Is Ethereum a Private or Public Blockchain?

By Prashant Jha

Ethereum was founded by Vitalik Buterin in 2013 and the development of the blockchain began in July 2014 and the network’s mainnet went live in July 2015.

The Ethereum blockchain is quite different from the pioneer of cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, as the main net is a complete ecosystem for various blockchain based activities. Ethereum is a public blockchain which has tokenization facilities for the new entrants, smart contracts, decentralized applications (DApps) and Ethereum Virtual Machine(EVM)

There has been a growing confusion, especially amongst the new entrants whether the Ethereumain is private blockchain or public blockchain.

The short answer is Public blockchain, but this articles would help you understand the difference between the two and also tell you why Ethereum, bitcoin and most of the other universal cryptocurrencies fall under the public blockchain category.

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What is Public Blockchain?

Public Blockchain refers to a distributed system which is decentralized and can be used by anyone in the world if they are a part of it. Public blockchain represents true decentralization and the auditing of the Blockchain can be done by anyone.

Each transaction on a public blockchain is saved on the node which can be downloaded by anyone with enough memory on their computers. Each and every transaction on the public blockchain is verified by the peers and is registered on one or the other block on the network.

Public Blockchain are transparent and safe as each transaction on the network is registered and verified by the peers, and the complete database is available for anyone to download. Someone who has a node downloaded on their computer can check the first ever transaction made on the genesis block, up until the last transaction on the last block.

Public Blockchain are quite costly not just in terms of money, but the time and resources to build a public blockchain network are quite high.

All these attributes hold true for the Ethereum network, which is a complete blockchain ecosystem along with the local token Ether. Another confusion that has been commonly known among the crypto enthusiasts is confusing Ethereum mainnet with the token Ether.

Whenever someone says that they have so and so the number of Ethereum, tell them they have Ether and not Ethereum. Ethereum is the network while Ether is the token or fuel required to function on the Ethereum network.

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What is Private Blockchain?

A private Blockchain is also a decentralized form of networking, but the network is limited to a specific area, organization or even a group. You can imagine Private blockchain as a miniature public blockchain as the access to the mainnet is available to only a selected few.

This means the private blockchain can still enjoy all the major benefits of the Blockchain technology but does not necessarily have to be completely decentralized. As the network gives permission of auditing and making changes to a selected few.

The main use case of private blockchain can be seen in intra-business deals, where both the parties can come together to form a private blockchain and decide on certain pre-requisite and give permission of making changes into the distributed ledger to as selected few.

The benefit of having a private blockchain includes complete control since the network is small any new changes or implementation can be done quite easily and without halting the complete network as seen in case of the public blockchain.

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Why is Ethereum a Public Blockchain?

Ethereum network falls under the public blockchain category because it fulfil every criterion of being so. The network is decentralized and distributed, anyone can download the Ethereum node on their system and verify any transaction on the network since its inception in 2015.

The Ethereum network is not just a public blockchain but more of a platform which can be used by many others to help them create new tokens for their blockchains. Other networks can also use the Ethereum mainnet for smart contracts.

The smart contracts are a set of codes which has predefined criteria and are programmed to execute itself if those criteria are met. Thus, we can conclude that Ethereum is not just public blockchain but a complete public blockchain ecosystem.

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Prashant Jha

As a content writer Prashant believes in presenting complex topics in simple laymen terms. He is a tech enthusiast and an avid reader.

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