An important distinction to be made about sidechains that needs to be understood is that sidechains themselves help to fuel innovation through experimentation. Rather than providing scalability directly, they allow for trivial experimentation on sidechains with various scalability mechanisms. Using sidechains, one can avoid the problems of initial distribution, market volatility, and barriers to entry when experimenting with altcoins due to the inherent derivation of their scarcity and supply from Bitcoin. That being said, each sidechain is independent and flexible to tool around with various features.
@quinn – thanks for the comment. I probably didn’t write clearly enough… I was trying to point out that none of the higher-level concepts we’re familiar with (addresses, bitcoins, the “ledger”, etc) actually exist at the protocol level…. it’s just transactions, transaction outputs, unspent transaction outputs, etc… they combine to create the illusion we’re all familiar with.
In simple terms, public blockchains can receive and send transactions from anybody in the world. They can also be audited by anybody, and every node has as much transmission power as any other. Before a transaction is considered valid, it must be authorized by each of its constituent nodes via the chain’s consensus process. As long as each node abides by the specific stipulations of the protocol, their transactions can be validated, and thus add to the chain
To most people, Bitcoin itself is already deeply esoteric (and many still find it risible.) But to cryptocurrency aficionados, tired old garden-variety Bitcoin is so five minutes ago. Explaining today’s new cryptocurrency hotness to a general audience is an interesting challenge–I have an engineering degree from a top-tier school and I write software for a living, and I still find much of this material pretty impenetrable on first acquaintance–but here goes:
Instead, what if the game was played in its own “channel”? Each time a player made a move, the state of the game is signed by each player. After an epic battle where the Protoss player takes out the remaining Zerg forces and forces a gg, the final state of the game (Protoss wins) is sent to a smart contract on the main chain. This neutral smart contract, known as a Judge, waits a while to see if the Zerg player disputes the outcome. If the Zerg player doesn’t, the Protoss player is paid the 1 ETH.
Ethereum, a provider of decentralized platform and programming language that helps running smart contracts and allows developers to publish distributed applications. Factom, a provider of records management, record business process for business and governments. Blockstream, a provider of sidechain technology, focused on extending capabilities of Bitcoin. The company has started experimenting on providing accounting (considered a function to be done on private blockchain) with the use of public blockchain technology.
In order to trade assets from the mainchain for assets from the sidechain, one would first need to send their assets on the mainchain to a certain address, effectively locking the assets up. After the transaction has been completed, a confirmation will be communicated to the sidechain. The sidechain will then release a certain amount of the assets on the sidechain to the user, equivalent to the amount of assets ‘locked up’ on the mainchain times the exchange rate. To trade the assets from the sidechain for assets of the mainchain, one would need to do the same, just the other way around.
Start mining on node 1 by using the function miner.start(1), where 1 refers to the number of threads. Note that the miner.start(n) function will always return "null." Unless you have many CPU cores, keep the thread number low to avoid high CPU usage. Note that mining without any pending transaction can still earn your default account incentive (ETH). It creates empty blocks, thus strengthening the integrity of the blockchain tree.
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.