What if we could run heavy computations in a more centralized fashion, say on a single server, and then periodically integrate the results onto the main blockchain for posterity. We temporarily expose some vulnerability while the parallel server runs the heavy computation, but we get a massive benefit in that we don’t have to run the computation on chain, and simply need to store the results for future verification. This is the general premise behind Truebit. We won’t get into all the details of Truebit but there is a concept of challengers, who check to see the computations that were made have high fidelity.
Jump up ^ Redrup, Yolanda (29 June 2016). "ANZ backs private blockchain, but won't go public". Australia Financial Review. Archived from the original on 3 July 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2016. Blockchain networks can be either public or private. Public blockchains have many users and there are no controls over who can read, upload or delete the data and there are an unknown number of pseudonymous participants. In comparison, private blockchains also have multiple data sets, but there are controls in place over who can edit data and there are a known number of participants.

Similarly, a side chain is a separate blockchain that runs in parallel to the main chain. The term is usually used in relation to another currency that’s pegged to the currency of the main chain. For example, staying with the Starcraft motif, say we had an in-game currency called Minerals (oh wait, we do!). We could allow players to peg their Ether (or ETH) to purchase more Minerals in-game. So we reserve some ETH on the main chain, and peg, say 500 Minerals to 1 ETH.

Decentralized web. The sidechain technology holds premises to expand one of the main values of the blockchains – the decentralization of confidence. There is no need for central structure behind the transactions - the holders of cryptocurrencies are free to use their assets the way they want. The sidechains make their deals even more protected and reliable.
– A cost per transactions which can be high: Miners only participate in the process of mining because they hope to get the reward (coinbase and fees) allocated to minors who have added a block to the blockchain. For them it is a business, this reward will finance the costs they have incurred in the process of mining (electricity, computer equipment, internet connection). Tokens that are distributed to them are directly issued by the Protocol, but the fees are supported by the users. In the case of the bitcoin, for example, minors receive 12.5 bitcoins for each block added, to which are added fees paid by the users to add their transactions to the blocks. These fees are variable and the higher the demand to add transactions, the higher the fees.
Function Transactions executed between the locks and unlocks of the main chain tokens don't bloat the main chain. As the technology of a side chain is connected to its main chain, it can be used to build on the developments of the main chain and introduce new features to the market. Child chains serve as the transactional chains of the parent-child architecture, as the parent chain retains minimal features.
Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains use the ‘proof of work’ (POW) consensus algorithm to provide maximum security. It relies on a process called ‘mining’, which involves nodes trying to find the cryptographic hash of the last recorded block in order to create a new block. This is a massive number-crunching operation. It’s computing-power and energy-intensive, and becomes increasingly costly as the blockchain length grows. Read more about POW in this article “Proof of work vs proof of stake comparison”. This makes such blockchains impractical in a large business context.
Jump up ^ Iansiti, Marco; Lakhani, Karim R. (January 2017). "The Truth About Blockchain". Harvard Business Review. Harvard University. Archived from the original on 18 January 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2017. The technology at the heart of bitcoin and other virtual currencies, blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.

Similarly, a side chain is a separate blockchain that runs in parallel to the main chain. The term is usually used in relation to another currency that’s pegged to the currency of the main chain. For example, staying with the Starcraft motif, say we had an in-game currency called Minerals (oh wait, we do!). We could allow players to peg their Ether (or ETH) to purchase more Minerals in-game. So we reserve some ETH on the main chain, and peg, say 500 Minerals to 1 ETH.


"I see quite a few use cases for private blockchains, and they definitely have their place. Traditional institutions won't switch to a completely public blockchain from one day to the other. A private blockchain is a great first step towards a more cryptographic future. The biggest advantages of private blockchains in comparison to centralized databases are the cryptographic auditing and known identities. Nobody can tamper with the data, and mistakes can be traced back. In comparison to a public blockchain it is much faster, cheaper and respects the company's privacy. As a conclusion, it's better to rely on a private blockchain than no cryptographic system at all. It has merits and pushes the blockchain terminology into the corporate world, making truly public blockchains a bit more likely for the future." 
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“We believe that public blockchains with censorship resistance have the potential to disrupt society, when private blockchains are merely a cost-efficiency tool for banking back offices. One can measure its potential in trillions of dollars, the other in billions. But as they are totally orthogonal, both can coexist in the same time, and therefore there is no need to oppose them as we can often see it.” 

Public blockchains: a public blockchain is a blockchain that anyone in the world can read, anyone in the world can send transactions to and expect to see them included if they are valid, and anyone in the world can participate in the consensus process - the process for determining what blocks get added to the chain and what the current state is. As a substitute for centralized or quasi-centralized trust, public blockchains are secured by cryptoeconomics - the combination of economic incentives and cryptographic verification using mechanisms such as proof of work or proof of stake, following a general principle that the degree to which someone can have an influence in the consensus process is proportional to the quantity of economic resources that they can bring to bear. These blockchains are generally considered to be "fully decentralized".
The second option will be to use sidechains. Blockstream first announced side chain in 2014 and published its whitepaper (https://blockstream.com/sidechai...). I believe in the future, bitcoin will have its desired flexibility with its sidechains. The idea of the sidechain is you can innovate and design your solution freely in the sidechains. These sidechains are independent, if they are failed or hacked, they won't damage other chains. So damage will be limited within that chain, for that reason you can be less conservative. Otherwise you would be more risk averse, if you had 42.5 billion dollar market cap like Bitcoin.

“The reason why you put up private blockchains is potentially because you want to have control over the participants in the blockchain. So as we have banks and financial institutions, who have to worry heavily about regulations, they can’t use the public blockchains right now because they are open and permission-free, and anyone can participate, and that’s contradictory to the regulations to which they must abide.

@tetsu – not sure what you mean. My reading of the sidechains paper is that the worst case scenario is that an attacker manages to “reanimate” Bitcoins on the main blockchain that had been sent to the sidechain… but that would be the attacker stealing the coins from the rightful owner on the sidechain. From Bitcoin’s perspective, the coins were always going to be reanimated…. so the risk is entirely borne by the holder(s) on the sidechain. Am I missing something?
Public chains to the rescue! Public chains offer public transaction data that can be verified in real-time by anybody that cares to run a node. The more independent users or institutions that take part in verification, the more secure and decentralised the chain becomes! At Iryo, we strive to have every clinic doing full validation of the global state for the relevant smart contracts (EOS based). Public blockchains are mainly useful for two things; value routing (including initial creation and distribution) and trustless timestamping of messages.
The idea emerged that the Bitcoin blockchain could be in fact used for any kind of value transaction or any kind of agreement such as P2P insurance, P2P energy trading, P2P ride sharing, etc. Colored Coins and Mastercoin tried to solve that problem based on the Bitcoin Blockchain Protocol. The Ethereum project decided to create their own blockchain, with very different properties than Bitcoin, decoupling the smart contract layer from the core blockchain protocol, offering a radical new way to create online markets and programmable transactions known as Smart Contracts.
Bitcoin blockchain design has been done for a specific purpose, and this is a money (crypto currency) transfer. But what will we do, if we want to change or add some functions of the bitcoin blockchain? What if we want to transfer other assets rather than money, what if we want to do transactions automatically when pre-determined events occurred. Or what if we don't want other people see our transactions, or track our transactions' history. You can ask countless of what if questions and every answer to these questions drive you to a different blockchain or configurations

Liquid is the world's first federated sidechain that enables rapid, confidential, and secure bitcoin transfers. Participating exchanges and Bitcoin businesses deploy the software and hardware that make up the Liquid network, so that they can peg in and out of the Bitcoin blockchain and offer Liquid’s features to their traders. Liquid provides a more secure and efficient system for exchange-side bitcoin to move across the network.


Sidechains with specific purposes could be formed with specific features while still enjoying the widespread adoption and value that Bitcoin holds.  Most importantly it can add these features without consensus from the Bitcoin community. Sidechains have the potential to replace many Cryptocurrencies as it allows features that were previously unique to these currencies to be available on Bitcoin. It also allows developers to experiment with sidechains and scope its full potential while still keeping coins linked to Bitcoin.
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).
Smart contracts are immutable pieces of code and their outcomes are irreversible. Hence, formal verification of their code is very important before deploying them. It’s very hard to verify smart contracts in the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). A business can’t afford to deploy faulty but immutable smart contracts and suffer the consequences of their irreversible outcome. This article details the challanges: “Fundamental challenges with public blockchains”.
@gendal I am discussing private chains with prospects, so my interest is not superficial and theoretical. I see the benefits for the organization in using the private chain as another form of internal database, with better security properties. It can also be used where a service bus product would be today, to facilitate integration, conformance, monitoring, audit. Private chain can also, via a two way peg, be connected to the main chain, achieving a form of public/private network divide that routers created for us in the early stages of the Internet development. Anything else on the benefits side that I missed?
Are there any legitimate uses for it? Possibly, if you have an institution that can’t establish legal relationship between them. I am not sure where can we find this use case in the wild; most corporations and institutions usually thrive on the legal documents they have signed in order to keep each other from lying/hiding/deleting/changing data. Since each institution can keep the local copy of all transactions within their own database, the question becomes a matter of dispute resolution, as opposed to a lack of trust.

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).
– we provide no uniqueness of names, unlike the domain registrars, social networks, namecoin, onename.io, etc. There is no uniqueness of names in real life either. Instead the identity is just a hash of a [json] object that contains a public key. Identity object can not be modified directly, but a new version of it can be created, pointing to a previous version. The owner of the identity object can optionally connect it with the real life credentials, e.g. the social account, internet domain, email, etc. by proving the proof of ownership of that account the way onetime.io does it, the way Google Analytics does it, etc. This allows a spectrum of identities from fully anonymous to fully disclosed and verified. This also allows a person to have multiple identities, for work, for social, for gaming, for interest-specific forums. To simulate OAUTH2, a new site-specific identity can be created and signed with person’s other identity.

A typical use case for a private blockchain is intra-business: when a company decides to implement blockchain as a business solution, they may opt for a chain to which only company members have access. This is useful if there’s no need for anybody outside of the company to become part of the chain, because private blockchains are more efficient than public and consortium chains. Also, because they are smaller and contained, it is easier for a consensus process or other technical stipulation to be altered on a blockchain. So, for example, if the developers or proprietors want to change the cryptographic method which runs its consensus process, it is much easier to do this on a private blockchain than a public or consortium chain.
Implemented by The initial design was published by Blockstream in 2014, but the implementation is blocked by the lack of native support for SPV proofs in Bitcoin (which may not be added at all). Rootstock workaround this by sacrificing decentralization (still work in progress). The Ardor platform created by Jelurida is the first to propose and implement the concept of Child Chains. Already running on testnet, the production Ardor launch is scheduled for Q4 2017.
Let’s switch gears quickly before we get back to talking about trust mechanisms. We’ll define what a “smart contract” is. The first blockchain that was popularized is obviously the Bitcoin blockchain. But the functionality of Bitcoin is very limited. All it can do is record transaction information. It’s only useful to keep track of the fact that Alice sent Bob 1 Bitcoin.
Implemented by The initial design was published by Blockstream in 2014, but the implementation is blocked by the lack of native support for SPV proofs in Bitcoin (which may not be added at all). Rootstock workaround this by sacrificing decentralization (still work in progress). The Ardor platform created by Jelurida is the first to propose and implement the concept of Child Chains. Already running on testnet, the production Ardor launch is scheduled for Q4 2017.
Sidechain transactions using a two-way peg effectively only allow for intra-chain transactions. A transfer from Bitcoin (parent chain) to Ethereum (sidechain) would allow a user to use the functionality of Ethereum (i.e., fully expressive smart contracts), but the underlying original asset would remain precisely that, Bitcoin. So, a Bitcoin on an Ethereum sidechain technically remains a Bitcoin.

Many blockchain enthusiasts believe in the value of networks that are not only decentralized — which most closely resembles the current model of the Internet — but distributed. This includes Tim Berners-Lee, who founded the World Wide Web in 1989. Berners-Lee has proposed that blockchains can be used to reinvent the web in a more distributed and peer-to-peer fashion.
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