Since 2008 when Satoshi Nakamoto published a white paper considering Bitcoin and blockchain technology, the latter gained fame as a tool for combating trust issues and bringing transparency to transactions between independent participants. Even though a decade passed, for a lay public, blockchain is still not the easiest concept to deal with. As a rule, people generalize things they don’t understand deeply in detail. Thus, when they hear “blockchain,” they tend to think there’s just one transcendental blockchain that hosts thousands of projects. But it’s a wrong perception as there are numerous blockchains and they differ.
Over the last year the concept of “private blockchains” has become very popular in the broader blockchain technology discussion. Essentially, instead of having a fully public and uncontrolled network and state machine secured by cryptoeconomics (eg. proof of work, proof of stake), it is also possible to create a system where access permissions are more tightly controlled, with rights to modify or even read the blockchain state restricted to a few users, while still maintaining many kinds of partial guarantees of authenticity and decentralization that blockchains provide. Such systems have been a primary focus of interest from financial institutions, and have in part led to a backlash from those who see such developments as either compromising the whole point of decentralization or being a desperate act of dinosaurish middlemen trying to stay relevant (or simply committing the crime of using a blockchain other than Bitcoin). However, for those who are in this fight simply because they want to figure out how to best serve humanity, or even pursue the more modest goal of serving their customers, what are the practical differences between the two styles?
¡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.
In general, so far there has been little emphasis on the distinction between consortium blockchains and fully private blockchains, although it is important: the former provides a hybrid between the “low-trust” provided by public blockchains and the “single highly-trusted entity” model of private blockchains, whereas the latter can be more accurately described as a traditional centralized system with a degree of cryptographic auditability attached. However, to some degree there is good reason for the focus on consortium over private: the fundamental value of blockchains in a fully private context, aside from the replicated state machine functionality, is cryptographic authentication, and there is no reason to believe that the optimal format of such authentication provision should consist of a series of hash-linked data packets containing Merkle tree roots; generalized zero knowledge proof technology provides a much broader array of exciting possibilities about the kinds of cryptographic assurances that applications can provide their users. In general, I would even argue that generalized zero-knowledge-proofs are, in the corporate financial world, greatly underhyped compared to private blockchains.
Contrary to popular belief, aided by deceptive blockchain marketing, blockchains are not a good solution for storing data. Each piece of information that you store in the blockchain sits in hundreds or more nodes (more than 100,000 in the case of Bitcoin) making it an extremely costly solution. This is why the Iryo Network doesn’t store data on blockchain but instead, uses blockchain to ensure the transparency of transactions. As a disclaimer, competitors also don’t save medical data on the chain itself (even those who use private chains). Instead, only the fingerprint aspect of a medical record file or a hash is stored on the blockchain.
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.
A user on the parent chain first has to send their coins to an output address, where the coins become locked so the user is unable to spend them elsewhere. Once the transaction has been completed, a confirmation is communicated across the chains followed by a waiting period for extra security. After the waiting period, the equivalent number of coins is released on the sidechain, allowing the user to access and spend them there. The reverse happens when moving back from a sidechain to the main chain.
As we’ve talked about, writing to the blockchain is slow and expensive. This is because every node in the entire network needs to verify and slurp in the whole blockchain and all the data it contains. Executing a large smart contract on a blockchain can be prohibitively expensive, and doing things like storing images on blockchains is economically infeasible.
Bitcoin está demostrando un potencial enorme, y desarrolladores de todo el mundo quieren llevar esta tecnología aún más lejos, por ejemplo con los smart contracts turing completo o las llamadas smart property. El problema es que Bitcoin tiene un lenguaje de programación deliberadamente limitado. Además sus transacciones se confirman relativamente despacio, cada 10 minutos. Y ya por último y muy importante, su cadena de bloques está saturándose de transacciones debido a la creciente fama de Bitcoin.
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.
If you want a deeper look at Proof of Stake check out our detailed POS post. In short, while Proof of Work is an effective mechanism to secure the blockchain and provides a trustless consensus paradigm, it’s extremely energy intensive because of all the computing power required to solve hash problems. Also, while it was meant to be decentralized, it’s actually becoming more centralized as miners consolidate and massive mining setups eat up larger shares of winning blocks.
Sidechain is a blockchain that runs parallel to the main blockchain. It extends the functionality of interplorable blockchain networks. Interpolable blockchain networks signifies the ability to share data between different computer systems on different machines. It means that data can be sent and received between interconnected networks eliminating the possibility of negative impact to the networks. Sidechain enables this to be done in a decentralised manner to transfer and synchronise tokens between two chains.
Private blockchains are valuable for solving efficiency, security and fraud problems within traditional financial institutions, but only incrementally. It’s not very likely that private blockchains will 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.
As an engineer and an entrepreneur, I truly believe blockchain technology is going to revolutionize the world. One of the biggest hurdles we need to tackle in the blockchain industry is scalability. Ethereum can only handle 15 transactions per second. I previously wrote about why that will prevent blockchain from going mainstream and how DAG could potentially be a winner.
– 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.
So if you want to create a more secure Sidechain, we would seriously need to have a look at incentivizing miners in other ways. These could include things such as the Sidechain raising outside funding from investors in order to pay the miners. Staggering mining award so miners have an incentive to keep mining as they will be paid later on rather than at the time or the Sidechain could issue its own mining award on top of the already existing transaction fees and essentially just become an Altcoin.
Permissioned blockchains use an access control layer to govern who has access to the network. In contrast to public blockchain networks, validators on private blockchain networks are vetted by the network owner. They do not rely on anonymous nodes to validate transactions nor do they benefit from the network effect.[better source needed] Permissioned blockchains can also go by the name of 'consortium' or 'hybrid' blockchains.
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.
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.
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The consensus mechanism is centralized in the hands of a single entity which mission is to verify and add all transactions to the blockchain. A network based on a private blockchain, therefore does not need to use a mechanism such as “Proof of Work” or “Proof of Stake” which are complicated to implement and expensive. The problems of security being much more simple in the case of private blockchains, it is possible to apply the mechanisms of consensus lighter, more effective and therefore easy to deploy such that the BFT.
Blockchains that are private or permissioned work similarly to public blockchains but with access controls that restrict those that can join the network, meaning it operates like a centralised database system of today that limits access to certain users. Private Blockchains have one or multiple entities that control the network, leading to the reliance on third-parties to transact. A well-known example would be Hyperledger.