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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 big thanks to Diego Salvador for helping me write this episode. Him and the rest of the team over at Rootstock are doing fantastic work with cryptocurrency and Sidechains. We wish them all the best. I'll be sure to leave a link to their website in the top of the description so you can go check it out and learn more if you wish. And as always, be sure to subscribe and I will see you next time.
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…]
Sidechains allow cryptocurrencies to interact with one another. They add flexibility and allow developers to experiment with Beta releases of Altcoins or software updates before pushing them on to the main chain. Traditional banking functions like issuing and tracking ownership of shares can be tested on sidechains before moving them onto main chains. If the security mechanisms for sidechains can be bolstered, sidechain technology holds promise for massive blockchain scalability.
Start mining on node 1 by using the function miner.start(1), where 1 refers to the number of threads. Note that the miner.start(n) function will always return "null." Unless you have many CPU cores, keep the thread number low to avoid high CPU usage. Note that mining without any pending transaction can still earn your default account incentive (ETH). It creates empty blocks, thus strengthening the integrity of the blockchain tree.
An important distinction to be made about sidechains that needs to be understood is that sidechains themselves help to fuel innovation through experimentation. Rather than providing scalability directly, they allow for trivial experimentation on sidechains with various scalability mechanisms. Using sidechains, one can avoid the problems of initial distribution, market volatility, and barriers to entry when experimenting with altcoins due to the inherent derivation of their scarcity and supply from Bitcoin. That being said, each sidechain is independent and flexible to tool around with various features.
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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.
Hasta la fecha (Agosto del 2016), las sidechains sobre Bitcoin no son más que algo teórico. Una implementación de este tipo requeriría de un cambio en el código Bitcoin (hay miembros de la comunidad Bitcoin con gran prestigio, como es el caso de Peter Todd, que argumentan que una sidechain, tal y como la describe Blockstream en su paper, no podrían llevarse a la práctica en Bitcoin sin hacer un gran cambio, hard fork, en Bitcoin). En el mismo paper de blockstream se reconoce que una implementación de este tipo, la cual su teoría es simple pero su implementación compleja, se enfrenta a problemas que no está del todo claro que puedan solventarse (y no todos son de tipo técnico).

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).

Now, making experimental or rapid changes to Bitcoin is very risky and so change happens slowly. So if the one-size-fits-all architecture of Bitcoin doesn’t suit a particular use-case, you have a problem. You either have to use an entirely different cryptocurrency (or build one!). Or you have to use (or build) a centralized service, which brings new risks.

This list is not exhaustive. There are plenty of public blockchains, and they are actively adopted by such industries as FinTech, gaming, logistics, and beyond. However, it not always makes sense to move certain processes and businesses to the public network as the latter are characterized by comparatively low speed of transactions execution and high costs. Indeed, every transaction requires a consensus of the entire network. Unfortunately, it takes time and resources.

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.
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.