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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!
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.
What Bitcoin’s development team is essentially doing through feature-creep is forcing everyone in the non-tech world to use Bitcoin through commercial proxies to avoid all this complexity (crypto-what? security? sidechain?), which effectively results in the loss of security, relative anonymity and decentralized properties that helped to make it interesting in the first place.
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The original Litecoin we started out with are now Rootstock Litecoin, which I can use for creating smart contracts and as previously mentioned Sidechains can exist for all types of digital assets with propositions of not only smart contracts but the ability to provide more freedom for experimentation with Beta releases of core software and Altcoins, as well as the taking over of traditional banking instruments such as the issuing and tracking of shares, bonds and other assets.
This comparison might make you think that private blockchains are more reasonable to use as they are faster, cheaper, and protect the privacy of their members. However, in certain cases, transparency is more crucial than the speed of transaction approval. So, every company interested in moving their processes to a blockchain evaluates the needs and goals and only then selects a particular type of distributed ledger.
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.
Sidechains solve a lot of problems, but at what cost? The introduction of sidechains makes things even more complex and much harder to understand for those who are not actively involved in the blockchain space. This also divides assets, no more “one chain, one asset” adage, which further complicates things. And on a network level there are multiple independent unsynchronised blockchains interacting with each other.
Mastercoin and Counterparty are embedded consensus protocols (or meta-protocols) that use the blockchain to store their transactional data. Bitcoin devs, except Peter Todd who was hired by both teams to help them find a proper solution, are very unhappy, to say mildly, about storing the data on the blockchain. Heated discussions on this topic go on for hundreds of pages on bitcointalk and Mastercoin github issue. Mining pools like Eligius started censoring Mastercoin transactions (not sure if they are continuing with this practice right now, but the operators of this pool are adamant that data do not belong to the blockchain).
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.
The main point of a side-chain is to allow cryptocurrency networks to scale and interact with one-another. For example alt-coins and Bitcoin run on separate chains, however side chains allow for these separate currencies to be transferred through these two-way 'portal's or interfaces via a fixed conversion amount. Added benefits of side-chains are different asset classes like,stocks, bonds etc being integrated through a converted price onto the main chain, along with additional functionality like smart contracts,unique D-Apps, micro-payments and security updates that can be later incorporated into the primary network from these side-chains.
Private and Public Blockchain occurs when the financial enterprises start to explore the various blocks of the Blockchain technology. These two Blockchains are coming up with business oriented models as to obtain the difference between the two. The private blockchain generates at a lower cost and faster speed than the public blockchain. In the previous years, the blockchain has grown to become an interesting subject globally. It is becoming an integrated part in the financial sectors all over the digital world.
In the context of the two-way peg, the DMMS is represented by the Simplified Payment Verification Proof (SPV Proof), which is a DMMS confirming that a specific action on a PoW blockchain occurred. The SPV Proof functions as the proof of possession in the initial parent chain for its secure transfer to a sidechain. Symmetric two-way pegs are the primary type of two-way peg so we will only be referring specifically to the symmetric (compared to asymmetric) peg in this piece.
The first work on a cryptographically secured chain of blocks was described in 1991 by Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta. They wanted to implement a system where documents' timestamps could not be tampered with or backdated. In 1992, Bayer, Haber and Stornetta incorporated Merkle trees to the design, which improved its efficiency by allowing several documents to be collected into one block.
A side-chain is a secondary blockchain layer designed to facilitate lower-cost and/or higher-speed transactions between two or more parties. One case in which they're often deployed is between parties who make many transactions amongst each other. Committing all of those transactions to the public blockchain would may undesirable for cost or other reasons, so the side-chain's job in this example would be to aggregate the activity into the least transactional activity necessary to reflect the final state of the side-chain's ledger.
First, clear your head of anything related to money, currency or payments. And clear your head of the word ledger, too. The mind-bending secret of Bitcoin is that there actually isn’t a ledger! The only data structures that matter are transactions and blocks of transactions. And it’s important to get this clear in your head if sidechains are going to make sense.
“Blockchain offers a possible solution to these challenges with its decentralized ledger that can store a history of transactions across a shared database,” Cohen said in the report. “By making the record accessible and verifiable from anywhere in the world, blockchain can enable the authentication of goods and eradicate the criminal element of counterfeit goods in the retail supply chain. By pairing hardware chips with blockchain technology, a product can take on a digital history, going as far back as the raw materials that were used to make the product. This allows retailers and consumers to verify their purchased products are genuine.”
A consortium blockchain is often said to be semi-decentralized. It, too, is permissioned but instead of a single organization controlling it, a number of companies might each operate a node on such a network. The administrators of a consortium chain restrict users' reading rights as they see fit and only allow a limited set of trusted nodes to execute a consensus protocol.
Side chains have two main advantages. Their first advantage they have is that they are permanent. You do not have to create a new sidechain every time you need to use one. Once a side chain is built, it is maintained and can be used by anyone doing a specified task off the main chain. The other advantage of sidechains is that they allow interaction between different cryptocurrencies. Developers get the opportunity to test software upgrades as well as beta coin releases before they are released on the main chain.
“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.”