Unpermissioned Ledger

A public ledger that is open to anyone, without being controlled by a single owner.


A public ledger that is open to anyone, without being controlled by a single owner.

What Is an Unpermissioned Ledger?

An unpermissioned ledger — also known as permissionless or public — is a ledger that anyone can access and download. Users can submit messages for processes and even be involved in processes of authentication, verification, and consensus protocol for blockchain transactions.

What Is the Difference Between Permissioned and Unpermissioned Ledgers?

Permissioned ledgers are private ledger systems that are managed by a single company or entity, where transactions are recorded, verified and stored with the permission of the controlling entity. This type of ledger is typically used in industries such as banking, healthcare and government, and access to the ledger is restricted to those that are authorized by the controlling entity.  

Unpermissioned ledgers, on the other hand, are public and open-source ledger systems that don’t require permission from a centralized authority to access or make transactions. Instead, these ledgers are managed by a distributed network of computers, and anyone can participate in the network. The most popular example of an unpermissioned ledger is the blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. 

The main difference between permissioned and unpermissioned ledgers is the level of control and the degree of trust that is required for each type of ledger. Permissioned ledgers require permission from the controlling entity in order to access the ledger, and any changes to the ledger must be approved by the controlling entity. Unpermissioned ledgers, on the other hand, are open source and don’t require permission from a centralized authority to access or make transactions. Furthermore, unpermissioned ledgers are more secure and trustless, as they are managed by a distributed network of computers.

Unlike permissioned ledgers, all users of unpermissioned ledgers can create data, publish smart contracts and run a node. As such, they are completely transparent, as data are accessible to anyone. They also incentivize users to run nodes.

What Are the Drawbacks of Unpermissioned Ledgers?

  1. Lack of Trust: Unpermissioned ledgers are open to anyone and anyone can submit transactions, which can make it difficult to trust the data stored on them.  
  2. Security Risks: Without proper security measures, unpermissioned ledgers can be vulnerable to malicious attacks. 
  3. Scalability: As the number of users grows, the system can become slow and inefficient.  
  4. Lack of Privacy: The data stored on unpermissioned ledgers are available to anyone, which can make it difficult to keep the data private.
  5. Regulatory Concerns: Unpermissioned ledgers are not formally regulated, which can raise concerns for governments and financial institutions.