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I found a pre-existing question for this topic here, but I am still not clear on the answer so I am asking the question in a slightly different way:

Is Ethereum a single blockchain, or a framework for building blockchains?

I am still learning all about blockchain and my understanding is that the biggest value proposition is that I can make transactions with anyone else in the world, but I assume that this needs to occur on the public block-chain which is why I am confused; why would anyone want a private blockchain? Is it the goal of Ethereum to create a single blockchain, or is the magic more in the fact that it is a framework for creating private blockchains?

Thanks in advance!

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Ethereum is both a protocol (framework) and implementations (public and private blockchains, various clients like Geth, Parity etc.).

The best use-case right now is the public Ethereum Mainnet, which has tens of thousands of mining nodes processing transactions, with miners earning fees for keeping the network secure and distributed. However, all the transactions and all the smart contract source code is visible to anyone, thus no privacy.

A private blockchain is useful for individuals or corporations that still want the out-of-the-box features of a blockchain (transactions, ledger, immutability, auditability), but also want privacy as well. In a private blockchain, they can control who joins the network and kick the bad guys out at will.

Actually, many banks are already working on private blockchains like R3 Corda, that are so different in functionality already as to call themselves DLTs (Distributed Ledger Technologies), not even blockchains.

It's a rapidly evolving field, and many definitions are blurry.

What's important is understanding your Use Case well enough to determine if Ethereum Mainnet is the right platform for you, or some other public blockchain, or do you need to fork and customize your own solution.

Good luck figuring it all out!

  • Thanks very much! This does answer my question but with this fascinating technology I am finding that the more questions I have answered, the more I have ;). Thanks again. – Matt Cashatt Jul 22 '17 at 0:17

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