Blockstream has also released an “Alpha” sidechain with all of those features up and running except the last, coupled to the Bitcoin testnet. (Used for testing Bitcoin software without putting real value at risk.) In the absence of the Bitcoin protocol change that will cryptographically secure the programmatic transfer of value between Bitcoin and sidechains, they’re cooperating with several external organizations to perform and validate those transfers. If and when that protocol change happens, though, pegged sidechains will be as permissionless, and as decentralized, as Bitcoin itself.

A consortium blockchain is part public, part private. This split works at the level of the consensus process: on a consortium chain, a pre-selected group of nodes control the consensus process, but other nodes may be allowed to participate in creating new transactions and/or reviewing it. The specific configuration of each consortium chain (i.e., which nodes have the power to authorize transactions via the consensus process, which can review the history of the chain, which can create new transactions, and more) is the decision of each individual consortium.
The distributed Bitcoin mining network performs quadrillions of calculations every second that maintain the integrity of its blockchain. Other blockchains aren’t remotely as secure, but they innovate much faster. Sidechains, an innovation proposed and developed by the startup Blockstream, allow for the best of both worlds; the creation of new blockchains “pegged” to Bitcoin, so that value can be transferred between them, which can conceivably be automatically secured by Bitcoin miners via “merged mining.”

In this case, you work directly with the given blockchain tools and stack. Assembly is required, so this isn’t for the faint of heart at this point, as many of the technologies are still developing and evolving. However, working directly with the blockchain provides a good degree of innovation, for example in building decentralized applications. This is where entrepreneurs are creating ambitious end-to-end, peer-to-peer applications, such as OpenBazaar (on Bitcoin), or Ujo Music (on Ethereum).
The information on every public blockchain is subsequently replicated to sometimes thousands of nodes on the network. No one power administers it centrally, hence, hackers can’t destroy the network by crippling one central server. Read this article “What is Blockchain technology? A step-by-step Guide For Beginners”, for a more detailed description of the technology.

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.
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.
The consortium or company running a private blockchain can easily, if desired, change the rules of a blockchain, revert transactions, modify balances, etc. In some cases, eg. national land registries, this functionality is necessary; there is no way a system would be allowed to exist where Dread Pirate Roberts can have legal ownership rights over a plainly visible piece of land, and so an attempt to create a government-uncontrollable land registry would in practice quickly devolve into one that is not recognized by the government itself. Of course, one can argue that one can do this on a public blockchain by giving the government a backdoor key to a contract; the counter-argument to that is that such an approach is essentially a Rube Goldbergian alternative to the more efficient route of having a private blockchain, although there is in turn a partial counter-argument to that that I will describe later.
But, rather than go back to the drawing board, many people are figuring out alternative way to eke better performance outbid the system, and one approach is to use a sidechain.. sonrsther than process many transactions on the bitcoin network, two parties that transact a lot together might deposit down bitcoin into a side chain and conduct a bunch of transactions there (avoiding the absurd cost and delay of bitcoin) and then when they want to “settle up” they then invoke a balancing transaction on the bitcoin network.
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.

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".
– A consensus much faster: the fact that the consensus mechanism is centralized makes it much quicker. In fact, the term “consensus” is no longer adapted since it is rather a recording of transactions on the blockchain. Note that the entity responsible for managing the blockchain can decide to change the parameters of the blockchain and in particular to increase the size of the blocks to be able to add more transactions.
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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.
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.
Walmart recently filed patents that could allow the retailer to store vendor and consumer e-commerce payment data using blockchain technology to improve security. This application would encrypt payment information in digital shopping systems and create a network able to automatically conduct transactions on behalf of a customer. The payments would be received by one vendor or more, depending on the services and who provided them.
Plasma is a proposed framework for incentivized and enforced execution of smart contracts which is scalable to a significant amount of state updates per second (potentially billions) enabling the blockchain to be able to represent a significant amount of decentralized financial applications worldwide. These smart contracts are incentivized to continue operation autonomously via network transaction fees, which is ultimately reliant upon the underlying blockchain (e.g. Ethereum) to enforce transactional state transitions.
Bitcoin está demostrando un potencial enorme, y desarrolladores de todo el mundo quieren llevar esta tecnología aún más lejos, por ejemplo con los smart contracts turing completo o las llamadas smart property. El problema es que Bitcoin tiene un lenguaje de programación deliberadamente limitado. Además sus transacciones se confirman relativamente despacio, cada 10 minutos. Y ya por último y muy importante, su cadena de bloques está saturándose de transacciones debido a la creciente fama de Bitcoin.
This list is not exhaustive. There are plenty of public blockchains, and they are actively adopted by such industries as FinTech, gaming, logistics, and beyond. However, it not always makes sense to move certain processes and businesses to the public network as the latter are characterized by comparatively low speed of transactions execution and high costs. Indeed, every transaction requires a consensus of the entire network. Unfortunately, it takes time and resources.
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.
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.
Anyway, new blocks do not appear on the blockchain all of a sudden – the network must achieve consensus. In other words, each transaction must be validated by the rest of the network members, so-called “nodes.” Their contribution to the final decision on consensus is equal. Each node solves a complex cryptographic problem, and when a solution is found a new block appears on the blockchain. Such algorithm is called “proof-of-work consensus protocol.”
– The manipulation of the blockchain: It is indeed possible to come back at any time on the transactions that have already been added to the blockchain and therefore change the balance of the members. In a public blockchain, such operation would require that 51% of the hashing power (i.e capacity to mine) is concentrated in the hands of the same entity. This not theory anymore since it happened beginning 2014 when the cooperative of GHash minor reached the 51% threshold.

A consortium blockchain is part public, part private. This split works at the level of the consensus process: on a consortium chain, a pre-selected group of nodes control the consensus process, but other nodes may be allowed to participate in creating new transactions and/or reviewing it. The specific configuration of each consortium chain (i.e., which nodes have the power to authorize transactions via the consensus process, which can review the history of the chain, which can create new transactions, and more) is the decision of each individual consortium.
Blockchain, trust, decentralization, Bitcoin, transparency, anonymity, blockchain, blockchain, blockchain. These words seem to appear randomly on the Web regardless the theme of an article you read. Don’t you know how to implement blockchain in art? There’s definitely someone who can tell you. Do you wonder how banking can benefit from blockchain? No worries, some projects already do it – just search for the use cases.
Jump up ^ Kopfstein, Janus (12 December 2013). "The Mission to Decentralize the Internet". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on 31 December 2014. Retrieved 30 December 2014. The network's 'nodes'—users running the bitcoin software on their computers—collectively check the integrity of other nodes to ensure that no one spends the same coins twice. All transactions are published on a shared public ledger, called the 'block chain.'
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For example, let’s say we have side chain 1 (SC1) and side chain 2 (SC2). A transaction occurs on SC1. A node in SC1 broadcasts the transaction to nodes in the main chain to record this transaction. The same node of SC1 calls a function from SC2 with a proof. The function in the nodes of SC2 verifies the proof on the main chain. The function gets executed.
It is different with a private blockchain (or closed) since the members of the network are selected before being able to download the protocol and therefore use the proposed service by the network. The mining capabilities and the system of consensus as a whole are centralized within the hands of the same entity. A network based on a private blockchain is therefore not decentralized in itself.
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
• ‘Difficulty’: In the Bitcoin network, miners solve an asymmetric cryptographic puzzle to mine new blocks. Over time the puzzle becomes easier, resulting in it eventually taking less than 10 minutes for each new block generation. Hence, the community updates the puzzle every 14 days and makes it more difficult, thus requiring even more computing power to handle the POW algorithm. The ‘difficulty’ parameter controls the complexity of the cryptographic puzzle. This parameter is also used in the Ethereum blockchain as well. Developers should assign a low value (between 0-10,000) to this parameter for this project thus enabling quicker mining.
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.
Public blockchains are open, and therefore are likely to be used by very many entities and gain some network effects. To give a particular example, consider the case of domain name escrow. Currently, if A wants to sell a domain to B, there is the standard counterparty risk problem that needs to be resolved: if A sends first, B may not send the money, and if B sends first then A might not send the domain. To solve this problem, we have centralized escrow intermediaries, but these charge fees of three to six percent. However, if we have a domain name system on a blockchain, and a currency on the same blockchain, then we can cut costs to near-zero with a smart contract: A can send the domain to a program which immediately sends it to the first person to send the program money, and the program is trusted because it runs on a public blockchain. Note that in order for this to work efficiently, two completely heterogeneous asset classes from completely different industries must be on the same database - not a situation which can easily happen with private ledgers. Another similar example in this category is land registries and title insurance, although it is important to note that another route to interoperability is to have a private chain that the public chain can verify, btcrelay-style, and perform transactions cross-chain.
Ethereum is an open-source blockchain platform that allows anyone to build and use decentralized applications running on blockchain technology. Ethereum is a programmable blockchain - it allows users to create their own operations. These operations, coded as Smart Contracts, are deployed and executed by the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) running inside every node.
By design, a blockchain is resistant to modification of the data. It is "an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way".[7] For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for inter-node communication and validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires consensus of the network majority. Although blockchain records are not unalterable, blockchains may be considered secure by design and exemplify a distributed computing system with high Byzantine fault tolerance. Decentralized consensus has therefore been claimed with a blockchain.[8]

By contrast, the Bitcoin blockchain is not Turing complete since it has little to no ability for data manipulation. It has no ability for a user to deploy if else or goto statements. This is a bit of a simplification but anytime you hear someone say something is “Turing complete” you can do a quick check to see if there is functionality for data changes, memory changes and if/else statements. If there is, that’s usually what they mean.

A consortium blockchain is often said to be semi-decentralized. It, too, is permissioned but instead of a single organization controlling it, a number of companies might each operate a node on such a network. The administrators of a consortium chain restrict users' reading rights as they see fit and only allow a limited set of trusted nodes to execute a consensus protocol.

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.
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Nikolai Hampton pointed out in Computerworld that "There is also no need for a '51 percent' attack on a private blockchain, as the private blockchain (most likely) already controls 100 percent of all block creation resources. If you could attack or damage the blockchain creation tools on a private corporate server, you could effectively control 100 percent of their network and alter transactions however you wished."[9] This has a set of particularly profound adverse implications during a financial crisis or debt crisis like the financial crisis of 2007–08, where politically powerful actors may make decisions that favor some groups at the expense of others,[51][52] and "the bitcoin blockchain is protected by the massive group mining effort. It's unlikely that any private blockchain will try to protect records using gigawatts of computing power—it's time consuming and expensive."[9] He also said, "Within a private blockchain there is also no 'race'; there's no incentive to use more power or discover blocks faster than competitors. This means that many in-house blockchain solutions will be nothing more than cumbersome databases."[9]
Security issues. Like the blockchain, the sidechain needs the work of miners to stay safe from attacks. Without sufficient power, the sidechain is vulnerable for assault. If hacked, only the sidechain will be damaged, while the main chain remains untouched and ready to continue work. If the main chain comes under the attack, the sidechain still operates, but without the value of the peg.
The words block and chain were used separately in Satoshi Nakamoto's original paper, but were eventually popularized as a single word, blockchain, by 2016. The term blockchain 2.0 refers to new applications of the distributed blockchain database, first emerging in 2014.[13] The Economist described one implementation of this second-generation programmable blockchain as coming with "a programming language that allows users to write more sophisticated smart contracts, thus creating invoices that pay themselves when a shipment arrives or share certificates which automatically send their owners dividends if profits reach a certain level."[1]
Bitcoin se acerca a los 10,000 millones de capitalización, con una infraestructura y usuarios que requieren que todas las ideas e innovación que se desarrolla a su alrededor cumpla con un nivel de seguridad y testeo tan elevados como el propio Bitcoin. Es por esto que, al menos hasta no ser algo totalmente definnido y fiable en la blockchain test de Bitcoin, no se podrá empezar a presionar para una posible implementación en la blockchain live.
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
Many people believe this is the future of the blockchain. It maintains network security and allows for scalability. The biggest criticism is that it heavily favors those with more funds as smaller holders have no chance of becoming witnesses. But the reality is, smaller players have no hope of participating in Proof of Work either, as mining from your own laptop at home is no longer a reality. Smaller players get outcompeted by bigger players who have massive mining rigs. STEEM and EOS are examples of DPOS blockchains. Even Ethereum is moving to POS with its Casper project.
These kinds of blockchains are forks of the original implementations but deployed in a permissioned manner. Mainly hyped because the companies behind these chains want to onboard corporations in order to generate buzz around their their chain. It’s tolerable for proof of concepts or if they plan to move to public as soon as possible; otherwise they are just using the wrong set of tools for the job.