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Microsoft's Azure Blockchain as a Service offers Ethereum (adapted for Consortium purpose) and other private blockchain implementations, IBM's Blockchain as a Service offers the Hyperledger Fabric permissioned Blockchain network. It's understandable that currently most organisations/companies would seek permissioned blockchain networks, a blockchain network where they can control who joins the network and who is allowed to conduct transactions etc.

However, there seems to be no interest or even any existing offer for permissionless blockchain as a service. Is there any benefit/point in offering the Ethereum protocol in public permissionless configuration through blockchain as a service / SaaS model?

The point as described by Microsoft for Blockchain as a Service is a quickly provisioned environment where the creator can get familiar with the technology, fail fast, fast recovery, low-price model based on pay per usage etc. But when a permissionless blockchain network is considered by any company such as Storj which currently runs on the permissionless Bitcoin protocol, would they in any case seek blockchain as a service? To me it seems there is no point.

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I totally get your question. Let my try to share my view on it.

Permissioned blockchain implementations are the first choice when it comes to corporate use if you will. Access to it can be controlled and there might even be a linkage between digital and legal identities. And that's all good for a variety of reasons.

Let's talk use case now. Think about a simple KYC (Know-your-customer) use case where a Financial Institution wants to use the potential of blockchain to validate their customers and securely share the information within a banking community.

Doing this via a permissioned blockchain implementation would limit its public use meaning that consumers would need to be explicitly and manually added.

To enable every consumer to participate you would rather need a permissionless implementation as you want to keep the access open.

So basically I'm trying to say that there are use cases out there, where benefits of both, permissionless and permissioned implementations might be desired and some people might like use their own permissionless implementation for their use cases. Some people would consider this rather as a "Shared Permissioned" implementation...

(There may be better solutions out there on that example to overcome some of the challenges, but I just wanted to use it for my point :) )

Does this help somehow?

/B

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Public permissionless Ethereum is already offered as a service.

https://infura.io/

This is because entry level developers don't have computational resources to run their full nodes (need > 4GB RAM, > 200 GB disk space).

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