Public Blockchain

Public Blockchain definition: A blockchain network accessible and viewable by anyone, with a public ledger documenting the complete transaction history.

A public blockchain refers to a decentralized and open digital ledger that operates on a global scale, accessible to anyone with an internet connection. It enables the transparent recording and verification of transactions, utilizing a consensus mechanism to validate and secure data across a network of participants.

Public blockchains are decentralized networks where no single entity has absolute control. Instead, transactions are validated by a distributed network of nodes using a consensus mechanism like Proof of Work or Proof of Stake, ensuring security and censorship resistance. All transactions on a public blockchain are transparent and accessible to anyone. This transparency contributes to trust, accountability, and the prevention of fraudulent activities.

Public blockchains are open to anyone, allowing individuals and entities to participate without needing prior approval. This fosters inclusivity and innovation by lowering entry barriers.

Some notable examples of public blockchains include:

  • Bitcoin: Bitcoin is the first and most well-known public blockchain, serving as the foundation for the cryptocurrency of the same name. It operates as a decentralized peer-to-peer electronic cash system, allowing users to send and receive Bitcoin without intermediaries.

  • Ethereum: Ethereum is a versatile public blockchain that introduced smart contracts, enabling the creation of decentralized applications (dApps) and customized tokens. It has catalyzed the growth of the decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible token (NFT) ecosystems.

Public blockchains offer benefits like decentralization, transparency, and security. However, they also face challenges related to scalability, energy consumption (in the case of PoW), and potential conflicts between decentralization and governance.

The concept of a public blockchain embodies the principles of decentralization, transparency, and inclusivity. It forms the foundation for cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, and decentralized applications that are transforming industries and challenging traditional paradigms. As blockchain technology continues to evolve, it will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of finance, governance, and digital interactions on a global scale.

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Michelle Legge
By Michelle LeggeHead of Crypto Tax Education
Updated Nov 9, 2023
This article has been fact checked and reviewed as per our editorial policy.