As you know, we at LTP have been doing a lot of research to understand other use cases of blockchain apart from Bitcoin-based payments. Recently we had released a comprehensive analysis of 50+ startups and 20 use-cases of blockchain. Though there have been news of large companies accepting bitcoin (Ex.: Amazon, Microsoft, Dell) and the overall acceptance reaching a 100,000+ merchants figure, upon deeper examination we realize that large corporations do not store the Bitcoin payments. They generally partner with a Bitcoin payment processor who converts the Bitcoins to cash as and when they receive a payment and this converted amount is what the corporates take into their account. What a bummer!
Public blockchains provide a way to protect the users of an application from the developers, establishing that there are certain things that even the developers of an application have no authority to do. From a naive standpoint, it may be hard to understand why an application developer would want to voluntarily give up power and hamstring themselves. However, more advanced economic analysis provides two reasons why, in Thomas Schelling's words, weakness can be a strength. First, if you explicitly make it harder or impossible for yourself to do certain things, then others will be more likely to trust you and engage in interactions with you, as they are confident that those things are less likely to happen to them. Second, if you personally are being coerced or pressured by another entity, then saying "I have no power to do this even if I wanted to" is an important bargaining chip, as it discourages that entity from trying to compel you to do it. A major category of pressure or coercion that application developers are at risk of is that by governments, so "censorship resistance" ties strongly into this kind of argument.

^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i j k l "Blockchains: The great chain of being sure about things". The Economist. 31 October 2015. Archived from the original on 3 July 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2016. The technology behind bitcoin lets people who do not know or trust each other build a dependable ledger. This has implications far beyond the crypto currency.

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".


When blockchain technology was introduced to the public in 2008 (via Satoshi Nakamoto’s famous white paper), it would have been hard to predict that private or consortium blockchains would become popular. But recently, there’s been a lot of buzz about this in the digital currency community. Many companies are beginning to experiment with blockchain by implementing private and consortium chains, although some people are critical of this. This discussion not only centers on use cases and benefits, but whether non-public blockchains are an appropriate application of the protocol to begin with.


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A public blockchain has absolutely no access restrictions. Anyone with an internet connection can send transactions[disambiguation needed] to it as well as become a validator (i.e., participate in the execution of a consensus protocol).[84][self-published source?] Usually, such networks offer economic incentives for those who secure them and utilize some type of a Proof of Stake or Proof of Work algorithm.
2) Yea, blockchain could be a suboptimal MQ Series, a slower append only persistent wire that has a lot of ready-made tools for audit and security analysis (ecosystem argument). As blockchain ecosystem grows all kinds of data transformation tools will appear (e.g. we are working on such). Inside blockchain could be tuned to be less PoW intensive and to cut blocks faster. Besides, the variations of PoS or a hybrid PoW + PoS scheme are emerging which could use the fact that inside, as you say, all network participants can have clear identities, unlike on the public bitcoin’s blockchain.

New organizational structures will emerge that will make inside/outside much less clear. These clear boundaries started to erode with the extranets in the 90s, then with the multi-tenant cloud platforms, and lately with the smartphones and the IoT. As we move forward we will see value chains where participants have multiple roles and affiliations. We will be designing token based systems that produce gains for any participants, internal or external.
By design, a blockchain is resistant to modification of the data. It is "an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way".[7] For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for inter-node communication and validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires consensus of the network majority. Although blockchain records are not unalterable, blockchains may be considered secure by design and exemplify a distributed computing system with high Byzantine fault tolerance. Decentralized consensus has therefore been claimed with a blockchain.[8]
“Such a move could allow retailers to lower prices and incentivize consumers to shop at one retailer over a competitor,” Cohen noted. “This idea is not as ludicrous as it might seem. Amazon recently registered three cryptocurrency-related domain names, suggesting a potential move into the cryptocurrency space. If large companies like Amazon, Walmart or Starbucks issued digital coins that inspired public trust, blockchain-based cryptocurrencies might gain acceptance by the public and other retail giants.”
The NPD report noted IBM is partnering with nine retailers and food companies (Walmart, Unilever, Nestle, Dole, Tyson Foods, Golden State Foods, McCormick & Co., McLane Co., and Driscoll’s) to revamp data management processes with blockchain. Walmart uses blockchain in China to source its pork all the way from the pig to the customer. This enables the retailers to provide transparency to all the players along the supply chain.
¡Por supuesto! para todo ello existen muchas propuestas con soluciones muy interesantes, pero hacer cambios experimentales sobre el código de Bitcoin es arriesgado y, que la mayoría de nodos se adapten, lleva tiempo. Bitcoin es grande y esto hace que la toma de decisiones sea lenta al reflexionarse los cambios de manera muy profunda. Esta toma de decisiones lenta e incapacidad del protocolo de ampliar con modulos las capacidades de Bitcoin es el principal motivo por el que empezaron a salir otras criptomendas centradas en nichos y casos de usos concretos. Era más sencillo clonarse el código abierto de Bitcoin y adaptartlo que esperar a que en Bitcoin se decidiese aceptar su funcionalidad. Este es, principalmente, el motivo por el cual hay cientos de criptomonedas y se necesita un wallet por cada una de ellas, siendo un absoluto caos a veces, ya que todas están desconectadas entre ellas.
Eris Industries, aims to be the provider of shared software database using blockchain technology. Blockstack, aims to provide financial institutions back office operations, including clearing & settlement on a private blockchain. Multichain, provider an open source distributed database for financial transactions. Chain Inc., a provider of blockchain API's. Chain partnered with Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., to provide a platform that enables trading private company shares with the blockchain.
Jump up ^ Epstein, Jim (6 May 2016). "Is Blockchain Technology a Trojan Horse Behind Wall Street's Walled Garden?". Reason. Archived from the original on 8 July 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016. mainstream misgivings about working with a system that's open for anyone to use. Many banks are partnering with companies building so-called private blockchains that mimic some aspects of Bitcoin's architecture except they're designed to be closed off and accessible only to chosen parties. ... [but some believe] that open and permission-less blockchains will ultimately prevail even in the banking sector simply because they're more efficient.
Given all of this, it may seem like private blockchains are unquestionably a better choice for institutions. However, even in an institutional context, public blockchains still have a lot of value, and in fact this value lies to a substantial degree in the philosophical virtues that advocates of public blockchains have been promoting all along, among the chief of which are freedom, neutrality and openness. The advantages of public blockchains generally fall into two major categories:
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.
A consortium blockchain is part public, part private. This split works at the level of the consensus process: on a consortium chain, a pre-selected group of nodes control the consensus process, but other nodes may be allowed to participate in creating new transactions and/or reviewing it. The specific configuration of each consortium chain (i.e., which nodes have the power to authorize transactions via the consensus process, which can review the history of the chain, which can create new transactions, and more) is the decision of each individual consortium.
Every node in a decentralized system has a copy of the blockchain. Data quality is maintained by massive database replication[8] and computational trust. No centralized "official" copy exists and no user is "trusted" more than any other.[4] Transactions are broadcast to the network using software. Messages are delivered on a best-effort basis. Mining nodes validate transactions,[22] add them to the block they are building, and then broadcast the completed block to other nodes.[24]:ch. 08 Blockchains use various time-stamping schemes, such as proof-of-work, to serialize changes.[34] Alternative consensus methods include proof-of-stake.[22] Growth of a decentralized blockchain is accompanied by the risk of centralization because the computer resources required to process larger amounts of data become more expensive.[35]
Our Proof of Work tutorial talks about it in depth, but the best explanation might come from Satoshi Nakamoto himself. If the camps above start receiving messages that don’t agree, they rely on executing a Proof of Work. The Proof of Work is sufficiently complicated and requires significant computing power. Once one camp solves the Proof of Work, it broadcasts the results to the other camps. This message is now accepted in a chain of messages and the competing messages are dropped by the other camps.

Smart contracts are immutable pieces of code and their outcomes are irreversible. Hence, formal verification of their code is very important before deploying them. It’s very hard to verify smart contracts in the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). A business can’t afford to deploy faulty but immutable smart contracts and suffer the consequences of their irreversible outcome. This article details the challanges: “Fundamental challenges with public blockchains”.
– A consensus much faster: the fact that the consensus mechanism is centralized makes it much quicker. In fact, the term “consensus” is no longer adapted since it is rather a recording of transactions on the blockchain. Note that the entity responsible for managing the blockchain can decide to change the parameters of the blockchain and in particular to increase the size of the blocks to be able to add more transactions.
When blockchain technology was introduced to the public in 2008 (via Satoshi Nakamoto’s famous white paper), it would have been hard to predict that private or consortium blockchains would become popular. But recently, there’s been a lot of buzz about this in the digital currency community. Many companies are beginning to experiment with blockchain by implementing private and consortium chains, although some people are critical of this. This discussion not only centers on use cases and benefits, but whether non-public blockchains are an appropriate application of the protocol to begin with.
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Let's explore if there is a hybrid blockchain concept (third type). A consortium blockchain would be a mix of both the public and private. Wherein the ability to read & write could be extended to a certain number of people/nodes. This could be used by groups of organization/firms, who get together, work on developing different models by collaborating with each other. Hence, they could gain a blockchain with restricted access, work on their solutions and maintain the intellectual property rights within the consortium.
My chief concern is not with the concept of side chains per se (yet). I have still much to learn about how they are being considered. I am only concerned with the way the concept is being presented here. However, I am sure that much of this was due to space restrictions as much as anything. The concept of side chains is an intriguing one. It is also clearly attempting to address a major problem with the whole Bitcoin scheme- namely the verification latency it introduces for transactions. This is only one of the hurdles facing Bitcoins acceptance into the world of commerce, but it is a considerable one.
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.

As you can see, several of these real-world demands for the evolution of the initial Bitcoin implementation are still highly relevant. Trade-offs between scalability and decentralization are demonstrated with Ethereum’s focus on decentralization first and resulting complexities in developing scalable solutions. The increased emphasis on smart contract functionality, pegging real-world assets to blockchains, and experimentation of altcoins that are currently ongoing also represent the forward-thinking ideas outlined in the paper.
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.

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– we provide no uniqueness of names, unlike the domain registrars, social networks, namecoin, onename.io, 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 onetime.io 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.
Elements Alpha functions as a sidechain to Bitcoin’s testnet, though the peg mechanism currently works through a centralized protocol adapter, as described in the Sidechains whitepaper. It relies on an auditable federation of signers to manage the testnet coins transferred into the sidechain via the “Deterministic Pegs” Element, and to produce blocks via the “Signed Blocks” Element. This makes it possible to immediately explore the new chain’s possibilities, using different security trade-offs. They plan to, in a later release, upgrade the protocol adapter to support fully decentralized merge-mining of the sidechain, and ultimately to phase in the full 2-way peg mechanism.
@tradles – thanks for taking the time to explain this. OK – so I get the debate around blockchain bloat and the (grudging) inclusion of OP_RETURN, etc., but what I’m missing is that I can only really see one scenario where embedding any identity data into the blockchain makes sense…. and that’s when I want to *associate* an identity with a transaction I’m performing.
A blockchain is a distributed computing architecture where every node runs in a peer-to-peer topology, where each node executes and records the same transactions. These transactions are grouped into blocks. Each block contains a one-way hash value. Each new block is verified independently by peer nodes and added to the chain when a consensus is reached. These blocks are linked to their predecessor blocks by the unique hash values, forming a chain. In this way, the blockchain’s distributed dataset (a.k.a. distributed ledger) is kept in consensus across all nodes in the network. Individual user interactions (transactions) with the ledger are append-only, immutable, and secured by strong cryptography. Nodes in the network, in particular the public network, that maintain and verify the transactions (a.k.a. mining) are incentivized by mathematically enforced economic incentives coded into the protocol. All mining nodes will eventually have the same dataset throughout.
Transparency does not, however, mean that public blockchains are completely unhackable. Any time data enters a digital network, it is subject to security breaches and unethical uses. Although public blockchains looks to be highly secure right now, there are always going to be bad actors interested in exploiting weaknesses in the system. This is often through hacking methods that are difficult to predict and account for — so claims of one-hundred-percent security in any technology should always be read with a critical eye