Blockchain Platforms

Blockchain is made up of a collection of underlying technologies  that  can  be  bound together   in   multiple ways. This allows blockchains to be configured in multiple ways to serve different  purposes. Our review of various blockchain platforms identified four different approaches represented by the options outlined below.



Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency with  a related open-source platform. Bitcoin’s blockchain is primarily designed  to support the exchange of cryptocurrency without an intermediary third party. Bitcoin assumes no trust between parties and requires numerous decentralized  nodes to ensure the blockchain has not been corrupted by malicious actors.


Much like Bitcoin, Ripple is based on   an open-source protocol that uses blockchain to exchange value. Ripple has an established user-base of  regional and global banks that need to transact international payments  in  real-time. Ripple also allows the trade of goods, property, and items of value.


Whereas the two other platforms are  primarily focused on their own currency  trade, Ethereum launched in July 2015 with the goal of providing a fully functioning programming     language to allow users to build full  applications with an integrated blockchain. Ethereum is a crowd-funded and open-source programming language. Users of Ethereum can program executable smart contracts and decentralized applications using the blockchain.


The Hyperledger project focuses on developing an open source and collaborative approach to distributed ledgers. By developing standards and an overall framework for blockchains, Hyperledger has gained support from organizations including Cisco,  American Express, and IBM. Some library and information science schools are incorporating Hyperledger into their curriculum. Hyperledger has stated they will never build a cryptocurrency.