The phrase ‘blockchain protocol’ often comes up when we discuss blockchain technology. Blockchain is a complicated topic, and one where many of us might not know where to start.

In this article, we’ll explain what exactly a blockchain protocol is, how it’s different to a platform, and what these words should mean to you.

What’s a blockchain protocol?

A blockchain protocol forms the foundation of the blockchain. This is, inherently, a foundational layer of code that sets the framework for blockchain activity.

This can apply to cryptocurrency but is not restrained to it. For example, Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency. Bitcoins are exchanged utilising the Bitcoin Protocol. Protocols can distinguish how digital assets are shared.

The Bitcoin Protocol, as well as the Ethereum one, uses proof-of-work system that involves mining. This means that data is distributed (but secure) and multiple computers must come to a consensus to deter any malicious attacks.

There are protocols that function differently. Hyperledger Fabric, for one, does not use proof-of-work or proof-of-stake. It is not a protocol designed for cryptocurrency. It is, however, fully permissioned. This means that businesses can have control over the blockchain network. A fully permissioned system is not possible in Bitcoin or Ethereum.

So, how is it different to a blockchain platform?

When we talk about ‘blockchain platforms’ here, we’re talking about platforms that use blockchain technology, but are not fundamentally blockchains. An example is our platform STAMP. It is supported by blockchain but uses other protocols and can exist on its own without blockchain technology.

This is why platforms being ‘blockchain agnostic’ is so important. This means that they can utilise any protocol. Many platforms are restricted to one. Because of this, some businesses are reluctant to use them. A technology team might make a bespoke product for a company, but if it’s not agnostic, there could be significant problems down the line in case the protocol has issues or becomes unsupported.

When a blockchain platform is interoperable, it can use any blockchain protocol, therefore is not restraining a company’s right to choose and be flexible.

Our platform STAMP is blockchain agnostic and offers the option to choose. This means that you can choose to:

  • Be flexible in your choice of blockchain
  • Use a specific blockchain protocol with the opportunity to change
  • Not use blockchain at all

You can read more about STAMP here.