Las sidechains son otro de los conceptos más famosos entorno a Bitcoin, no los pierdas de vista. La teoría indica que permitirían añadir funcionalidades nuevas a Bitcoin, pero sin necesidad de modificar constantemente el código de éste, ya que la funcionalidad es desarrollada utilizando otra cadena de bloque para finalmente ser conectada a la de Bitcoin. Al mismo tiempo esto evitaría la saturación de una sola cadena de bloques, como actualmente ocurre, al utilizar cadenas diferentes para cada caso de uso.
Fully private blockchains: a fully private blockchain is a blockchain where write permissions are kept centralized to one organization. Read permissions may be public or restricted to an arbitrary extent. Likely applications include database management, auditing, etc internal to a single company, and so public readability may not be necessary in many cases at all, though in other cases public auditability is desired.
I said above that you can build sophisticated rules into Bitcoin transactions to specify how ownership is proved. However, the Bitcoin scripting language is deliberately limited and many ideas in the Smart Contracts space are difficult or impossible to implement. So projects such as Ethereum are building an entirely new infrastructure to explore these ideas
Nodes can be trusted to be very well-connected, and faults can quickly be fixed by manual intervention, allowing the use of consensus algorithms which offer finality after much shorter block times. Improvements in public blockchain technology, such as Ethereum 1.0's uncle concept and later proof of stake, can bring public blockchains much closer to the "instant confirmation" ideal (eg. offering total finality after 15 seconds, rather than 99.9999% finality after two hours as does Bitcoin), but even still private blockchains will always be faster and the latency difference will never disappear as unfortunately the speed of light does not increase by 2x every two years by Moore's law.
Pegged sidechains employ a two-way peg to transfer assets between chains, and they consist of providing proof of possession in the transferring transactions. The idea is to enable the capability of locking an asset on an original parent chain, which can then be transferred to a sidechain before eventually being redeemed on the original chain. Notably, the original asset on the parent chain is locked in a specific output address and is not destroyed like early implementations of sidechains.
Instant Payments: Since the creation of Bitcoin there has been a race for faster transaction confirmations. Instant payments allow new use cases, such as retail store payments, and transactions in online games. RSK carefully chosen parameters and new theoretical protocols (such as DECOR+GHOST) allow creating blocks at 10 seconds average interval, with low stale block rate, and no additional centralization incentives.
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!
A company called Blockstream has been focusing on these developments and has announced the release of Sidechain Elements, which is an open-sourced framework for sidechain development. It includes a functioning code and a testing environment for working with sidechains with several components: the core network software to build an initial testing sidechain, eight new features not currently supported by bitcoin, a basic wallet and the code for moving coins between blockchains.
Byzantine fault tolerance (BFT) is what keeps the blockchain fundamentally secure. For simplicity, let’s say there were 100 nodes in a blockchain network (there are currently about 10,500 full Bitcoin nodes in the world). What happens when one node wants to tamper with the latest block and say other Bitcoin users sent him a whole bunch of Bitcoin when they really didn’t?
“The only reason the banks have gotten to the point of thinking about permissioned ledger is because they finally reached the stage of bargaining, third stage in five stages of grief, for industry they’re about to lose. They start with denial, and the basis of denial is, well, this thing isn’t gonna work, it’s gonna die any day soon, and it doesn’t. And then they say, it’s just silly money and it doesn’t have any value, until it does; and no one else is gonna play with it, except they are; serious investors won’t put money into this, except they did; and it still refuses to die. We go from denial to bargaining. Somewhere in between might be anger, some depression, and eventually they’re going to reach acceptance, but it’s gonna take a long time.
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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.
When you send Bitcoins somewhere, you lay down the challenge for the next owner. Usually, you’ll simply specify that they need to know the public and private keypair that correspond to the Bitcoin address the coins were sent to. But it can be more complicated than that. In the general case, you don’t even know who the next owner is… it’s just whoever can satisfy the condition.
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.