12 Major Blockchain Protocols

The Blockchain is synonymous with Bitcoin although the original word used by Satoshi Nakamoto in the original description of the Bitcoin protocol was “chains of blocks” when commenting about its operation in the source code.

In essence, blockchain is a public ledger technology consisting of chains of blocks where transactions can be recorded permanently. It features multiparty transaction, added security and record decentralization capability.

Bitcoin is the earliest and first to use blockchain. And beyond Bitcoin, most people know just Ethereum. However, there are many others providing a variety of features suitable for varied applications.

Here are top blockchain protocols.

1. Bitcoin

Bitcoin enables users to perform non-reversible transactions trustlessly. It uses Bitcoin as its virtual currency

It includes technologies such as hash, digital signature, public-key cryptography, P2P and Proof of Work and Proof of Work mining that allows users to create Bitcoins.

Recently, it was announced that Ivy platform, which is an open-source compiler developed by, will bring smart contracts to blockchain. It will allow writing of custom contracts into smart contracts into Segwit-compatible addresses on Bitcoin network.

2. Ethereum

Ethereum is known for its smart contracts, which are applications that run as programmed and with minimal interference from third party and/or censorship. These contracts are used to store registries of debts, markets and move funds.

It features a native cryptocurrency known as Ether and an Ethereum Wallet that can hold ERC-20 assets. Ethereum allows developers to create decentralized applications as well as democratic autonomous organizations.

3. Ripple Consensus Network

Ripple platform started in 2012 and uses an open-source distributed consensus ledger and native currency known as XRP. It supports tokens that can be used to represent fiat, other cryptocurrencies, commodity or other value units such as mobile minutes and frequent flier miles.

It is essentially built for banks, payment providers, digital asset exchanges and corporate who can use RippleNet to send money globally.

4. Hyperledger

Development started in 2015 by Linux Foundation. It focuses on ledgers targeted at supporting international business transactions, catering leading financial, technological and supply chain businesses.

The collaborative effort seeks to bring together people from various industries to advance blockchain technology. It consists of leaders in finance, banking, IoT, supply chain, manufacturing, and technology.

It already has many projects under it.

Some of its features include support for Python, endorsement policies for transactions, a highly confidential channel for private information sharing.

5. Openchain

Openchain blockchain protocols differs from others in that it uses Partitioned Consensus: everyone can spin off an Openchain instance and each will have one authority validating transactions and instead of one single central ledger, each organization controls their instances. The instances can connect to each other.

However, different transactions are validated by different authorities depending on the assets being exchanged.

It is scalable and secure and suitable for organizations that wish to issue and manage digital assets.


IOTA blockchain uses a blockless distributed ledger called Tangle. The ledger facilitates a machine economy to trade resources in real time and on demand and connecting of devices such as in IoT. It enables infinitesimally small nano-payments without charging any extra fees.

Businesses can, not only explore new business-to-business models but also trade technological resources on an open market without fees.

It also allows storing of data from sensors and dataloggers securely and verified on the ledger. The data can also be transferred from one device to another after authentication.

It can also be used for e-Governance and e-Voting, masked messaging,

While the world encourages the sharing of the economy in every aspect, most belongings stay idle for most of the time. Through IOTA, these can be leased and shared, whether you are talking about Appliances, Tools, Drones, eBikes, computer storage resources, computational power, and WiFi bandwidth, just to mention a few.

7. Lisk

Lisk went live less than two years ago. It allows the development of decentralized applications in pure JavaScript. Each of the dapps runs on their own sidechain to make Lisk stay safe and scalable.

With it, users can build independent social networks, messengers and games, etc.

It acts as a blockchain application platform for users and developers in the same way the App Store and Play Store work.

It uses won cryptocurrency called LSK.

8. HydraChain

HydraChain HydraChain is an extension of the Ethereum platform but adds support for creating Permissioned Distributed Ledgers.

It also allows the development of custom private blockchains where access permissions are more tightly controlled, with rights to modify or even read the blockchain state restricted to a few users. This is, for instance, important for financial institutions. Institutions can also develop consortium blockchains where consensus is controlled by a pre-selected set of nodes.

For instance, 15 financial institutions could each run nodes and of which 10 must sign each block for a block to be valid. Right to read may also be private or public or restricted to participants.

Brainbot Technologies and a network of partners offer consulting, support plans and custom development.

It is fully compatible with Ethereum Protocol, offers support for sub-second block times, has accountable validators and is open-source.

9. Corda

Corda is built by R3 and is a protocol used in the recording, supervising and synchronizing the financial agreements among regulated financial institutions. It was built by and for the world's financial institutions but applicable in multiple industries.

It leverages the blockchain technology but without design choices that make many protocols unsuitable for banking scenarios.

For instance, it eliminates the unnecessary global sharing of data. Again, the transactions are validated only by parties to the transaction instead of a broader pool with unrelated validators. It allows Corda choreographs workflow between firms without a central controller. The consensus is achieved at the level of individual deals and not system level. It also directly enables regulatory and supervisory observer nodes.

It also records an explicit link between human-language legal prose documents and smart contract code.

It has no native cryptocurrency.

10. Symbiont Distributed ledger

Symbiont Distributed ledger was introduced in 2016 as a development kit for Assembly. Assembly is the permitted distributed ledger part of Symbiont’s smart contracts system.

This ledger can process 80,000 transactions every second in a local multi-node network and is Byzantine fault-tolerant distributed ledger.

Symbiont is targeted at institutions to allow for complex financial instruments. It also allows for cost-saving and sharing of business logic and market data. The latter is because files on-network for high availability.

11. Chain

Chain hosts a number of assets including securities, derivatives, loyalty points, gift cards, currencies and loyalty points.

Chain authored the Chain Protocol, which powers the Chain Core blockchain platform. With Chain Core, enterprises can issue and transfer financial assets on permissioned blockchain networks.

Institutions can use it to launch a blockchain network or connect to a growing list of other networks used to move funds around the world.

Chain Core Developer Edition is free but there is a Chain Core Enterprise Edition for organizations who wish to run Chain Core in production environments.

Although creation, control and transfer of assets is decentralized among participants, network is governed by designated set of entities known as a federation.

12. BigChainDB

BigChainDB is an open-source system that starts with big data distributed database. It then adds blockchain characteristics including decentralized control and digital assets transfers.

With the platform, developers can deploy blockchain proof-of-concepts, platforms and applications with a highly scalable blockchain database.

It supports creation of custom assets, transactions, permissions and transparency. It allows for permissions setting at transaction level and supports both private and public networks. Another feature is the Federation Consensus Model.

Some of the use cases include areas where blockchain and databases.

David Kariuki

David Kariuki likes to regard himself as a freelance tech journalist who has written and writes widely about a variety of tech issues that affect our society daily, including cryptocurrencies (see and; climate change (, OpenSim and virtual reality (see He is currently pursuing a MSc in Environmental Management at Open University. He does write here not to offer any investment advise but with the intention of informing audience, and articles in here are of his own opinion. Anyone willing to use any opinion here as advise to invest in crypto should obviously take own responsibility and accountability of their losses (or benefits) thereof. You can reach me at [email protected] or [email protected]

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