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Permissioned vs. Permissionless Blockchains: Choosing the Right Model for Enterprises

In this article, we explore the differences between permissioned and permissionless blockchains and outline the advantages and disadvantages of each model in enterprise settings.

Purple Dash
16/10/2023 9:03 AM

Table of Contents

The emergence of blockchain technology has paved the way for new and innovative solutions for businesses, organizations, and governments. Today, enterprises are exploring various blockchain models to transform their operations and enhance their legacy systems.

Two of the most popular blockchain models are permissioned and permissionless blockchains. While both models share similarities, they differ in crucial ways, making it essential for enterprises to choose the right model for their specific needs. In this article, we will explore the differences between permissioned and permissionless blockchains and outline the advantages and disadvantages of each model in enterprise settings.

Key Takeaways

  • Enterprises have the option to choose between permissioned and permissionless blockchains for their blockchain solutions.
  • Permissioned blockchains offer enhanced privacy, scalability, and security features, but they are more centralized and may not be suitable for all use cases.
  • Permissionless blockchains are more decentralized and transparent, but they lack privacy and scalability, and may not be compliant with all regulations.
  • Enterprises must consider their specific requirements when selecting a blockchain model, including security, scalability, regulatory compliance, and the nature of their operations.
  • Real-world examples of both permissioned and permissionless blockchain solutions demonstrate their potential benefits, but implementing blockchain solutions can also pose challenges, including scalability, interoperability, regulatory compliance, governance, and integration with existing systems.

Understanding Permissioned Blockchains

Permissioned blockchains are private networks that require users to have explicit access permissions to participate in the network. This type of blockchain is designed to support enterprise use cases. Private blockchains are permissioned blockchains that restrict access to only authorized parties.

Enterprise use cases for permissioned blockchains are vast and varied. These blockchain systems have been used in supply chain management, healthcare, finance, and many other industries with sensitive data exchange regulations.

Private blockchains offer the advantage of privacy over public blockchains. Since the network is only accessible to a select few, private blockchains are ideal for enterprises that require secure and confidential data sharing.

Examples of Enterprise Use Cases of Permissioned Blockchains

  • Supply Chain Management: Permissioned blockchains have been utilized by enterprises to track the movement and exchange of goods among suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors. By using a permissioned blockchain, all parties can verify the authenticity of products, reducing the risk of counterfeiting and fraud.
  • Financial Transactions: Permissioned blockchains have made it possible for enterprises to securely and efficiently process financial transactions. The anonymity of public blockchains has made it difficult for financial institutions to comply with regulatory requirements. With permissioned blockchains, financial institutions can ensure that only authorized parties can access and process transactions.
  • Data Sharing: Sharing sensitive data is often challenging for enterprises that must abide by strict regulatory restrictions. However, permissioned blockchains offer a solution. By using permissioned blockchains, enterprises can share data in a secure and confidential manner, allowing only authorized parties to access it.

In conclusion, permissioned blockchains are designed to support enterprise use cases, offering enhanced security, scalability, and privacy features. Private blockchains are ideal for industries that require secure and confidential data sharing. By utilizing permissioned blockchains, enterprises can improve supply chain management, streamline financial transactions, and enhance data sharing.

Pros and Cons of Permissioned Blockchains

Permissioned blockchains are becoming increasingly popular among enterprises for their enhanced security, scalability, and privacy features. However, there are also potential limitations and challenges faced by enterprises when using this model. In this section, we will explore both the advantages and disadvantages of permissioned blockchains.

Advantages of Permissioned Blockchains

  • Enhanced security: Permissioned blockchains are more secure than their permissionless counterparts due to their restricted access and consensus mechanisms. Only authorized participants can join the network, ensuring that all transactions are validated and recorded by trusted parties.
  • Scalability: Permissioned blockchains can handle a larger volume of transactions than permissionless blockchains. They are designed to support enterprise-level applications and can process thousands of transactions per second.
  • Privacy: Permissioned blockchains can provide greater privacy by allowing enterprises to control who has access to the network and what information is shared. Enterprises can choose to keep certain data private, only sharing it with specific participants on the network.

Disadvantages of Permissioned Blockchains

  • Centralized control: Permissioned blockchains are controlled by a central authority or consortium of authorities, which can limit the decentralized nature of blockchain technology. This can become a drawback in terms of governance, as decisions are made by a select few rather than the entire network.
  • Limited transparency: Permissioned blockchains may not provide the same level of transparency as permissionless blockchains. As enterprises have control over who has access to the network, it can be difficult for external parties to fully audit the network and verify its authenticity.
  • Less innovation: Permissioned blockchains restrict innovation by limiting who can participate in the network and what kind of activities can take place. This can result in slower adoption rates and fewer opportunities for growth and development.

While permissioned blockchains offer enhanced security, scalability, and privacy, they may also present issues related to centralized control, limited transparency, and decreased innovation. Ultimately, enterprises must consider their specific needs and challenges when deciding whether to adopt this model.

Understanding Permissionless Blockchains

Permissionless blockchains, also known as public or open blockchains, are decentralized ledgers that allow anyone to participate in the network without the need for permission. This means that anyone can read, write, or verify transactions on the blockchain, making it a truly open and transparent system.

Unlike permissioned blockchains, which require permission to access the network, permissionless blockchains allow anyone to take part in the network and contribute to the consensus mechanism. This makes them ideal for applications that require openness, transparency, and trust.

Key Characteristics of Permissionless Blockchains

Permissionless blockchains are characterized by several key principles:

  • Decentralization: Permissionless blockchains are decentralized, meaning that there is no centralized authority or entity that controls the network.
  • Transparency: All transactions on the blockchain are visible to all participants, making the system transparent.
  • Immutability: Once a transaction is added to a block on the blockchain, it cannot be modified or deleted.
  • Global Accessibility: Permissionless blockchains are accessible to anyone with an internet connection, making them truly global in nature.

Because permissionless blockchains are decentralized, they are inherently more secure than centralized systems. An attacker would need to compromise a majority of nodes on the network to alter the blockchain, which is nearly impossible in large networks with numerous participants. This makes permissionless blockchains ideal for applications that require a high level of security and trust.

Pros and Cons of Permissionless Blockchains

Permissionless blockchains, also known as public or open blockchains, offer unique advantages for enterprises. Here are some of the benefits of using permissionless blockchains:

  • Greater transparency: Permissionless blockchains provide an open and transparent ledger of all transactions, making it easy for stakeholders to track and verify data in real-time.
  • Improved security: The decentralized nature of permissionless blockchains makes them less vulnerable to cyber attacks and hacking attempts, as there is no central point of control.
  • Global accessibility: Permissionless blockchains enable anyone to join and participate in the network, regardless of geographic location or institutional affiliation.
  • Immutability: Once data is recorded on a permissionless blockchain, it cannot be altered or deleted, ensuring the integrity and authenticity of the information.

However, there are also some drawbacks and challenges associated with permissionless blockchains that enterprises should consider:

  • Scalability: Permissionless blockchains can struggle to handle a high volume of transactions, resulting in slower processing times and higher transaction fees.
  • Limited privacy: Due to the open and transparent nature of permissionless blockchains, privacy can be a concern, especially for enterprises dealing with sensitive data or proprietary information.
  • Regulatory compliance: The decentralized and anonymous nature of permissionless blockchains can make it difficult to comply with certain regulations and legal requirements.
  • Integration: Integrating permissionless blockchains into existing enterprise systems can be challenging, particularly when it comes to data management and interoperability.

Choosing the Right Model for Your Enterprise

When selecting a blockchain model, enterprises must consider several key factors to ensure the solution matches their unique requirements. The first step is to define the enterprise's goals and objectives for implementing a blockchain solution. For instance, is the goal to streamline operational processes, improve data security, or enhance transparency? 

The next step is to evaluate the nature of the enterprise's operations, including the industry, the type of data being stored, and the regulatory environment. Compliance with regulations is critical, and blockchain models should be chosen accordingly. For example, permissioned blockchains are often preferred in financial institutions due to their enhanced privacy and security features, while permissionless blockchains may be more suitable for use cases that require transparency and decentralized access.

Another important factor to consider is the scalability of the blockchain model. As enterprises grow and expand, their blockchain solution must be able to keep up with the increasing volume of transactions and users. The chosen model should be capable of handling the required transaction speeds and network capacity.

Finally, interoperability and integration with existing systems should be taken into account. The blockchain solution selected should be capable of interoperating with existing systems, and integration should be seamless with minimal disruption during implementation.

Use Cases of Permissioned Blockchain Solutions

Permissioned blockchain solutions have been successfully implemented by enterprises across various industries. These solutions utilize the benefits of blockchain technology, while ensuring that access is restricted to approved participants. Here are some examples of enterprise applications of permissioned blockchain:

Supply Chain Management

  • Walmart, the world's largest retailer, has implemented a permissioned blockchain solution to improve food safety and traceability. The solution allows Walmart to track food products from farm to store, ensuring that contaminated products can be quickly identified and removed from shelves.
  • De Beers, the diamond mining company, has created a blockchain platform that allows for the tracking of diamonds from the mine to the retailer. This ensures that conflict-free diamonds are sold to consumers, as the supply chain can be fully traced.

Financial Transactions

  • The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) is developing a permissioned blockchain solution to replace its existing clearing and settlement system. The new system, which is currently in testing, will offer faster transactions, increased transparency, and reduced costs.
  • JP Morgan has developed a permissioned blockchain solution called Quorum, which enables faster and more secure money transfers. Quorum is being used in the Interbank Information Network, a network of banks that facilitates cross-border payments.

Data Sharing

  • Mastercard has created a permissioned blockchain platform that allows businesses to share critical information securely. The platform provides a secure, tamper-proof system for sharing data, allowing financial institutions to streamline their compliance processes.
  • MediLedger is a permissioned blockchain platform that enables the sharing of pharmaceutical supply chain data among stakeholders. The platform ensures that drugs are tracked and verified at each stage of the supply chain, reducing the risk of counterfeit products.

Trust Among Stakeholders

  • IBM and Maersk have developed a permissioned blockchain platform called TradeLens, which allows for more efficient and secure global trade. The platform provides a single, secure system for tracking goods as they move across borders, reducing paperwork and increasing transparency.
  • VISA B2B Connect is a permissioned blockchain platform that facilitates fast and secure international payments. The platform enables financial institutions to transfer funds directly to each other, bypassing intermediaries and reducing the risk of fraud.

These use cases highlight the various ways in which permissioned blockchain solutions can be leveraged by enterprises. By providing enhanced security, scalability, and privacy features, permissioned blockchains offer a viable option for enterprises seeking to adopt blockchain technology.

Use Cases of Permissionless Blockchain Solutions

Enterprises have started to realize the potential of permissionless blockchains, which are characterized by their network openness and lack of central authority. Here are some examples of enterprise applications of permissionless blockchains:

Decentralized Marketplaces

Permissionless blockchains have enabled the creation of decentralized marketplaces that allow for peer-to-peer exchanges without the need for intermediaries. Enterprises have explored this model to create transparent marketplaces with secure and immutable transactions. OpenBazaar, for instance, is a permissionless blockchain-based marketplace that enables users to buy and sell goods and services without intermediaries.

Tokenization of Assets

Permissionless blockchains can be used to tokenize assets, allowing for the creation of digital ownership records that can be easily bought, sold, and traded. This model has been used by enterprises to increase liquidity and democratize access to investment opportunities. Harbor is a blockchain-based platform that enables the tokenization of private securities to be sold to investors on a global scale.

Peer-to-Peer Energy Trading

Permissionless blockchains can be used to facilitate peer-to-peer energy trading, allowing for more efficient and transparent energy transactions. Enterprises have explored this model to create decentralized energy marketplaces that enable users to trade excess energy with each other. Power Ledger is a blockchain-based platform that allows users to trade renewable energy without the need for intermediaries.

Secure Identity Management

Permissionless blockchains can be used to create secure and decentralized identity management systems. Enterprises have experimented with this model to create self-sovereign identity systems that allow users to control their personal data without relying on centralized authorities. uPort is a blockchain-based platform that enables users to create and manage their digital identities on a decentralized network.

These are just a few examples of the enterprise applications of permissionless blockchains. As more enterprises continue to explore the potential of permissionless blockchains, we can expect to see more innovative use cases emerge.

Challenges in Implementing Enterprise Blockchain Solutions

While blockchain technology provides numerous advantages to enterprises, implementing blockchain solutions can be challenging and complex. The following are some of the main challenges and hurdles faced by enterprises in the adoption of blockchain technology.


The current state of blockchain technology poses limitations in terms of scalability, particularly for permissionless blockchains. Enterprises require blockchain solutions that can handle large-scale transactions and data processing. Implementing blockchain solutions capable of handling high transaction volumes and data processing requires significant investments in infrastructure and development.


Enterprises may face challenges in integrating blockchain solutions with existing systems and technologies. The integration process can be time-consuming and expensive, particularly when dealing with legacy systems. In addition, the lack of established standards and protocols for blockchain interoperability can add to the complexity of the integration process.

Regulatory Compliance

Complying with regulatory requirements is a major concern for enterprises adopting blockchain technology, particularly in highly regulated industries such as finance and healthcare. Laws and regulations surrounding blockchain and cryptocurrencies are still evolving, and enterprises need to ensure that they are operating within legal frameworks and regulations.


Establishing governance models for blockchain networks can be challenging for enterprises. Decentralized networks require different governance structures than centralized systems, and establishing the right governance model can be a complex process. Enterprises need to ensure that they have clear policies and processes in place for decision-making, conflict resolution, and security.

Integration with Existing Systems

Integrating blockchain solutions with existing systems requires significant investments in time and resources. The integration process can be complex, particularly when dealing with legacy systems that may not be compatible with blockchain technology. Enterprises need to ensure that they have a clear plan for integrating blockchain solutions with their existing systems and technologies.


Implementing blockchain solutions for enterprises poses a range of challenges and hurdles. Addressing these challenges requires significant investments in time, resources, and expertise. However, with the right approach and strategy, enterprises can overcome these challenges and leverage the benefits of blockchain technology.


Choosing the right blockchain model for your enterprise is crucial for achieving success in the adoption of blockchain solutions. Whether it's a permissioned or permissionless blockchain, enterprises need to carefully evaluate their specific needs and requirements before making a decision.

Both permissioned and permissionless blockchains have their advantages and disadvantages, and enterprises need to weigh these carefully to determine which option is best suited for their operations.

While permissioned blockchains offer enhanced security, privacy, and scalability, permissionless blockchains provide transparent, decentralized, and globally accessible solutions.

Regardless of the blockchain model chosen, enterprises may face challenges in implementation related to scalability, interoperability, regulatory compliance, governance, and system integration. Addressing these challenges requires careful planning and coordination to ensure successful adoption.

In conclusion, the decision of choosing the right blockchain model is a critical aspect of the enterprise blockchain journey. Enterprises need to carefully evaluate their needs and requirements and be prepared to tackle challenges in implementation to ensure the successful adoption of blockchain solutions.

Choosing Enterprise Blockchain Model is Key To Meeting Business Goals


What are permissioned and permissionless blockchains?

Permissioned blockchains are private networks where participants must be granted access to the network. Permissionless blockchains are public networks where anyone can join and participate.

What are the benefits of using permissioned blockchains in enterprises?

Permissioned blockchains offer enhanced security, scalability, and privacy features. They are suitable for enterprise use cases that require controlled access and regulatory compliance.

Are there any drawbacks to using permissioned blockchains?

Yes, permissioned blockchains may have limitations in terms of decentralization and global accessibility. They also require trust in the network's administrators.

What are the key characteristics of permissionless blockchains?

Permissionless blockchains are decentralized and open to anyone. They prioritize transparency, immutability, and global accessibility.

What advantages do permissionless blockchains offer to enterprises?

Permissionless blockchains provide transparency, security, and the ability to operate without relying on trusted intermediaries. They are suitable for applications that require openness and censorship resistance.

Are there any challenges when adopting permissionless blockchains in enterprises?

Yes, enterprises may face challenges related to scalability, regulatory compliance, and governance. Permissionless blockchains also require significant computational power and may have slower transaction speeds.

How can enterprises choose the right blockchain model for their needs?

Enterprises should consider factors such as security requirements, scalability, regulatory compliance, and the nature of their operations. Consulting with blockchain experts and conducting thorough analysis is recommended.

Can you provide examples of permissioned blockchain use cases in enterprises?

Permissioned blockchains have been used to improve supply chain management, streamline financial transactions, enhance data sharing, and facilitate trust among stakeholders.

How have permissionless blockchains been used in enterprise applications?

Permissionless blockchains have enabled decentralized marketplaces, tokenization of assets, peer-to-peer energy trading, and secure identity management in various enterprise settings.

What challenges may enterprises face when implementing blockchain solutions?

Enterprises may encounter challenges related to scalability, interoperability, regulatory compliance, governance, and integration with existing systems. Overcoming these hurdles requires careful planning and collaboration.

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