In private blockchains, only specific, pre-chosen entities have the ability to create new transactions on the chain (this is known as “write permissions”). Thus, a private blockchain is a closed network that offers constituents the benefits of the technology, but is not necessarily decentralized or distributed, even among its members. The extent to which each constituent can view (“read”) and create and validate transactions (“write”) is up to the developers of the chain.
A federation is a group of servers that act as an in-between point between the main chain and a sidechain. The Federation decides when the user’s coins are locked as well as when they are released. The developers of the sidechains can choose the members of the federation. The downside to using federations is that they add another layer between the sidechains and the parent chain.
Since extension blocks can be implemented via soft forks, the features of the extension blocks are essentially opt-in for users. Even in the case of extension blocks with a larger block size limit, users are not forced to upgrade and validate or propagate blocks that are much larger in size. Those who wish to enjoy the level of decentralization offered by 1MB blocks can continue to do so, while those who would like to experiment with much larger block size limits can do so on an opt-in basis.

Transactions are cheaper, since they only need to be verified by a few nodes that can be trusted to have very high processing power, and do not need to be verified by ten thousand laptops. This is a hugely important concern right now, as public blockchains tend to have transaction fees exceeding $0.01 per tx, but it is important to note that it may change in the long term with scalable blockchain technology that promises to bring public-blockchain costs down to within one or two orders of magnitude of an optimally efficient private blockchain system
Blockchain was invented by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 to serve as the public transaction ledger of the cryptocurrency bitcoin.[1] The invention of the blockchain for bitcoin made it the first digital currency to solve the double-spending problem without the need of a trusted authority or central server. The bitcoin design has inspired other applications,[1][3] and blockchains which are readable by the public are widely used by cryptocurrencies. Private blockchains have been proposed for business use. Some marketing of blockchains has been called "snake oil".[9]
Setting up an environment to test and research blockchain requires an ecosystem with multiple systems to be able to develop research and test. The big players in the cloud industry like Amazon(AWS), Microsoft(Azure), IBM(BlueMix) have seen the potential benefits of offering blockchain services in the cloud and started providing some level of BaaS to their customers. Users will benefit from not having to face the problem of configuring and setting up a working blockchain. Hardware investments won’t be needed as well. Microsoft has partnered with ConsenSys to offer Ethereum Blockchain as a Service (EBaaS) on Microsoft Azure. IBM(BueMix) has partnered with Hyperledger to offer BaaS to its customers. Amazon announced they would be offering the service in collaboration with the Digital Currency Group. Developers will have a single-click cloud-based blockchain developer environment, that will allow for rapid development of smart contracts.
Of course, the drawbacks of public and private blockchains are still very much present in the case consortium chains. This all depends on the way each consortium is constructed: a more public consortium chain will bear the burdens of public chains, while a more private one might suffer from the relative lack of openness and disintermediation. The right configuration depends on the needs and vision for each specific chain. Strategy and tailoring are always necessary to get the best solution.
The second option will be to use sidechains. Blockstream first announced side chain in 2014 and published its whitepaper ( I believe in the future, bitcoin will have its desired flexibility with its sidechains. The idea of the sidechain is you can innovate and design your solution freely in the sidechains. These sidechains are independent, if they are failed or hacked, they won't damage other chains. So damage will be limited within that chain, for that reason you can be less conservative. Otherwise you would be more risk averse, if you had 42.5 billion dollar market cap like Bitcoin.
"Proof of Work" used by Bitcoin is a competitive consensus algorithm. Each node races to solve a difficult puzzle first. Doing so earns the right to produce a block and you are rewarded in Bitcoin. The block is where the transaction (value of data) is written and confirmed. However, this race is a waste of time and money for those that don’t win. You get nothing unless you are the first to solve the puzzle. Since no one wants to lose, nodes started working together to solve the puzzle and share the reward based on your computational power (the hash rate).
Mastercoin and Counterparty are embedded consensus protocols (or meta-protocols) that use the blockchain to store their transactional data. Bitcoin devs, except Peter Todd who was hired by both teams to help them find a proper solution, are very unhappy, to say mildly, about storing the data on the blockchain. Heated discussions on this topic go on for hundreds of pages on bitcointalk and Mastercoin github issue. Mining pools like Eligius started censoring Mastercoin transactions (not sure if they are continuing with this practice right now, but the operators of this pool are adamant that data do not belong to the blockchain).
“Amit Goel is the Founder & Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer for MEDICI. Amit’s vision is to build a strong FinTech market network that involves financial institutions, banks, startups, investors, analysts & other key stakeholders across the ecosystem – helping each one of them in a meaningful way by removing the asymmetry of information and providing a platform to engage & transact.\ \ Amit is passionate about bringing actionable FinTech-focused insights, innovative products & services for the FinTech ecosystem. Some of his work involves startup scores, bank scores/assessments, predictive viewpoints & other innovations that have helped MEDICI’s customers and the ecosystem. He has been named amongst the Top 100 FinTech thought leaders/influencers in the world & Top 10 in Asia multiple times by reputed agencies, consulting firms as well as financial institutions. Amit has built MEDICI (formerly LTP) as a new-age, tech-enabled advisory/research firm, which is now considered the #1 global research & innovation platform for FinTech in the world.\ \ Amit has been writing pioneering viewpoints on financial technology space that have been ahead of the curve since 2010. His data-driven predictions have helped the customers as well as the ecosystem. His past work experience includes a strong background in strategy & market analysis and advisory to clients (from big business houses to Fortune 500 firms) in payments, commerce, financial services & IT/technology. In the past, Amit had also founded a successful consulting & research practice called GrowthPraxis and has worked at Boston Analytics, Frost & Sullivan, and Daimler Chrysler in strategy & research.”
Sidechain is a chain of blocks based on the main parental blockchain. Sidechains realize the new financial ecosystems via integration into Bitcoin. Relatively new to Bitcoin, the sidechain is an extension that enables the ability both to build a link between BTC and an altcoin and to create new independent services that work via the main Bitcoin blockchain. Using sidechains allows for the creation of various types of smart contracts, stocks, derivatives, etc. It is possible to develop a limitless number of Bitcoin or Ethereum-based sidechains with different tasks and features, assets of which will depend on the main blockchain’s volatility. It allows traditional blockchains to support several kinds of assets, payments, smart contracts and also to increase the level of security and anonymity of transactions.
@Tradle. Thanks for elaborating. I’m also thinking about these things – and hear lots of other people talk about them – but I *really* struggle with the concept. It all comes down to the table I drew in this post:

Loom Network is a Platform as a Service built on top of Ethereum that allows developers to run large-scale decentralized applications. This lets developers build DApps with the trust and security of the world’s most secure public blockchain, along with the computing resources necessary to run commercial-scale services. Like how Filecoin tokenized disk space, Loom aims to be the tokenized application protocol of the new decentralized web.
“The only reason the banks have gotten to the point of thinking about permissioned ledger is because they finally reached the stage of bargaining, third stage in five stages of grief, for industry they’re about to lose. They start with denial, and the basis of denial is, well, this thing isn’t gonna work, it’s gonna die any day soon, and it doesn’t. And then they say, it’s just silly money and it doesn’t have any value, until it does; and no one else is gonna play with it, except they are; serious investors won’t put money into this, except they did; and it still refuses to die. We go from denial to bargaining. Somewhere in between might be anger, some depression, and eventually they’re going to reach acceptance, but it’s gonna take a long time. 

“The reason why you put up private blockchains is potentially because you want to have control over the participants in the blockchain. So as we have banks and financial institutions, who have to worry heavily about regulations, they can’t use the public blockchains right now because they are open and permission-free, and anyone can participate, and that’s contradictory to the regulations to which they must abide.
In some cases, these advantages are unneeded, but in others they are quite powerful - powerful enough to be worth 3x longer confirmation times and paying $0.03 for a transaction (or, once scalability technology comes into play, $0.0003 for a transaction). Note that by creating privately administered smart contracts on public blockchains, or cross-chain exchange layers between public and private blockchains, one can achieve many kinds of hybrid combinations of these properties. The solution that is optimal for a particular industry depends very heavily on what your exact industry is. In some cases, public is clearly better; in others, some degree of private control is simply necessary. As is often the case in the real world, it depends.
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I have a hard time swallowing that Bitcoin “isn’t a ledger”. That’s like saying “Bitcoin isn’t the blockchain”, and if you take the blockchain away from Bitcoin, you aren’t really left with much (including, sidechains). Perhaps Bitcoin isn’t a ledger *from the perspective* of individual transactions, but by the same logic, nothing that isn’t transaction data is.
– we provide no uniqueness of names, unlike the domain registrars, social networks, namecoin,, etc. There is no uniqueness of names in real life either. Instead the identity is just a hash of a [json] object that contains a public key. Identity object can not be modified directly, but a new version of it can be created, pointing to a previous version. The owner of the identity object can optionally connect it with the real life credentials, e.g. the social account, internet domain, email, etc. by proving the proof of ownership of that account the way does it, the way Google Analytics does it, etc. This allows a spectrum of identities from fully anonymous to fully disclosed and verified. This also allows a person to have multiple identities, for work, for social, for gaming, for interest-specific forums. To simulate OAUTH2, a new site-specific identity can be created and signed with person’s other identity.
@tetsu – not sure what you mean. My reading of the sidechains paper is that the worst case scenario is that an attacker manages to “reanimate” Bitcoins on the main blockchain that had been sent to the sidechain… but that would be the attacker stealing the coins from the rightful owner on the sidechain. From Bitcoin’s perspective, the coins were always going to be reanimated…. so the risk is entirely borne by the holder(s) on the sidechain. Am I missing something?
To scale Blockchain, sidechain or childchain solutions cannot be undermined. Sidechains are separate Blockchains that are linked to the main Blockchain using a two-way peg. They are an auxiliary network that executes the complementary function of: faster transactions, lower transaction costs and greater scalability in terms of the number of transactions that can be supported in a network at a given time.
The good thing about sidechains is that they are independent of their main chain. Sidechains take care of their own security. Problems occurring on the sidechain can, therefore, be controlled without affecting the main chain. Likewise, a security problem on the main chain does not affect the sidechain although the value of the peg is greatly reduced.
In private blockchains, only specific, pre-chosen entities have the ability to create new transactions on the chain (this is known as “write permissions”). Thus, a private blockchain is a closed network that offers constituents the benefits of the technology, but is not necessarily decentralized or distributed, even among its members. The extent to which each constituent can view (“read”) and create and validate transactions (“write”) is up to the developers of the chain.
Plasma is a proposed framework for incentivized and enforced execution of smart contracts which is scalable to a significant amount of state updates per second (potentially billions) enabling the blockchain to be able to represent a significant amount of decentralized financial applications worldwide. These smart contracts are incentivized to continue operation autonomously via network transaction fees, which is ultimately reliant upon the underlying blockchain (e.g. Ethereum) to enforce transactional state transitions.
– The manipulation of the blockchain: It is indeed possible to come back at any time on the transactions that have already been added to the blockchain and therefore change the balance of the members. In a public blockchain, such operation would require that 51% of the hashing power (i.e capacity to mine) is concentrated in the hands of the same entity. This not theory anymore since it happened beginning 2014 when the cooperative of GHash minor reached the 51% threshold.
Performance at scale: It is not uncommon for large businesses to process 100,000’s of transactions per second (TPS). Therefore, enterprise blockchains need to scale so that they can deliver performance accordingly. To achieve this, they can compartmentalize processes using containers or similar approaches. Read more about this requirement in this article “Enterprise blockchain ready to go live”.
I said above that you can build sophisticated rules into Bitcoin transactions to specify how ownership is proved. However, the Bitcoin scripting language is deliberately limited and many ideas in the Smart Contracts space are difficult or impossible to implement. So projects such as Ethereum are building an entirely new infrastructure to explore these ideas
Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains use the ‘proof of work’ (POW) consensus algorithm to provide maximum security. It relies on a process called ‘mining’, which involves nodes trying to find the cryptographic hash of the last recorded block in order to create a new block. This is a massive number-crunching operation. It’s computing-power and energy-intensive, and becomes increasingly costly as the blockchain length grows. Read more about POW in this article “Proof of work vs proof of stake comparison”. This makes such blockchains impractical in a large business context.
“Not only is decentralization, open protocols, open source, collaborative development and living in the wild a feature of Bitcoin, that’s the whole point. And if you take a permissioned ledger and say, that’s all nice, we like the database part of it, can we have it without the open decentralized P2P [peer-to-peer] open source non-controlled distributed nature of it, well you just threw out the baby with the bathwater.”