Do n’t just know that blockchain has these “family members”
Recently, China Electronics and Information Industry Development Institute released the "Global Public Chain Technology Evaluation Index" report, which comprehensively considered and ranked 35 global public chain technology from a technical perspective.
In fact, from an architectural perspective, in addition to public chains, blockchain "families" also have "members" such as private chains and alliance chains. So what are these "chains"? What is their relationship with each other? Science and Technology Daily reporters interviewed relevant industry experts.
The degree of decentralization of the three networks is different
The data shows that, as a new type of underlying IT technology, the blockchain can be commonly understood as a distributed public "ledger". This "ledger" consists of various blocks connected into a chain. In traditional bookkeeping systems, the bookkeeping right is in the hands of the central server. In the "ledger" of the blockchain, each node on the chain can record information, forming a point-to-point accounting system. Therefore, blockchain technology is considered as a decentralized technology.
The public chain is the abbreviation of Public Block Chain, the private chain is the abbreviation of Private Block Chain, and the alliance chain is the Consortium Block Chain, also known as the industry zone. Blockchain).
"The three types of blockchains use the basic blockchain architecture. According to their own characteristics and application scenarios, especially the degree of network decentralization, blockchains can be divided into public, private, and alliance chains. "Yan Huaizhi, director of the Institute of Computer Network and Countermeasure Technology at Beijing Institute of Technology, told the Science and Technology Daily reporter.
According to the definition given in the "China Blockchain Technology and Application Development Research Report (2018)" (hereinafter referred to as the "Report"), public chain refers to any blockchain service customers can use and any node can access A type of blockchain deployment model in which all access nodes can participate in reading and writing data. For example, Bitcoin and Ethereum, which are more familiar to the public, are cryptocurrencies developed using public chain technology.
"In simple terms, the public chain is a blockchain deployment model that is open to the entire network and has no user authorization mechanism. It does not exist in any sense." Yan Huaizhi explained.
According to the "Report", the alliance chain refers to a type of blockchain deployment model that is limited to a specific group of customers and only authorized nodes can access it, and access nodes can participate in reading and writing data according to rules.
The private chain refers to a type of blockchain deployment model that is limited to a single customer and only authorized nodes can access it. Access nodes can participate in reading and writing data according to rules.
Some people ask, since the access nodes of the private chain and the alliance chain are both limited, what is the difference between the two?
Yan Huaizhi explained: "The nodes in the private chain network are 'privatized' by an organization. The alliance chain allows all authorized nodes to join the network, and its application scope is usually within an alliance or industry."
Relevant experts in the industry told the reporter of Science and Technology Daily that the private chain can be regarded as a blockchain deployment model that has only one center and all operations require the center's permission and are subject to its constraints and restrictions. The alliance chain can be regarded as a collection of private chains, which uses a multi-center technology architecture.
"But as far as the actual situation is concerned, I personally think that the boundary between the private chain and the alliance chain is actually very vague, and it is difficult to make a very clear definition." Ying Xiang, an associate professor in the Department of Intelligence and Computing of Tianjin University, told the reporter of Science and Technology Daily.
Choose different types according to the needs of the scene
"The advantage of the public chain is that it can fully demonstrate the decentralization and security characteristics of the blockchain." Yan Huaizhi told the Science and Technology Daily reporter that the shortcomings of the public chain are its high hardware performance requirements and slow transaction speed. .
In comparison, the private chain has fast transaction speed, low transaction cost, and strong ability to resist malicious attacks. "But the shortcoming is that the private chain fails to show the decentralized characteristics of the blockchain well, and its control of private nodes is highly centralized. To a certain extent, the private chain does not reflect the core of the blockchain. Value. "Yan Huaizhi told the Science and Technology Daily reporter.
The alliance chain can be understood as a compromise between the public and private chains.
The advantage of the alliance chain is that it uses a relatively loose consensus mechanism. Because the number of nodes has been determined, the transaction speed is fast and the transaction cost is low.
"Like the private chain, the alliance chain also fails to show the decentralized characteristics of the blockchain well. It has multiple centers and is partially decentralized. Moreover, in theory, alliances can be jointly modified. Blockchain data. "Yan Huaizhi said.
Due to the differences in technical solutions, the application scenarios of these three types of blockchains are also different.
Yan Huaizhi told the Science and Technology Daily reporter that the public chain is mainly used in social life and modern business fields. Private chains are mainly used in internal work links such as enterprise database management and auditing, and can also be used in government affairs scenarios. For example, when a country's central bank issues digital currency, it may be necessary to apply private chain technology. The alliance chain is mainly a specific application between institutions, which can be used in supply chain finance, electronic forensics and other businesses.
"Today, the application scenarios of cyberspace are becoming more and more complicated. With the increasing demand, public chain, alliance chain and private chain will all be useful. The three are not inferior. Users have to use different application scenarios. To choose the right type. "Yan Huaizhi emphasized.
Technically speaking, public chains have powerful performance and more flexible applications. Generally speaking, public chains can be converted into alliance chains, and alliance chains can be converted into private chains, but the reverse is more difficult.
"Because the technical frameworks of the three are quite different, it is difficult and unnecessary to achieve mutual conversion between the three in a specific application scenario." Yan Huaizhi said.
Future alliance chain or more development potential
In the future, what are the application prospects of these three blockchains?
"Public chain, private chain, and alliance chain, they are just three different models and tools. The key to applying the three is to identify different scenarios and choose the appropriate tools based on field photo requirements." Yan Huaizhi said.
Generally speaking, the degree of decentralization of public chains is higher than that of alliance chains and private chains, so its degree of trust and security is also relatively high. "But in scenarios such as the central bank issuing digital currency, a certain degree of centralized authority certification is required. At this time, the public chain is obviously not applicable. Therefore, each of these three has its own application advantages. Whose development will be better. "Yan Huaizhi emphasized.
However, from the perspective of Ying Xiang, given the current domestic policy environment, the development of public chains may be more difficult. "Because of the strict supervision, coupled with the legal risks, financial risks and other factors, the development of public chains in the country will be limited," he said.
Ying Xiang said that he is more optimistic about the alliance chain, and especially optimistic about its application prospect in the field of financial services.
According to the Report, financial services is one of the earliest application areas of blockchain, and it is also one of the areas with the largest number of blockchain applications and the highest penetration.
From the perspective of development characteristics, the financial service industry is more inclined to choose the alliance chain because of its emphasis on multi-party peer cooperation and high security requirements, as well as regulations on node access and authority management.
For example, the financial services platform "Arbitration Chain" built with blockchain technology uses the technical solution of alliance chain.
"Arbitration chain" is the standardization of evidence through technology, the use of blockchain distributed data storage, encryption algorithms and other features to sign transaction data on the chain.
The advantages of the application of the alliance chain in this field are reflected in many aspects: firstly, only permitted members are allowed to join, which avoids irrelevant members from being chained, thereby reducing the cost of forming consensus; secondly, the alliance chain has a good management mechanism and can Various mechanisms, such as joint governance, statutory agency governance, and leadership member governance, deal with various issues and optimize the management process; the third is to monitor the activities on the chain in real time by setting up independent observation nodes and deploying specific smart contracts. Effective intervention in abnormal activities.
"Compared to private and public chains, I personally think that the future development potential of the alliance chain is greater in China." Ying Xiang said.