Public blockchains: a public blockchain is a blockchain that anyone in the world can read, anyone in the world can send transactions to and expect to see them included if they are valid, and anyone in the world can participate in the consensus process - the process for determining what blocks get added to the chain and what the current state is. As a substitute for centralized or quasi-centralized trust, public blockchains are secured by cryptoeconomics - the combination of economic incentives and cryptographic verification using mechanisms such as proof of work or proof of stake, following a general principle that the degree to which someone can have an influence in the consensus process is proportional to the quantity of economic resources that they can bring to bear. These blockchains are generally considered to be "fully decentralized".

This approach isn’t fool-proof, but it’s not by mistake that the system looks the way it does today (that’s my history degree talking). Despite best technical efforts, human problems remain within the realm of probability. From http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/15/books/15masl.html: “…blame cannot be easily assigned: not even the most sophisticated economists of the era could accurately predict disaster, let alone guard against it. The effects of a public herd mentality at the time of the [insert catastrophe here] are depicted, all too recognizably, as unstoppable.”
Bitcoin’s block interval is ten minutes so it takes about five ten minutes on average for a new transaction to find its way into a block, even if it pays a high fee. This is too slow for some people so they have experimented with alternative cryptocurrencies, based on the Bitcoin code-base, which employ quicker block intervals   [UPDATED 2014-10-27 to correct my embarrassing misunderstanding of mathematics…]
The consensus mechanism involves ascertaining transaction validity and uniqueness. Smart contracts address the validity portion. To ensure uniqueness, the protocol program in Corda checks whether any other transaction has used any of the input states of this transaction. If no other transaction has used any of the input states, that this transaction is unique.

As RSK plans to host all types of clients and smart contracts: financial industry players, educational institutions, large importing companies, government and individuals, which means they are full on attack mode on Ethereum’s business model. There are endless opportunities within a market with unlimited potential and we could now see a first real competitor for Ethereum, that has a big hashrate, secure network, safer environment for developers, much higher throughput and solved scalability issues.
^ Jump up to: a b c d Bhaskar, Nirupama Devi; Chuen, David Lee Kuo (2015). "3 – Bitcoin Mining Technology". In Cheun, David Lee Kuo. Handbook of Digital Currency: Bitcoin, Innovation, Financial Instruments, and Big Data. Academic Press. pp. 47–51. ISBN 978-0-12-802117-0. Archived from the original on 25 October 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016 – via ScienceDirect.
Blockstream has also released an “Alpha” sidechain with all of those features up and running except the last, coupled to the Bitcoin testnet. (Used for testing Bitcoin software without putting real value at risk.) In the absence of the Bitcoin protocol change that will cryptographically secure the programmatic transfer of value between Bitcoin and sidechains, they’re cooperating with several external organizations to perform and validate those transfers. If and when that protocol change happens, though, pegged sidechains will be as permissionless, and as decentralized, as Bitcoin itself.

This construction is achieved by composing smart contracts on the main blockchain using fraud proofs whereby state transitions can be enforced on a parent blockchain. We compose blockchains into a tree hierarchy, and treat each as an individual branch blockchain with enforced blockchain history and MapReducable computation committed into merkle proofs. By framing one’s ledger entry into a child blockchain which is enforced by the parent chain, one can enable incredible scale with minimized trust (presuming root blockchain availability and correctness).
A side-chain is a separate block-chain that runs parallel to the main chain, for example the Bitcoin network, and is attached to the main chain through a simple two-way peg, or special 'address'. A user sends coins to this special address and this amount is effectively 'locked' out from use on the main chain and available on the side chain. This currency is released back to the main chain once its been proven that the side chain is no longer using it.

In a cooperative consensus algorithm, there is a fixed number of voters. Voters cannot leave and join randomly. All voters know each other and every voter has only one vote. If the majority agree on the value of the data, then the system is working as designed. This can handle over 30,000 transactions per second. Scaling the number of voters can be an issue, because every vote proposed by a voter must be delivered to every other voter in the consortium.
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Write permissions are kept centralized to one organization. Read permissions may be public or restricted to an arbitrary extent. Example applications include database management, auditing, etc. which are internal to a single company, and so public readability may in many cases not be necessary at all. In other cases public audit ability is desired. Private blockchains are a way of taking advantage of blockchain technology by setting up groups and participants who can verify transactions internally. This puts you at the risk of security breaches just like in a centralized system, as opposed to public blockchain secured by game theoretic incentive mechanisms. However, private blockchains have their use case, especially when it comes to scalability and state compliance of data privacy rules and other regulatory issues. They have certain security advantages, and other security disadvantages (as stated before).
That might sound like a problem, but it isn’t because the box can only be opened infrequently (two or three times a year), and a super-majority of miners must leave a note on the box in advance. This note states exactly where the miners intend to transfer the money. The “correct” note is automatically generated by sidechain software, and is easy to check.
Jump up ^ Kopfstein, Janus (12 December 2013). "The Mission to Decentralize the Internet". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on 31 December 2014. Retrieved 30 December 2014. The network's 'nodes'—users running the bitcoin software on their computers—collectively check the integrity of other nodes to ensure that no one spends the same coins twice. All transactions are published on a shared public ledger, called the 'block chain.'
2. I have not had a chance to read the original article on side chains, but I am sure they deal with my next problem quite adequately. However it is not addressed in the above article. The primary problem that must be addressed with the notion of side chains, as I see it, would be the issue of the mining required to authenticate transactions and enter them into the block chain. The article mentions that side chain system more or less leaves the issue of verification within the side chain transactions as something of a black box, somewhat implying that they don’t have to be considered. But for any user, they would need to be both considered and understood. Such a process would presumably require mining verification of some kind, (our mental model must include consideration of the somewhat unusual verification method for bitcoin transactions themselves, – as everyone would agree, the verification process is not just a “checklist” of valid transaction strings. The validation process requires mining in much the same sense as mining new coin. None of this is mentioned or discussed in the article. ) As a result, the verification of side chain transactions outside the block chain introduces whole new layers of risk into the Bitcoin model, and new layers of unknowns.
Sidechains are blockchains that allow for digital assets from one blockchain to be used securely in a separate blockchain and subsequently returned to the original chain. The term “sidechain” in this case is used for context, in that the paper initially refers to Bitcoin as the “parent chain” and connected blockchains (altcoins) as “sidechains,” but the term is interchangeable so that altcoins interacting with each other can each be a parent chain interacting with sidechains. You may have also heard of “childchains,” which are also sidechains.
This is what, at its core, state channels are. Imagine we wanted to play a game of Starcraft and have a smart contract that pays 1 ETH to the winner. It would be ridiculous for each participant to have to write on the main Ethereum network each time a Zergling was killed by a Zealot, or when a Command Center was upgraded to an Orbital Command. The gas cost (Ethereum gas, not Starcraft gas) and time for each transaction would be prohibitive.
A blockchain is so-called “public” (or open) when anyone can become a member of the network without conditions of admission. In other words, anyone wishing to use the service proposed by the network can download the protocol locally without having to reveal his or her identity or meet predetermined criteria. A protocol is a computer program that could be compared to a Charter in that it defines the rules of operation of a network based on a blockchain. For example, the members of the bitcoin network download the Bitcoin protocol (through the intermediary of their “wallet”) to be able to join the network and exchange bitcoins, but the only condition is to have an Internet connection.
Decentralized web. The sidechain technology holds premises to expand one of the main values of the blockchains – the decentralization of confidence. There is no need for central structure behind the transactions - the holders of cryptocurrencies are free to use their assets the way they want. The sidechains make their deals even more protected and reliable.
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.
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The creation of sidechains have been a direct result of scalability issues associated with the main blockchain for projects such as Ethereum. Making sidechains increasingly popular way to speed up transactions. Lisk was the first decentralized application (dapp) to implement sidechains. With Lisk, each dapp created exists on its own sidechain without interfering with the mainchain.
Federated Blockchains operate under the leadership of a group. As opposed to public Blockchains, they don’t allow any person with access to the Internet to participate in the process of verifying transactions. Federated Blockchains are faster (higher scalability) and provide more transaction privacy. Consortium blockchains are mostly used in the banking sector. The consensus process is controlled by a pre-selected set of nodes; for example, one might imagine a consortium of 15 financial institutions, each of which operates a node and of which 10 must sign every block in order for the block to be valid. The right to read the blockchain may be public, or restricted to the participants.

“Private blockchains are valuable to solve efficiency, security and fraud problems within traditional financial institutions, but only incrementally. Private blockchains will not revolutionize the financial system. Public blockchains, however, hold the potential to replace most functions of traditional financial institutions with software, fundamentally reshaping the way the financial system works.” 
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