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.
Jump up ^ Shah, Rakesh (1 March 2018). "How Can The Banking Sector Leverage Blockchain Technology?". PostBox Communications. PostBox Communications Blog. Archived from the original on 17 March 2018. Banks preferably have a notable interest in utilizing Blockchain Technology because it is a great source to avoid fraudulent transactions. Blockchain is considered hassle free, because of the extra level of security it offers.
Elements Alpha functions as a sidechain to Bitcoin’s testnet, though the peg mechanism currently works through a centralized protocol adapter, as described in the Sidechains whitepaper. It relies on an auditable federation of signers to manage the testnet coins transferred into the sidechain via the “Deterministic Pegs” Element, and to produce blocks via the “Signed Blocks” Element. This makes it possible to immediately explore the new chain’s possibilities, using different security trade-offs. They plan to, in a later release, upgrade the protocol adapter to support fully decentralized merge-mining of the sidechain, and ultimately to phase in the full 2-way peg mechanism.
Note: Some would argue that such a system cannot be defined as a blockchain. Also, Blockchain is still in it’s early stages. It is unclear how the technology will pan out and will be adopted. Many argue that private or federated Blockchains might suffer the fate of Intranets in the 1990’s, when private companies built their own private LANs or WANs instead of using the public Internet and all the services, but has more or less become obsolete especially with the advent of SAAS in the Web2.
Miners are needed to ensure the safety of the sidechains. This makes the formation of new sidechains a costly venture. Hefty amounts of investments have to be made before any new sidechain can be created. Another downside to sidechains is the requirement of a federation. The extra layer formed by the federation could prove to be a weak point for attackers.
The sole distinction between public and private blockchain is related to who is allowed to participate in the network, execute the consensus protocol and maintain the shared ledger. A public blockchain network is completely open and anyone can join and participate in the network. The network typically has an incentivizing mechanism to encourage more participants to join the network. Bitcoin is one of the largest public blockchain networks in production today.