When does this decade start, and when does the new one begin? Depending on who you ask, some would say that the current decade began on January 1, 2020. But others will vehemently insist that the next decade will start in just a few days, on January 1, 2021.
2020 has been a year to remember, mostly for the wrong reasons. Because of this, the change of years (or decades, again depending on your standpoint) will be a momentous occasion.
Time. People are all bound by it. If we look at its definition, time is a nonspatial continuum that is measured in terms of events that succeed one another from past through present to future. And if we were to measure the evolution of blockchain technology under such definition, it would be well within the boundaries of reality to state that blockchain has evolved quite fast. In just over a decade, blockchain has grown to become a foundational technology destined to accomplish much.
In evolutionary terms, blockchain has gone through four iterations. Blockchain 1.0 was currency. (The first use of blockchain technology was to power the progenitor of cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin. In short, digital money.)
Blockchain 2.0 introduced smart contracts, autonomous pieces of code that execute only when a number of pre-determined conditions are met.)
Blockchain 3.0 heralded the era of Decentralized Applications (DApps), which hammered home the concept of decentralization. (Some refer to this as pushing power to the edges.)
Arguably, blockchain’s current iteration is 4.0. After growing through that nonspatial continuum, blockchain has reached a landmark moment: The practical use of blockchain technology in enterprise.
Enterprise blockchain protocols
Blockchain (or decentralized technology -DLT) is on the cusp of maturity. 2020, as bad as the year has been, has seen an opinion shift as to what this technology can really do in the real world. We have already seen how blockchain can be applied to prevent pandemics, for instance. Some government agencies are tentatively looking at blockchain-based solutions to address long-standing administrative problems. And of course, blockchain is likely to become the perfect partner in crime for the Internet of Things (IoT)’s need to keep data secure and tamper-free.
In other words, blockchain has leaped from the murky depths of the crypto waters into the enterprise, both public and private. Blockchain adoption is constantly gathering momentum, snowballing as it rolls across Europe and elsewhere. Within the confines of the European Union, several blockchain agencies are driving this forward-thinking movement. Europechain, for example, is one of Europe’s prime blockchain service providers, offering a range of blockchain consultancy services to foster and support the adoption of decentralized technology by enterprises headquartered in the European Union.
Enterprise blockchains are governed by a protocol -the set of rules and procedures that dictates how the blockchain works. For the enterprise blockchain, the protocol maintains and controls the networking, security, consensus, and many other aspects inherent to the blockchain’s inner workings.
There are many different protocols, and more will be developed to keep up with technological advancements. But there are five enterprise blockchain protocols that currently power some of the most widely used blockchains out there today:
- R3’s Corda
Some blockchain protocols use open-source for coding of their main networks and associated tools. Hyperledger, started in 2015 by the Linux Foundation, has proved quite successful, having received contributions and collaboration by some big names such as IBM, SAP, and Intel.
Hyperledger is an umbrella project that encompasses a wide variety of working frameworks and protocols, which, thanks to their open-source design, anyone can contribute to.
According to its website, the project’s overall goal is to advance business blockchain adoption through global open source collaboration. Hyperledger has built a sizeable community through projects such as Hyperledger Fabric, Sawtooth, Indy, and libraries like Hyperledger Ursa.
Another one of the open-source big players in the industry, R3’s Corda is specifically designed for enterprise, and it set out to build an open-source blockchain platform to solve complex business problems, according to its website.
R3 offers two interoperable and fully compatible versions: – Corda, a free, open-source platform based on the code available on GitHub, and Corda Enterprise, a commercial version that combines Corda’s core attributes with enterprise-grade software features and support.
Another open-source project, Quorum is another blockchain for enterprise squarely aimed at the financial sector, which is probably unsurprising, since it was commissioned and designed by J.P Morgan.
Quorum leverages a lot of Ethereum’s existing framework, Quorum has been used to develop both in-house tools, and third-party solutions.
Some say that it all began in the ether, and in Ethereum’s case, this is literally true. Ethereum, the brainchild of Canadian-Russian programmer Vitalik Buterin, was conceived as an advanced alternative to Bitcoin’s more restrictive environment. While Bitcoin functions as a storage of value and a means of payment, Ethereum enables the development and running of applications through smart contracts.
Ethereum has undergone several hard forks (changes to its core functionality) that have evolved the chain’s capabilities. Today, Ethereum remains at the forefront of the blockchain race, harboring great potential for future growth.
EOSIO is one of the latest blockchain protocols and it features great scaling capabilities in order to be able to deal with the high demands of the enterprise blockchain sector. It also contains support for smart contracts and has native permission management, making it a worthy contender to current, and more widely adopted enterprise blockchain protocols.
It is used by various blockchains such as EOS, WAX, and Europechain.
Declaring something to be the best tends to lead down a slippery slope coated with hype, probably bias, and an un-healthy dose of hubris. It is perhaps better to refer to these protocols (and the many others that exist out there) as candidates that might turn out to be the best suited for a particular client’s needs. This avoids the perception of bias and promotes choice, and we encourage you to do your due diligence on this matter.
Because in the end, each and every one of these protocols can be the best, from a certain point of view.