What Is a Private Blockchain and Why Do You Need It?
Many people associate blockchain technology with Bitcoin, but this is not quite the right association. Bitcoin is just one of the many projects that have gained wide popularity due to a crazy rise in value. But in fact, all this excitement hides great technology.
What is a blockchain? A blockchain is a distributed ledger—a chain of blocks with a set of specific data that records information about each transaction. Blockchain allows you to transfer information faster, safer, and cheaper. According to the degree of access, it can be classified into two groups: public and private.
In this article, we will explain what a private blockchain is and what the differences between private and public blockchains are. So, read on to learn how all of this works.
What Is a Private Blockchain?
A private blockchain is a network, access to which belongs to a single person or authority. Private (also often called controlled) blockchains are technological solutions where each participant has a pre-assigned access level. The data that is uploaded to the private blockchain is not viewable.
Private blockchains do not fully implement the basic principles of the blockchain (technology decentralization and equality of participants) because this can lead to significant risks for corporate systems.
Private Blockchains Examples
The most common private blockchain example that can be used in different projects and industries is the Hyperledger platform.
Hyperledger is an open-source project from the Linux Foundation that focuses on developing a range of business blockchain platforms, including IBM’s Fabric, Intel’s Sawtooth, Iroha, Indy, and more. Based on them, it is possible to create a custom blockchain. Hyperledger provides a framework and a set of compatible tools for further development and customization.
Other popular examples of private blockchains are Corda, Ripple, Quorum, etc.
Features of Private Blockchains
There are several main features of a private blockchain that you need to know:
- A private blockchain provides complete data privacy. Network access on a private blockchain is available only to authorized parties. A potential user must get permission before accessing any data or participating in the process.
- A private blockchain has high performance. Since the number of participants is limited, consensus can be reached through a few validators, which means that private blockchains are much faster and can scale easily.
- There is no anonymity in a private blockchain. Users are known to the administrator; they provide documents and other information to confirm their identity.
Why and When to Use a Private Blockchain?
Private blockchains can be applied in many areas, from accounting to agriculture. It can help save time and money by automating transactions between different organizations.
Why do companies choose private blockchain?
- Increased confidence. Implementing private blockchain helps companies determine the origin and recall counterfeit products in a timely manner.
- Immutability. Once the information is recorded, no one can edit or change it, as the blockchain concept implies immutability. This prevents data corruption and reduces the chance of fraud.
- Efficiency. Private blockchain fast-tracks various transactions. High processing speed is a factor affecting the overall efficiency of a company.
What are the best use cases of private blockchain?
Blockchain systems provide a direct link between policyholders and insurers. This helps to avoid the use of unreliable third-party systems and time-consuming and costly manual operations for application management.
Any financial transaction involves the participation of many parties, each of which uses its internal solutions. With blockchain, banks can work together on the same system to track transactions, making it faster.
Blockchain is a great idea for storing and managing electronic medical records that contain patients’ health information. Blockchain-based healthcare solutions make these records quickly accessible, keep data secure, and help streamline medical reporting.
Blockchain technology allows companies to track every component of goods, determine their authenticity and prevent fakes from entering the supply chain. Thus, blockchain makes supply chains faster, more open, and more reliable.
Companies Using Private Blockchains
Here are some examples of successful implementation of private blockchain technologies:
- American multinational retail corporation Walmart uses a private blockchain food tracking system powered by IBM’s Hyperledger Fabric. With it, the company traces the product’s origin and the entire production chain within seconds.
- Streaming service Spotify has acquired blockchain startup Mediachain to create a secure environment to protect copyrights and pay musicians.
- DHL and Accenture have launched a track-and-trace blockchain system for the pharmaceutical industry that documents every step, from production to purchase, using unique serial numbers assigned to products.
How Does a Private Blockchain Network Work?
Private and public blockchains have the same principle of operation.
Every computer on the network must confirm every transaction on the chain. Transactions are processed in blocks, which can store several thousand records. When the memory in one block runs out, it is closed, signed, and transferred to a new block in the form of a unique hash. Thus, each block is connected to the previous block. This structure makes it impossible to return or change a transaction.
However private blockchain has features that differ it from th