The previous blog post discussed blockchain technology and its industry applications. In this article, we will examine some of the most noteworthy blockchain platforms and initiatives to watch in 2023 and beyond. This blog will address the following topics:
Notable Blockchain Platforms
Bitcoin is the first and most well-known cryptocurrency. It was created in 2009 by an anonymous person known as Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin is based on a decentralized peer-to-peer network and is not controlled by any central authority. Transactions on the Bitcoin network are verified by consensus among the nodes in the network. Bitcoin is often referred to as "digital gold" due to its limited supply and usefulness as a store of value.
Building blocks of Bitcoin
The blockchain is a distributed, decentralised ledger that records all Bitcoin transactions. It enables transparent and secure record-keeping without requiring a central authority or bank.
Bitcoin employs sophisticated cryptographic techniques, including digital signatures and hash functions, to protect the security and integrity of the blockchain.
Mining is the operation that adds new Bitcoin transactions to the network. Utilizing specialised computers to solve complicated mathematical problems, so contributing to network security and earning incentives in the form of new Bitcoin.
One of Bitcoin's fundamental characteristics is that it is decentralised, meaning that no single institution or group controls it. Without the need for intermediaries, this facilitates a more open and transparent financial system.
The Bitcoin network consists of all the nodes (computers) that are participating in the network, maintaining the blockchain and facilitating transactions. The network is decentralised and enables peer-to-peer transactions without the use of middlemen.
Bitcoin's usage has increased fast over the past several years since 2010. Though there is a fall in the market in recent years, it is projected to be the most prominent blockchain in 2023 and the future.
Ethereum is a public, open-source blockchain that permits the development of decentralised applications (DApps). Ethereum was introduced by Vitalik Buterin in 2015. It is built on the Ethereum Virtual Machine, a Turing-complete virtual machine (EVM). Ether is the cryptocurrency associated with Ethereum (ETH). Transactions on the Ethereum network are validated by miners using the proof-of-work protocol (PoW). Ethereum is commonly referred to as "the world computer" since its network enables the execution of code on its network.
Ethereum and Bitcoin are decentralized blockchain platforms, open-source platforms that utilise blockchain technology, but there are significant distinctions between the two. Among the distinctive characteristics of Ethereum compared to Bitcoin are:
Ethereum was designed to support a wider range of applications, including smart contracts and decentralised applications, whereas Bitcoin was primarily intended as a digital money.
Solidity, Ethereum's proprietary programming language, enables developers to create and deploy smart contracts and other applications on the platform. Bitcoin, on the other hand, lacks a native programming language.
Ethereum's consensus algorithm is proof-of-work (PoW), which enables network users to obtain consensus on the state of the blockchain by solving challenging mathematical puzzles. Bitcoin utilises a PoW method, but its design is distinct.
The time required to add a new block to the Ethereum blockchain is much shorter than the time required to add a new block to the Bitcoin blockchain. This means that Ethereum transactions are typically completed faster than Bitcoin transactions.
There is a fixed quantity of 21 million bitcoins, while the amount of ether (Ethereum's native money) is not fixed and may expand over time.
Polygon is a Layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum. It was formerly known as Matic Network. Polygon uses an adapted version of Plasma to achieve scalability. Polygon achieves near-instant transaction speeds and low transaction fees by running transactions off-chain and only settling them on-chain when needed. This makes it ideal for applications that require high transaction throughput such as games, exchanges and DeFi protocols. Polygon also supports numerous other Layer 2 technologies such as ZK Rollups, Optimistic Rollups and Validation Payment settlers Network natively.
Some unique features of Polygon include:
Polygon is aimed to improve Ethereum's scalability, enabling for faster and less expensive transactions. In contrast, Ethereum can become congested and expensive to use when a large volume of transactions is processed.
Polygon is fully interoperable with the Ethereum ecosystem, allowing developers to design and deploy decentralised apps (dApps) on Polygon using the same tools and protocols as on Ethereum.
Polygon employs a dual-chain design that blends Ethereum's security with the scalability of Layer 2 solutions. This provides a high level of security without losing scalability for applications built on Polygon.
Polygon is very modular, allowing developers to simply add and remove different features and protocols to customise their platform experience. This enables greater flexibility and customisation among available blockchain platforms.
Notable Blockchain Projects (Web3 Companies)
Let's examine some of the most important web3 applications employing blockchain technology. Even though they are in their infancy, they show promise for the future. Decentraland is used as an example of a Metaverse, Bankless DAO for a Decentralised Autonomous Organisation (DAO), Opensea for a NFT marketplace, and Binance as an example of a cryptocurrency exchange.
Decentraland is an Ethereum blockchain-based Metaverse (virtual world). It enables users to create, experience, and commercialise virtual content and applications. In Decentraland, people can own and control their own digital assets, including virtual real estate, and interact decentralised and without trust. Decentraland consists of a network of districts, each with its own distinct theme and characteristics. Its native cryptocurrency is the MANA token, which is used to buy and sell virtual assets on the platform.
Decentraland website https://decentraland.org/
2. Bankless DAO
Bankless DAO is a community of Web3 enthusiasts whose mission is to educate new users, produce written and audio media, construct DAO tooling, offer consultancy services, promote Web3 research, and become a social and creative hub for anybody interested in Web3. Its objective is to make financial independence, decentralised employment, and creative freedom accessible to everyone.
Bankless DAO website https://www.bankless.community/
OpenSea is one of the largest marketplaces for the purchase and sale of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and crypro collectibles, including exclusive digital assets, collector items, virtual real estate, and in-game items. Users are able to Browse, create, purchase, sell, and auction off these products. As of November 2022, according to Investopedia, it has more than 2.4 million active users and a daily trading volume of $6.03 million.
Opensea website https://opensea.io/
Binance is one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges by trading volume. It was founded in 2017. Binance offers a wide range of services, including trading and exchange of cryptocurrencies, as well as a platform for initial coin offerings (ICOs) and other blockchain-based projects.
Binance website https://www.binance.com/en
While we’ve only scratched the surface, this introduction to blockchain platforms and projects should give you a general sense of where the space is heading. With more people and organizations turning to decentralized solutions, it’s important to be aware of the major platforms and players in the space. As we move into 2021 and beyond, keep an eye on theseprojects – they may very well shape the future of blockchain technology. In our next blog, we'll dive more into the web3 stack . Stay tuned!
A short video from Whiteboard Crypto, explaining the features of Polygon.
Coming up in the next blog - 'Web3 Stakeholders | Layers and Common Web3 Projects'.
Note 1: This blog is part of a 100 Days of Learning Series on Web3 Project Management frameworks and best practices published on Program Strategy HQ. For more details on the 100 days of blogging campaign check out Blog 0.
Note 2: Reach out to info@programstrategyhq for any queries.
Note 3: Program Strategy HQ Disclaimer for Reference.
BanklessDAO White Paper. (2022, March 12). Bankless DAO. https://forum.bankless.community/t/banklessdao-white-paper/3130
Bitcoin vs. Ethereum: Key differences between BTC and ETH. (n.d.). Cointelegraph. https://cointelegraph.com/ethereum-for-beginners/bitcoin-vs-ethereum-key-differences-between-btc-and-eth
CoinDCX. (2022, July 21). Ethereum vs Solana vs Polygon - The Detailed Comparison. CoinDCX-Blog. https://coindcx.com/blog/cryptocurrency/ethereum-vs-solana-vs-polygon/
Reiff, N. (2020, June 16). Bitcoin vs. ethereum: What’s the difference? Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/031416/bitcoin-vs-ethereum-driven-different-purposes.asp
Sharma, T. K. (n.d.). Top 10 Blockchain Platforms You Need To Know About. https://www.blockchain-council.org/blockchain/top-10-blockchain-platforms-you-need-to-know-about/