In this post, we'll discuss the main factors to be considered while choosing a blockchain platform.
The choice of a platform for deploying your dApp or running blockchain-based solutions depends on a number of factors, which are considered below.
One of the primary factors to look at is the blockchain's consensus algorithm. The fact that a specific blockchain uses Proof of Work or Proof of Stake determines its main features, including, for instance, its governance setup.
The next factor to be considered is cryptography used by the blockchain. What libraries does it use and support? For instance, Ethereum uses secp256k1, while Cardano and Monero use Edwards25519.
Another thing to be taken into account is transaction processing methodology of the blockchain in question. When are transactions ordered, validated and executed? For instance, in the Ethereum network, transactions are sent to validating nodes to be validated before being executed and written to the relevant block.
The next group of factors deals with the blockchain's ability to support higher processing rates – scalability. For instance, Ethereum, the most popular public blockchain, processes up to 30 transactions per second (tps). For Cardano, the maximum throughput is 250 tps, and Solana processes roughly 3,000 transactions per second.
Requirement for scalability depends on a specific solution or dApp that you plan to deploy on the blockchain. Some types of solutions don't require very high scalability. But, for instance, dApps or solutions related to payments or any other area or finance will by default require higher scalability.
Security is one of the major concerns when it comes to blockchains, as malicious attacks could lead to stolen funds or damage your business in many other ways.
When choosing a blockchain platform, carefully study security track records of all platforms you have in mind. Have any of them recently seen critical vulnerabilities that resulted in losses of their users' funds or any other issues?
It is also highly advisable to check the platform's audit history. Has the platform, including all of its components, been audited by known and trusted auditing projects?
Equally important are privacy issues. What privacy mechanisms for field obfuscation does the platform use? Is it possible to share specific fields of data stored on the platform with only specific users? Is it possible to run a business logic that compares values of data fields without revealing the actual data?
It's advisable to pay attention to confidentiality mechanisms used by the platform. Is it possible to automatically rotate public keys to make sure that the end user receiving information won't be resolvable to a known identity?
Another concern is privacy for senders. Here, a number of important questions need to be addressed. Is it possible to avoid sharing a transaction with all parties in cases where the transaction is intended to be seen only by specific identified parties?
Tamper-resistance is another characteristic to which you should pay attention. You need to know if a blockchain in questions allows a user to change your local node state and history. If a transaction or its state were to be removed, what would the impact be – like, for instance, would everything on the platform go out of sync?
And the final consideration in the area of privacy is transaction recovery. What is the process for recovering a transaction by a node on the platform you are looking at? If transactions are not fully distributed to all parties, how is the latest agreed upon version going to be downloaded?
Next, you need to take developer experience into account, as running your dApps or other solutions on the blockchain will largely depend upon the specifics of smart contract operations.
One of the main factors to consider is smart contract languages used on the platform. Is a specific blockchain's smart contract language popular enough? Has it been thoroughly tested? Does it have a substantial community?
You'll also need to consider what smart contract standards and libraries the platform uses and if there are widely agreed-upon implementations of functions for token standards, such as, for instance, ERC-20 or ERC-721on Ethereum.
Smart contract upgradability is another major issue. What is the process for updating applications? Does the platform have thoroughly defined patterns for upgrading smart contract code?
Then, you will also have to look at how smart contracts are deployed on the blockchain - by whitelisted addresses, nodes, a registered entity, such as a business network added to the blockchain, or in another way? Are node-level permissions required to deploy dApps on the platform?
You may also want to look at how real-world data is delivered to the blockchain – what oracles are used?
Another consideration that could have an impact on your decision regarding the choice of blockchains is interoperability within dApps and networks. Can a dApp deployed on the blockchain call another dApp? Can the blockchain or its sidechain reference data from a tethered network?
Blockchain platforms can vary significantly in their functionalities. Some platforms, for instance, would be more suitable for applications that rely on smart contracts for simplicity and transparency in interactions between parties, while others could be better suited for payments and financial transactions.
You may also want to look at adoption metrics for blockchains. A blockchain that has been adopted by more projects and dApps is more likely to be regularly upgraded and developed.
Finally, it would be advisable to have a look at the platform's capability for governance. Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) are widely used for governance of onchain projects. Therefore, you may want to check if any of the projects deployed on the projects run DAOs.
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