A system is considered permissionless when it operates without any gatekeepers or restrictions on its usage.
In the context of blockchains, a prominent example of a permissionless system is Bitcoin.
In a permissionless blockchain like Bitcoin, no entity can prevent or limit anyone from using it for any purpose.
Empowerment and Sovereignty
The permissionless nature of cryptocurrency, particularly Bitcoin, is often hailed as one of its defining characteristics.
It allows anyone to use Bitcoin in any way permitted by the protocol without any authority being able to interfere or prohibit such usage.
This permissionless attribute is often emphasized for its implications in empowering political dissidents, organizations facing blacklisting by traditional financial systems, or even criminals.
Any state or central authority cannot censor transactions on a permissionless blockchain.
Contrasting Approaches in Financial Systems
In contrast, permissioned systems have entities that impose limitations on who can use the system and how it can be used.
The traditional financial system operates on a permissioned basis, where banks and regulatory bodies control and restrict access to financial services based on their own rules and policies.
Some blockchains also adopt a permissioned approach, restricting access to specific entities or participants.
Enterprises often use These permissioned blockchains for specific purposes and typically require whitelisting of addresses to participate.
The term “permissionless” refers to the characteristic of a protocol being open and accessible to everyone without any prerequisites or restrictions.
This aligns with the crypto and blockchain community’s decentralized nature and open-source ethos, advocating for platforms that do not grant any central party the authority to grant or deny user access.
As a result, individuals seeking access to a permissionless blockchain typically do not need to provide identification or undergo Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures.
Inclusive Participation and Consensus
Permissionless or public blockchains aim to ensure inclusivity and prevent discrimination or censorship based on any criteria, providing equal opportunities for participation to all individuals regardless of their identity or location.