How Should Companies Select a Specific Blockchain Framework?

Objective

The terms distributed ledger technology (DLT) and blockchain are often used synonymously. In this paper, four different DLTs were examined for the use in a permissioned scenario to help companies to select the right technology. The four DLTs studied are Corda, Hyperledger Fabric, Ethereum and the less popular solution Quasar. Since Quasar can be based on different infrastructures, the combination with Stellar was chosen for this consideration.

Terminology and framework

In this paper, the term DLT refers to all systems that theoretically enable many or all economic actors to simultaneously and completely view transactions of all kinds. According to this definition, the blockchain is only one form of DLT, which enables the consideration of other DLTs such as Hyperledger Fabric, R3 Corda or Quasar/Stellar in addition to Ethereum.

DLTs in comparison

Ethereum — The all-round blockchain.

Ethereum has been developed as a permissionless, public blockchain, in which every smart contract can be programmed in connection with decentralized applications (dApps). For this, a virtual machine (VM) is provided on the blockchain, for which a fee must be paid depending on the effort required to execute the programming code.

Hyperledger Fabric — The framework of the Linux Foundation.

Hyperledger Fabric is a blockchain framework of the Linux Foundation. In the project “Hyperledger” several DLT infrastructures and projects of the Linux Foundation are aggregated.

R3 Corda — The “blockchain” for the financial industry.

Corda is a global logical ledger of R3 in which all participating economic actors interact with each other. It enables the parties to securely, consistently, reliably, privately and bindingly record and manage agreements with each other. The word “global” in the global logical ledger means that each participant only sees the data that affects them. The logical part refers to the physical implementation, which can be composed differently. Unlike Fabric and Ethereum, Corda was developed exclusively for the financial industry.

Quasar/Stellar — The consortia blockchain cash system.

Quasar is a restricted, DLT-based, electronic POS system with integrated rules. These rules serve to comply with legal and regulatory guidelines. Quasar enables instant and irreversible digital payments between businesses, individuals and devices on the Internet of Things (IoT). Quasar is based on the “multipurpose wallet output model” developed by the company Quantoz and can be used for many applications, such as extending legacy systems for financial services.

The analysis

The following six categories were selected for the analysis of the four DLTs: Ease of installation, efficiency and performance, cost efficiency, release capability and up-to-dateness, security and management.

Table 1: DLT in comparison: Installation — User friendliness
Table 2: DLTs in comparison: Efficiency/Performance
Table 3: DLTs in comparison: Cost efficiency
Table 4: DLTs in comparison: Release capability/Up-to-dateness
Table 5: DLTs in comparison: Safety
Table 6: DLTs in comparison: Administration

Conclusion

Currently, Ethereum is the most widespread blockchain with a virtual machine and the DLT with the most developers, smart contracts and applications worldwide. Thus, Ethereum offers by far the most documentation and criticism by third parties.

Remarks

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  • Blockchain knowledge: We wrote a Medium article on how to acquire the necessary blockchain knowledge within a workload of 10 working days.
  • Our two blockchain books: We have edited two books on how blockchain will change our society (Amazon link) in general and the everything related to finance (Amazon link) in particular. Both books are available in print and for Kindle — currently in German and soon in English. The authors have been more than 20 well-known blockchain experts in startups, corporations and the government from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein — all contributing their expertise to these two books.
Our two books: the first one on blockchain and the society and the second one on blockchain and finance

Authors

Daniel Höfelmann, alumnus of the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, is Director Innovation Management at Aareal Bank in Wiesbaden. You can contact him via mail (daniel.hoefelmann@aareal-bank.com), via LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/danielhoefelmann/) or follow him on Twitter (@danielhoefelman).

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Philipp Sandner

Philipp Sandner

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Professor | Lecturer | Author | Investor | Frankfurt School Blockchain Center