The term “sidechains” was first described in the paper “Enabling Blockchain Innovations with Pegged Sidechains”, circa 2014 by Adam Back et al. The paper describes “two-way pegged sidechains”, a mechanism where by proving that you had “locked” some coins that were previously in your posession, you were allowed to move some other coins within a sidechain.

The Bitcoin Blockchain is a game changer, because it is public and permissionless. Anyone in the world can download the open source code, and can start verifying transaction, being rewarded with bitcoin, through a concept called mining. All stakeholders in the bitcoin network, who do not know and trust each other, are coordinated through an economical incentive framework pre-defined in the protocol and auto enforced by machine consensus of the P2P Network. The smart contract in the blockchain protocol therefore  provides an coordination framework for all network participants, without the use of traditional legal contracts. In private and permissioned blockchain, all network participants validating transactions are known. Bilateral or multilateral legal agreements provide a framework for trust, not the code.


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.
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.
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 ShipChain platform unifies shipment tracking on the Ethereum blockchain, using a sidechain to track individual encrypted geographic waypoints across each smart contract. With this system, the meaning of each cryptographic waypoint is only accessible for interpretation by the parties involved in the shipment itself. This gives shippers more visibility across their supply chain, and allows carriers to communicate with ease.
Sidechains interactuando con blockchain. Blockstream explica en su paper como, a las sidechains, se les añade una nueva pieza llamada two-way peg. Two-way peg es “el conector” entre ambas cadenas y se encarga de hacer la “magia” para que los bitcoins “salten” a la otra cadena. Juntando ambas cosas obtenemos las pegged sidechain: cadenas laterales conectadas en todo momento. En la imagen puedes observar como, incluso, las sidechain pueden interactuar entre ellas. ¿Llegaremos a un escenario de blockchains interactuando con aspecto fractal?
Hey there! I am Sudhir Khatwani, an IT bank professional turned into a cryptocurrency and blockchain proponent from Pune, India. Cryptocurrencies and blockchain will change human life in inconceivable ways and I am here to empower people to understand this new ecosystem so that they can use it for their benefit. You will find me reading about cryptonomics and eating if I am not doing anything else.
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