Sidechains are responsible for their own security. If there isn’t enough mining power to secure a sidechain, it could be hacked. Since each sidechain is independent, if it is hacked or compromised, the damage will be contained within that chain and won’t affect the main chain. Conversely, should the main chain become compromised, the sidechain can still operate, but the peg will lose most of its value.

Another promise of sidechains is the ability to have a stronger and faster mainchain, as transactions can happen on one of the sidechains. If users or developers are dissatisfied with the costs of sending a transaction and the transaction speed of the mainchain, they can use and or deploy their dapp on one of the sidechains. This leads to a more diversified network and a stronger, faster and more robust mainchain.
Security: RSK´s blockchain is secured by merge-mining, which means that they can achieve the same security as Bitcoin in terms of double-spend prevention and settlement finality. The 2way peg security will first rely in a federation holding custody of bitcoins, and later switch to an automatic peg, when the community accepts the security trade-offs of the automatic peg.
Counterfeiting items is a $1.2 trillion global problem, according to Research and Markets 2018 Global Brand Counterfeiting Report. The rise of online commerce and third-party marketplace sellers have made the crime more prevalent in recent years. Blockchain technology can help consumers verify what they ordered online and what they receive in the mail is what they intended to purchase.
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Imagine there is a Bitcoin-like system out there that you’d like to use. Perhaps it’s litecoin or ethereum or perhaps it’s something brand new.   Maybe it has a faster block confirmation interval and a richer scripting language. It doesn’t matter.   The point is: you’d like to use it but would rather not have to go through the risk and effort of buying the native tokens for that platform. You have Bitcoins already. Why can’t you use them?
Por ello, con este escenario sobre la mesa y con el objetivo de aunar esfuerzos, algunos se han preguntado: ¿Sería posible crear blockchains que sean utilizadas para casos de usos concretos, pero conectadas en todo momento a la de Bitcoin? ¿Podemos crear piezas de software que desde una blockchain se pueda saltar a otra de manera transparente, segura y descentralizada? Esto generaría, para que te hagas una imagen mental, algo así como las ruedas dentadas interconectadas de un motor, cada rueda una blockchain, todas trabajando juntas.

Decentralization and distribution are seen by many to be a major benefit of public blockchains, but not everybody shares this ethos. But this is not the only benefit of public blockchains, of course. Perhaps most importantly, their transparency makes them very secure: because they can be audited by anybody, it is easy to detect fraud on the chain. Security-via-openness is a principle well known in the open source world, and this strategy is also popular among some in the digital currency community. For example, all of the tools and content produced by the Ethereum team is open source. This helps to make Ethereum widely accessible and more secure.
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.
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.
Sidechains interactuando con blockchain. Blockstream explica en su paper como, a las sidechains, se les añade una nueva pieza llamada two-way peg. Two-way peg es “el conector” entre ambas cadenas y se encarga de hacer la “magia” para que los bitcoins “salten” a la otra cadena. Juntando ambas cosas obtenemos las pegged sidechain: cadenas laterales conectadas en todo momento. En la imagen puedes observar como, incluso, las sidechain pueden interactuar entre ellas. ¿Llegaremos a un escenario de blockchains interactuando con aspecto fractal?
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.
Plasma, a project by Ethereum, uses this side chain concept. It encourages transactions to happen on side chains (or child chains). An authority governs each of the child chains. If the authority starts acting maliciously, anyone on the child chain can quit the child chain and take back their pegged assets on the main chain. It’s in its early stages of development but shows a lot of promise in handling some of Ethereum’s scalability issues.
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).
In general, so far there has been little emphasis on the distinction between consortium blockchains and fully private blockchains, although it is important: the former provides a hybrid between the “low-trust” provided by public blockchains and the “single highly-trusted entity” model of private blockchains, whereas the latter can be more accurately described as a traditional centralized system with a degree of cryptographic auditability attached. However, to some degree there is good reason for the focus on consortium over private: the fundamental value of blockchains in a fully private context, aside from the replicated state machine functionality, is cryptographic authentication, and there is no reason to believe that the optimal format of such authentication provision should consist of a series of hash-linked data packets containing Merkle tree roots; generalized zero knowledge proof technology provides a much broader array of exciting possibilities about the kinds of cryptographic assurances that applications can provide their users. In general, I would even argue that generalized zero-knowledge-proofs are, in the corporate financial world, greatly underhyped compared to private blockchains.
If one group of nodes continues to use the old software while the other nodes use the new software, a split can occur. For example, Ethereum has hard-forked to "make whole" the investors in The DAO, which had been hacked by exploiting a vulnerability in its code.[31] In this case, the fork resulted in a split creating Ethereum and Ethereum Classic chains. In 2014 the Nxt community was asked to consider a hard fork that would have led to a rollback of the blockchain records to mitigate the effects of a theft of 50 million NXT from a major cryptocurrency exchange. The hard fork proposal was rejected, and some of the funds were recovered after negotiations and ransom payment.[32]
thank you for the clear explanation of this. so in essence, by locking bitcoins to a particular address we’ve created an asset (collateral). then on the other sidechain (marketplace) we get issued shares against the asset, which we can sell. anyone holding a share can then redeem it against the asset. I think that’s an analogy that finance types would get
If you want a deeper look at Proof of Stake check out our detailed POS post. In short, while Proof of Work is an effective mechanism to secure the blockchain and provides a trustless consensus paradigm, it’s extremely energy intensive because of all the computing power required to solve hash problems. Also, while it was meant to be decentralized, it’s actually becoming more centralized as miners consolidate and massive mining setups eat up larger shares of winning blocks.
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 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.

Blockchain-based smart contracts are proposed contracts that could be partially or fully executed or enforced without human interaction.[55] One of the main objectives of a smart contract is automated escrow. An IMF staff discussion reported that smart contracts based on blockchain technology might reduce moral hazards and optimize the use of contracts in general. But "no viable smart contract systems have yet emerged." Due to the lack of widespread use their legal status is unclear.[56]