Sidechains offer a way for new, more radical settings and technologies to be implemented without affecting the main chain. This ensures that the main chain is as secure as possible whilst providing the freedom to explore options which would never be considered for use on the main chain. Sidechains should be quite powerful as they provide cases like anonymity, transparency, confirmation times and turing complete options like rootstock all whilst utilizing bitcoins rather than relying on the hashing power (security) of some far less secure alt coin. That being said… there is quite some controvery regarding blockstream’s funding of most of the core development team and their inflexiblity regarding the max blocksize. This inflexibility has directly contributed to the success of ethereum and it remains to be seen whether the dream of bitcoin maximalism will survive long enough for sidechains with all of the promised functionality to be rolled out. I am skeptical.
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.
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.
@quinn – thanks for the comment. I probably didn’t write clearly enough… I was trying to point out that none of the higher-level concepts we’re familiar with (addresses, bitcoins, the “ledger”, etc) actually exist at the protocol level…. it’s just transactions, transaction outputs, unspent transaction outputs, etc… they combine to create the illusion we’re all familiar with.
People believe that permissioned means that only a select group of people can access the data and that’s the security feature. But it’s not. Since there is no real user data on the blockchain, (you) as a member of the public, can’t verify the actual content of it. This means that data resides in a location where corruption can stay undetected and data can be easily modified. So why does it even exist? Mainly because of the phenomena known as “hype surfing”; essentially reusing old technology and strapping a blockchain sticker on it gets IBM salesmen a foot in the door to institutions who can’t evaluate the technology accurately in the first place. Unfortunately, even some teams doing public token offerings started to sell this deeply flawed approach to the public.
Sidechains offer a way for new, more radical settings and technologies to be implemented without affecting the main chain. This ensures that the main chain is as secure as possible whilst providing the freedom to explore options which would never be considered for use on the main chain. Sidechains should be quite powerful as they provide cases like anonymity, transparency, confirmation times and turing complete options like rootstock all whilst utilizing bitcoins rather than relying on the hashing power (security) of some far less secure alt coin. That being said… there is quite some controvery regarding blockstream’s funding of most of the core development team and their inflexiblity regarding the max blocksize. This inflexibility has directly contributed to the success of ethereum and it remains to be seen whether the dream of bitcoin maximalism will survive long enough for sidechains with all of the promised functionality to be rolled out. I am skeptical.
Alpha functions as a sidechain to Bitcoins testnet. The peg mechanism currently works through a centralized protocol adapter, as stated in the sidechains whitepaper. An auditable federation of signers manages Testnet coins transferred to the sidechain. The federation is also relied upon to produce blocks through the signed blocks element. This creates the possibility of exploring the possibilities of the new chain using different security trade-offs.
Consider a proof-of-existence application, where you want to authenticate your document in the Ethereum (for example) network, but you do not need your document to be online. So, you will store the hash generated from your document in the blockchain, but the document itself will be in your local machine, out of any blockchain-related structured, being off-chain.
It is different with a private blockchain (or closed) since the members of the network are selected before being able to download the protocol and therefore use the proposed service by the network. The mining capabilities and the system of consensus as a whole are centralized within the hands of the same entity. A network based on a private blockchain is therefore not decentralized in itself.

In simple terms, public blockchains can receive and send transactions from anybody in the world. They can also be audited by anybody, and every node has as much transmission power as any other. Before a transaction is considered valid, it must be authorized by each of its constituent nodes via the chain’s consensus process. As long as each node abides by the specific stipulations of the protocol, their transactions can be validated, and thus add to the chain


My take is that the Bitcoin architecture is a solution to the problem of how to maintain consensus about a ledger when the participants are unknown and many of them are adversarial (I know this is loose language… computer scientists working in the consensus space are more precise but I think this captures the essence…. i.e. we’re explicitly in a world where there is no “leader” and no identities for those providing the consensus services).
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.

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.
A sidechain is a separate blockchain that is attached to its parent blockchain using a two-way peg. The two-way peg enables interchangeability of assets at a predetermined rate between the parent blockchain and the sidechain. The original blockchain is usually referred to as the ‘main chain’ and all additional blockchains are referred to as ‘sidechains’. The blockchain platform Ardor refers to its sidechains as ‘childchains’.
Ardor is a blockchain platform predicated on childchains (sidechains) that use proof of stake (PoS) consensus. It uses the primary chain as a security chain and the childchains for processing transactions to increase scalability. Their design is specifically focused on speed and efficiency through PoS consensus and removing blockchain bloat through pruning.
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.
This type of permissioned blockchain model offers the ability to leverage more than 30 years of technical literature to realize significant benefits. Digital identity in particular, is fundamental for most industry use cases, be it handling supply chain challenges, disrupting the financial industry, or facilitating security-rich patient/provider data exchanges in healthcare. Only the entities participating in a particular transaction will have knowledge and access to it — other entities will have no access to it. Permissioned blockchains also permit a couple of orders of magnitude greater scalability in terms of transactional throughput.
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