Hedera is a public distributed ledger and governing body built to support new and existing applications. Developers use Hedera Hashgraph to build computational trust directly into their applications.
Hedera's uniqueness lies in the fact that it can achieve the same result as Bitcoin or Ethereum, but Hedera can do it faster and uses less energy. These advantages are thanks to the underlying hashgraph consensus algorithm.
Hedera is the only blockchain that uses the hashgraph consensus. The hashgraph is a faster and more secure alternative to the old proof-of-work consensus. It is efficient when verifying transactions and also ensures a high level of security to prevent any attacks.
Hedera's public ledger is stored on mainnet nodes. They are run by the Hedera Governing Council. This governing council includes companies like Google, IBM, Boeing, Deutsche Telekom, LG, and more. Going into the future Hedera plans for the mainnet nodes to be permissionless and can be run by anyone.
Hedera network services are a set of APIs that allow developers to build DApps freely. Each API call has an associated transaction fee based on the processing and storage required.
What is Hashgraph?
Hashgraph is the underlying special consensus mechanism of the Hedera blockchain. The Hashgraph consensus is a DAG (direct acyclic graph) system developed by Dr. Leemon Baird. He has the vision to use hashgraph to create a decentralized, fast, and secure public blockchain that could achieve mainstream adoption and becomes the “trust layer of the Internet”. The blockchain later becomes known as the Hedera Hashgraph.
Hedera offers better performance than classic blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Transactions on the Hedera Hashgraph take only between 3 - 5 seconds and cost just USD 0.0001 (paid in HBAR cryptocurrency). The blockchain can achieve 10,000 transactions per second.
Merchants can accept zero-confirmation transactions on the Bitcoin network. And while these transactions take just a few seconds to propagate through the network, they’re not finalized until thirty to sixty minutes later. By having sub-5-second finality, Hedera is exponentially faster than both Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Hedera's Native Currency: HBAR
HBAR is the native cryptocurrency of the Hedera network. It has a fixed supply of 50 billion. HBAR is used as network fuel for transaction fees and in-app payments.
It is also used for network protection, as Hedera is a proof-of-stake network. HBAR is rewarded to nodes for securing the network.