Blockchain technology is growing in popularity. Launched in 2009 with the creation of Bitcoin, it has been widely used beyond cryptocurrencies in just over a decade. It is revolutionizing various processes in many industries, making them more efficient and transparent. So which blockchain platforms are worth your attention? We prepared the guide with the most popular blockchains. Here are some of them!
Table of contents
What is blockchain?
Before we get an overview of the most popular blockchains, let’s explain this revolutionary technology. According to the accepted definition, blockchain is a technology used to store and transmit information about transactions made on the Internet. Blockchain users can confirm transactions without the need for a central clearinghouse. The entire blockchain is transparent, and the consensus of users verifies the data stored in it. We prepare for you most popular blockchains guide.
What do blockchain and cryptocurrencies have in common?
Blockchain is the technology behind Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency. Without blockchain, the development of subsequent digital currencies referred to as cryptocurrencies would not have been possible. As a result, the two terms – cryptocurrencies and blockchain – are sometimes used interchangeably. However, it is worth knowing that apart from Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies with their blockchain architectures are also available on the market. Moreover, blockchain is finding more applications beyond cryptocurrencies, being a means of payment and a form of investment.
The most popular blockchains you need to know
Bitcoin – the world’s first cryptocurrency
Bitcoin (BTC) is a cryptocurrency (also known as virtual or crypto-currency), or currency without a physical form, created in 2009 by the creator or creators, operating under Satoshi Nakamoto’s pseudonym. Bitcoin, as digital money that allows for secure peer-to-peer transactions on the Internet, is decentralized. This means that participants in a trade from anywhere in the world can send Bitcoins to each other without government, bank, or other intermediary institutions. Each Bitcoin transaction is recorded on the blockchain, which is similar to a traditional bank register – but unlike a bank register, the blockchain is distributed across the network and is not controlled. As a result, anyone can become part of it. Bitcoin, as an inflation-proof currency, is currently used primarily as a form of investment.
Bitcoin was created using the first blockchain technology, which is considered by some to be outdated. In practice, anyone can create their blockchain and cryptocurrencies running on their network. Virtual currencies other than Bitcoin have become known as altcoins or alternative coins. Let’s take a little closer look at them.
Ethereum (actually Ether, referred to as ETH) is the second-largest cryptocurrency available on the market after Bitcoin. It represents an open-source and decentralized blockchain-based digital computing platform that extends the technology to a range of applications. In practice, then, Ethereum is not just a popular investment instrument that, like Bitcoin, can be used to send and receive value without intermediaries. Besides, the decentralized blockchain platform allows smart contracts, financial applications (known as DeFi) and decentralized applications (dApps) to be created and run without interference from third parties. Another innovation based on the Ethereum platform are stablecoins, which are virtual currencies designed to provide a stable exchange rate against a fiat currency such as the US dollar or the euro. The most popular stablecoins on the running Ethereum platform are DAI and USDT (Tether).
The creation of Ethereum dates back to 2015, although its concept was first described two years earlier. The originator of the cryptocurrency is programmer Vitalik Buterin.
The next blockchain after Bitcoin and Ethereum is the one launched in 2015. Cardano is a decentralized, open-source, public registry-based platform with its cryptocurrency. The native cryptocurrency for Cardano is ADA – its name refers to Ada Lovelace, a 19th-century British mathematician who is considered the first female programmer (and coder) in history. Cardano’s developer is Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK), a technology company founded by Charles Hoskinson, who previously worked on Ethereum development. Cardano is a project built from the ground up – on its source code.
Known as a third-generation blockchain, Cardano’s goal is to solve problems common to Bitcoin and Ethereum (which is transitioning to PoS) related to high transaction fees and long transaction times. Cardano’s proprietary Proof-of-Stake, Ouroboros, significantly improves the network’s overall capabilities, increasing performance and reducing energy costs without sacrificing security. The goal of Cardano’s developers is to create a comprehensive all-in-one platform that will serve smart contracts, decentralized applications (dApps) and tokens distributed during ICOs, among others.
Our list of the most popular blockchains closes with Polkadot (DOT). This innovative and relatively young next-generation cryptocurrency allows you to operate multiple blockchains simultaneously (the so-called multichain). In addition, thanks to Polkadot’s unique architecture, consisting of shards segments, it is possible to handle transactions in parallel – rather than sequentially, as is the case with older blockchains. The Polkadot project has been in development since 2016 at the initiative of Parity Technologies, led by Gavin Wood and Jutta Steiner, two former Ethereum executives. The Web3 organization supports funding for the project.
Polkadot has a native cryptocurrency, which is DOT. Currently, it ranks 8th in the most significant crypto by capitalization. Polkadot’s wide range of practical applications includes smart contract chains, data networks, the Internet of Things and file and identity storage. In addition, the technology’s functionalities mean that the DOT token is currently available on dozens of international cryptocurrency exchanges, gaining interest among a growing number of investors.
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