The best blockchain platforms in 2023
As crypto grew through 2021 and (most of) 2022, there were huge numbers of new people who jumped into the blockchain space.
Most were just looking to turn a quick buck. But it also attracted a lot of builders who are tirelessly working to create useful tools and brands for users across the globe.
Whether you're a user or a builder, there's one question you're likely asking. Which blockchain platform is best?
Should you go with the numbers and focus on Ethereum? Maybe you should jump into a newer contender or L2 chain for scalability like Coinbase's Base chain. Or maybe you need a specialised blockchain that's focused on your interests and goals - like Wax for blockchain games?
Knowing which chain is best is a difficult thing.
Below, you'll find a list of the chains and some highlights of their top user reviews. Below that, some detailed information to help you choose the best blockchain platform for your needs.
Most popular blockchain platforms
Proof-of-Stake (dPoS) and Byzantine Fault Tolerance
0.50 NEAR per transaction
- Fast Transaction Speeds
- Enhanced Security
- Low Transaction Costs
- User-Friendly Platform
- Relatively low trading volume and liquidity
- Scalability issues when network is used by large numbers
- Transactions on the blockchain are not guaranteed to be secure
- Lack of real-world applications
- Low market capitalization
- Fast Transaction Processing Time
- High Throughput (500,000 TPS)
- Efficient Energy Usage
- Low Latency
- Poor Documentation
- Low Network Security
- Lack of Decentralization
- Limited Use Cases
- Coinbase’s L2 Chain is accessible to all levels of developers.
- Full backwards Ethereum compatibility
- Built-in support for Ledger device
- Stablecoin bridge
- Potential centralization of crypto trading at Coinbase
- Potential regulatory issues
0.16 ADA per transaction
- Sustainability and Incentives
- Security and Privacy
- Backed by academic research
- Low transaction fees
- Lack of Support for Smart Contracts
- Smaller Developer Community
- High Entry Cost for Stakers
- Poor Scalability Solution
Proof of Authority
$0.30 - $0.90 / transaction
- Enhanced Security
- Highly Scalable
- Fast Confirmations
- Versatile Applications: With its open source nature, developers have the flexibility to create a wide variety of applications on top of the Cronos network to suit their business needs, including secure peer-to-peer lending networks, asset management platforms and decentralized storage solutions.
- High Upfront Setup Costs
- Limited Scalability
- Possible Security Issues
- Unstable Infrastructure
- Limited Features
- Users report high transaction and gas fees
Historical average of ~ 0.0034 ETH
- Smart contract capabilities
- Speed and Scalability
- Community support
- High Security
- Limited Scalability without L2 solutions
- Poor Performance under Load
- High gas costs for Users and Developers
- 4. Deployment Errors Can be Costly
Proof of authority
Gas and network fees
- Purpose-built for DeFi
- EVM compatible
- Transparent and fully verifiable
- Robust, scalable infrastructure
- Open source
- New and not as established as others
Combination of Proof-of-Authority (PoA) and Proof-of-Stake (PoS)
0.0005 HECO per transaction
- Good Security
- Reduced Risk of Corruption
- Limited functionalities
- Limited Number of Transactions
- Privacy on the Heco blockchain is still limited when compared with other platforms.
- Uncertain Regulation Compliance
- Low Fees
- Decentralized & Secure Governance Model
- Community Focused Protocols
- Speed & Efficiency
- Improved APIs
- Vulnerable to a 51% attack
- Hive is heavily reliant on its steemuser base
- Lack of development on smart contracts
- Steep learning curve
Zero-knowledge proofs (ZK–proofs)
- Increased Security
- Ease of Use
- High Transaction Speed
- Reduced Costs
- Improved Scalability & Flexibility
- Difficulty Adding New Features
- Lack of Flexibility & Scalability
- Inadequate Error Management Tools
- Increased Risk for Major Hacks and Outages
- Limited Complexity Capabilities & Insufficient Privacy Controls
- Better security for data and communications
- Reduced complexity
- Cost savings
- Increased efficiency
- Enhanced scalability
- Hardware cost is high
- Security Risks:
- Performance Issues
- Unclear Rules and Regulations
Nominated proof-of-stake (PoS)
~0.016 to 0.036 DOT
- Affordable gas fees
- Incredible versatility
- Huge interoperability between different chains
- Block rewards encourage collaboration
- Low Node Suppor
- Lack of Developer Resources
- Security due to the lack of node support
- High Barriers for Entry
~$0.002 per transaction
- Great network of dApp developers
- User friendly experience
- Unique economic incentives
- Transition smoothly from Ethereum's mainnet to Polygon’s sidechains
- Fast, low cost transactions
- Steep Learning Curve
- Potential for code Redundancy
- Network-specific smart contracts can contain serious vulnerabilities
- Limited Services
- High Gas Fees
$0.00025 per exchange
- Solana is Fast
- Capable of confirming up to 650,000 transactions per second
- Low Fees
- Energy Efficient
- Can be flooded by spam transactions
- Mainnet reached full capacity shortly after launch
- High gas fees
- Users need to solely trust Solana Labs developers while using Solana
$0.000005 per transaction
- Fast Transactions
- Low Storage Costs
- Security and Decentralization
- Open Source Platform
- Limited Use Cases
- Significant Competition
- Potential Security Issues
- Scalability Challenges
- Centralized Governance Structure
- Poor User Experience
Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPoS)
2% network fee
- Low energy cost
- Decentralized Applications (dapps)
- Limited Functionality
- Low Adoption Rate
- Lack of Certainty
- Security Risks
What is a blockchain platform?
Blockchain platforms provide a platform for creating decentralized applications that can interact with each other securely and transparently. These platforms enable developers to build and deploy a wide range of Web3 functions, including NFTs, smart contracts, and transactions.
If you've seen any news about Crypto, NFTs, DAOs, or (for those who have dug a little deeper) smart contracts over the last few years, all of those things are built on blockchain platforms.
They're completely different from existing software and development methods. Unlike existing approaches that have one centralized location, blockchain platforms create decentralized applications.
All that means is they're much safer as they don't have a single point of failure. The scripting languages on these platforms are built specifically for this purpose - to provide robust and secure infrastructure for decentralized applications.
Smart contracts are generally considered the first non-cryptocurrency use of blockchain platforms.
Ethereum is a prime example of how smart contracts have been implemented effectively on blockchain platforms.
Since then, many blockchain platforms have emerged with improved features, such as Solana and Polkadot. Non-profit foundations back many of these blockchain platforms, including Ethereum, Ripple, Tron, Stellar, Solana, and Polkadot.
As a result, development focuses not only on profits but also on creating long-term sustainability by aligning values and incentives among various stakeholders such as developers, investors, users etc., thus providing significant economic benefits over time.
Blockchain platforms have pros and cons as with any other service. A lot of people believe the cons outweigh the pros. But a lot of those same people also believe the cons will be reduced as we get to grips with the platforms.
Key blockchain terms you should probably know.
If you're interested in learning more about blockchain platforms and how they're working to change the way applications on the internet work, you're gonna need to know what the below terms mean.
1. API (application programming interface)
This basically allows a piece of software, like an app, to work together with the blockchain. It allows them to pass information from one to the other.
For example, you can use the CoinMarketCap API to pull the latest information about a cryptocurrency's value and trade volume into your app.
2. Blockchain as a service (BaaS)
Much like the established SaaS (software as a service), brands are spinning up their own services to create and manage cloud networks for others in the blockchain space.
3. Distributed ledger
A decentralized or distributed ledger is a database that exists on a network of computers instead of one centralized server.
Most brands have one centralized ledger which records all information., That's a huge weakness as, if that centralized entity is stolen/hacked, the bad actor gets everything.
Decentralized ledgers split the information over multiple servers. By being decentralized, there is no single point of control or failure, making it extremely difficult for anyone to manipulate the data. Each computer in the network has an identical copy of the ledger which is constantly updated in real-time through a consensus algorithm.
This is the core of most blockchain tech and services.
4. dApp (Decentralized App)
You have apps on your phone. They're almost always centralized. By that I mean there is one server with all of the user information, and that server is often controlled by one party.
Decentralized apps make use of blockchain's decentralized ledger system. Which means no one party has control of everything to do with your information.
5. DeFi - Decentralized finance
Rather than sending money through a centralized entity like a bank, decentralized finance lets you send money or assets direct to the recipient.
It's faster and you don't pay fees to the centralized entities involved.
6. TPS (transfers per second)
This is basically how many transactions a blockchain can action. A lot of criticism is levelled at blockchains because they have lower TPS than something like Visa.
The fact is, Visa isn't a layer one solution like Ethereum. It's actually a Layer3 solution.
Which is where thew benefits of blockchain shine as many Layer 2 networks like Bitcoin's Lightning network have higher TPS than Visa.
7. Layer 1, 2 chains
Layer 1 chains are the core blockchain that records data and secures the information.
They often have low TPS and are very energy intensive (a lot of solutions are being worked on for this and they've already greatly improved things.
Layer 2 chains sit on top of the Layer 1 and help it with speed and scalability. They make use of innovative solutions to help L1s process more transactions without compromising security.
A basic example is Bitcoin.
The Bitcoin network can process ~5 transactions per second.
The lightning network (Bitcoin's L2), can process ~1,000,000 TPS.
Visa, on the other hand, can only process ~1,700 TPS.
Web3 is everything that encompasses the world of blockchain tech and decentralization. That includes, crypto, NFTs, ledger tech, and even the culture in the space.
What are the types of blockchain platforms?
Don't make the mistake of thinking there is only one kind of blockchain. there are actually a few different kinds with different use cases.
1. Public blockchain
Anyone can use public blockchains. they're decentralized and open source and can be used for transactions, development, or mining.
They are transparent and show each transaction publicly for examination. You just have to head to something like Etherscan to see all of the information.
These ecosystems cannot be shut down since there is no central control over them. Some people love this idea of no control, while others understand that it makes safety a lot harder to ensure.
2. Private blockchain
Private blockchains are not available to anyone to join. They're most often created by and for private companies to help manage their processes, often of confidential information.
While private blockchains can be easier to secure and monitor, they can also prove more difficult to investigate or audit.
3. Hybrid blockchain
Hybrid blockchains make use of the features of both public and private blockchains.
They offer flexibility in both governance and security without giving up the transparency so many people like.
With a hybrid, you're able to prevent access to sensitive information on-chain while also allowing people to see certain transfer and transaction data. Best of both worlds.
4. Consortium blockchain
Consortium or federated blockchains restrict access to only preselected user groups.
These are less popular and generally only used by small organizations. The benefits here are that they offer faster transactions without compromising security.
What are the key features of blockchain platforms?
So let's look at a few of the key features of blockchain platforms. These are what you should be looking at when trying to understand whether or not a particular blockchain is right for you.
- Decentralized P2P Network: Blockchain platforms are built on a decentralized peer-to-peer (P2P) network, which enables users to exchange information and transactions without the need for intermediaries or central authorities.
- Distributed Ledger: One of the core features of blockchain is the distributed ledger, which is a decentralized database that records all transactions on the blockchain network.
- Consensus Mechanism: Blockchain platforms use a consensus mechanism to validate transactions and ensure that all nodes in the network have agreed upon the validity of each transaction before it becomes part of the blockchain.
- Smart Contracts: Smart contracts are self-executing programs with explicit rules and conditions encoded on the blockchain, enabling them to execute automatically when certain conditions are met.
- Security Features: Blockchain platforms also leverage several security features such as encryption, hashed data storage, and public-private key cryptography.
- Transparency: Due to its decentralized nature, blockchain offers transparency in transactions recorded on its distributed ledger.
- Immutability: Once recorded on the blockchain's distributed ledger, transactions cannot be altered or deleted, ensuring an immutable record of all actions taken by parties involved in a transaction.
What are the benefits of blockchain platforms?
So you now know a little about the best blockchains out there and what they actually are. What are the benefits of moving your business to one of these blockchain platforms though?
- Decentralization - Blockchain technology allows for decentralized transactions, meaning there is no need for a third-party intermediary (like a bank) to process transactions.
- Security - Blockchain platforms use advanced encryption techniques to ensure that data on the network cannot be easily tampered with or hacked.
- Transparency - All transactions on the blockchain are publicly visible and cannot be altered once they have been recorded, ensuring that all parties in the network are held accountable for their actions.
- Efficiency - Since blockchain platforms eliminate the need for intermediaries, transactions can be processed faster and more efficiently than traditional methods.
- Cost-saving - Due to increased efficiency and decentralization, costs associated with processing transactions can be greatly reduced over time.
- Traceability - The blockchain allows for easy tracking of product supply chains, making it easier to prevent fraud and ensure authenticity.
- Accessibility - Since blockchains do not rely on traditional banking systems, they can provide financial services to individuals who do not have access to traditional banks or other financial institutions.
- Smart contracts - Blockchains allow for self-executing contracts called smart contracts which elminate the need for intermediaries and help reduce transaction costs even further.
What are the cons of blockchain platforms?
The pros are never complete without the cons. Anyone who tells you blockchain platforms are always the best option is lying to you. There are always downsides which might make blockchain platforms unsuitable for you. Below are a few of the commonly referred to negatives of blockchain platforms.
- Scalability Issues: Blockchain platforms have inherent scaling limitations due to the consensus-based validation mechanism that requires a large number of nodes to validate transactions. This can lead to slower transaction processing times as well as higher fees.
- Energy Consumption: Most blockchain platforms use a proof-of-work algorithm that involves solving complex mathematical puzzles in order to validate transactions on the network. This process requires significant amounts of computational power and energy consumption, which can be detrimental to the environment.
- Lack of Interoperability: Different blockchain platforms are often incompatible with each other, which hampers their ability to exchange data and communicate effectively with each other.
- Limited functionality: Blockchain is primarily used for basic financial transactions such as transferring money or cryptocurrencies. However, it is not yet equipped to handle complex smart contracts or execute larger-scale programs.
- Security Concerns: While blockchain is considered secure due to its decentralized nature and cryptographic algorithms, there are still concerns related to hacking attacks or potential exploits in specific implementations.
- Regulatory Uncertainty: Due to its perceived anonymity and lack of central control, governments around the world continue to grapple with how best to regulate blockchain technology and protect against various forms of criminal activity that may arise from its use.
How to choose the right blockchain platform for your needs
Choosing the right blockchain platform for your needs is anything but easy. There's a lot to consider as, unfortunately, a lot of blockchain platforms are siloed.
By that I mean if you operate on blockchain platform A, you might not have an easy time also working with blockchain platform B.
There are an increasing number of cross-chain interoperability solutions being worked on. And eventually I'm sure we'll hit an ecosystem that works flawlessly together. But for now, you want to make an informed decision.
Here's a few things you'll want to consider.
Scalability is a huge issue with blockchain platforms.
Some simply don't yet have the capability to help brands that want and need to do massive scale. Make sure you look at the chain and it's ability for TPS to make sure it can help you achieve your goals.
Security is another key feature. People like blockchain solutions because they're more secure. If a chain isn't secure, has been the victim of various hacks, and/or has few blocks making it vulnerable to a 51% attack, it might not be the best chain for you.
3. Consensus mechanism
Some consensus mechanisms (lie Proof of work) are more energy intensive and thus expensive.
Proof of stake is cheaper for many.
4. Who's building on it
Check who else is running their dApp on that chain.
And go against conventional wisdom. You might think going with a chain that has no direct competitors is ane easy way for you to attract users on that chain and forge partnerships.
often the reason you have no competitors in a space is because it doesn't work.
When you're getting started go to chains with a lot of direct competitors. They've proven that chain works for your use case.
5. Programming language support
If your dev team is only comfortable and experienced in one or two programming languages, make it easy for them by picking a chain they can work with.
It'll reduce the time to launch and the costs involved.
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