the older blockchain platform.
Integrating Blockchain with your Business
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