"Proof of Work" used by Bitcoin is a competitive consensus algorithm. Each node races to solve a difficult puzzle first. Doing so earns the right to produce a block and you are rewarded in Bitcoin. The block is where the transaction (value of data) is written and confirmed. However, this race is a waste of time and money for those that don’t win. You get nothing unless you are the first to solve the puzzle. Since no one wants to lose, nodes started working together to solve the puzzle and share the reward based on your computational power (the hash rate).
Peer-to-peer blockchain networks lack centralized points of vulnerability that computer crackers can exploit; likewise, it has no central point of failure. Blockchain security methods include the use of public-key cryptography.[4]:5 A public key (a long, random-looking string of numbers) is an address on the blockchain. Value tokens sent across the network are recorded as belonging to that address. A private key is like a password that gives its owner access to their digital assets or the means to otherwise interact with the various capabilities that blockchains now support. Data stored on the blockchain is generally considered incorruptible.[1]
Private institutions like banks realized that they could use the core idea of blockchain as a distributed ledger technology (DLT), and create a permissioned blockchain (private or federated), where the validator is a member of a consortium or separate legal entities of the same organization. The term blockchain in the context of permissioned private ledger is highly controversial and disputed. This is why the term distributed ledger technologies emerged as a more general term.

By the end of this post, you’ll be able to freely participate in conversations like the above. This is not a coding tutorial, as we’ll just be presenting important concepts at a high level. However, we may follow up with programming tutorials on these ideas. This article will be helpful to both programmers and non-programmers alike. Let’s get going!
There has been tremendous interest in blockchain, the technology on which Bitcoin functions. Nakamoto developed the blockchain as an acceptable solution to the game theory puzzle – Byzantine General’s Problem. This lead to a number of firms adopting the technology in different ways to solve real world issues, wherever there was an element of trust involved. Majority of them could be relating to the ability to provide proof of ownership – for documents, software modules/licenses, voting etc.
Jump up ^ Epstein, Jim (6 May 2016). "Is Blockchain Technology a Trojan Horse Behind Wall Street's Walled Garden?". Reason. Archived from the original on 8 July 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016. mainstream misgivings about working with a system that's open for anyone to use. Many banks are partnering with companies building so-called private blockchains that mimic some aspects of Bitcoin's architecture except they're designed to be closed off and accessible only to chosen parties. ... [but some believe] that open and permission-less blockchains will ultimately prevail even in the banking sector simply because they're more efficient.
A partir de este momento, se podrán intercambiar y mover estas monedas para hacer uso del potencial de esa sidechain siguiendo las directrices y protocolo que ésta tenga estipulado. Por ejemplo, quizá la velocidad de creación de los bloques es más rápida en esta o quizá los scripts de transacción en esa cadena son turing completos (disponen de un poder de cómputo equivalente a la máquina universal de Turing).

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Congratulations! You’ve just educated yourself on the most common advanced topics in blockchain that you’ll hear about. By understanding these concepts, you have a firmer grasp on the fundamental tradeoffs and latest research on the blockchain than most industry “experts”! Better yet, next time you hear your colleagues around the water cooler talking about state channels, the Lightning Network and Byzantine fault tolerance, not only will you know what they’re talking about but you might be able to teach them a thing or two!
Peer-to-peer blockchain networks lack centralized points of vulnerability that computer crackers can exploit; likewise, it has no central point of failure. Blockchain security methods include the use of public-key cryptography.[4]:5 A public key (a long, random-looking string of numbers) is an address on the blockchain. Value tokens sent across the network are recorded as belonging to that address. A private key is like a password that gives its owner access to their digital assets or the means to otherwise interact with the various capabilities that blockchains now support. Data stored on the blockchain is generally considered incorruptible.[1]
“Not only is decentralization, open protocols, open source, collaborative development and living in the wild a feature of Bitcoin, that’s the whole point. And if you take a permissioned ledger and say, that’s all nice, we like the database part of it, can we have it without the open decentralized P2P [peer-to-peer] open source non-controlled distributed nature of it, well you just threw out the baby with the bathwater.” 
Since 2008 when Satoshi Nakamoto published a white paper considering Bitcoin and blockchain technology, the latter gained fame as a tool for combating trust issues and bringing transparency to transactions between independent participants. Even though a decade passed, for a lay public, blockchain is still not the easiest concept to deal with. As a rule, people generalize things they don’t understand deeply in detail. Thus, when they hear “blockchain,” they tend to think there’s just one transcendental blockchain that hosts thousands of projects. But it’s a wrong perception as there are numerous blockchains and they differ.
New distribution methods are available for the insurance industry such as peer-to-peer insurance, parametric insurance and microinsurance following the adoption of blockchain.[71][72] The sharing economy and IoT are also set to benefit from blockchains because they involve many collaborating peers.[73] Online voting is another application of the blockchain.[74][75]
A private blockchain on the other hand provides only the owner to have the rights on any changes that have to be done. This could be seen as a similar version to the existing infrastructure wherein the owner (a centralized authority) would have the power to change the rules, revert transactions, etc. based on the need. This could be a concept with huge interest from FI’s and large companies. It could find use cases to build proprietary systems and reduce the costs, while at the same time increase their efficiency. Some of the examples could be:
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.
There are many critics of payment channels. Finding the quickest path between unconnected nodes is no trivial exercise. This is a classic “traveling salesman” problem that has been worked on by top computer scientists for decades. Critics argue that it is highly unlikely payment channels like Bitcoin’s Lightning and Ethereum’s Raiden will work as expected in practice due to complexities like the traveling salesman problem. The key for you is just to know that these projects and potential solutions to blockchain scalability issues exist. Many of the smartest minds in the industry are working actively to bring them to life.

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A big thanks to Diego Salvador for helping me write this episode. Him and the rest of the team over at Rootstock are doing fantastic work with cryptocurrency and Sidechains. We wish them all the best. I'll be sure to leave a link to their website in the top of the description so you can go check it out and learn more if you wish. And as always, be sure to subscribe and I will see you next time.
Structure Side chains are independent blockchains that have a kind of "pegging mechanism", where at least one of the chains (main chain and side chain) is "aware" of the other chain and both tokens are pegged at a set ratio. Side chains need their own network security and block processing. "Child Chains" of the Ardor platform are tightly integrated into the main Ardor parent chain. All transactions are processed and secured by the parent chain forgers. This makes cross-chain transactions possible. Pruning will be enabled on child chain transactions in order to significantly reduce blockchain bloat by pruning the transactions on regular basis from the blockchain.
When blockchain technology was introduced to the public in 2008 (via Satoshi Nakamoto’s famous white paper), it would have been hard to predict that private or consortium blockchains would become popular. But recently, there’s been a lot of buzz about this in the digital currency community. Many companies are beginning to experiment with blockchain by implementing private and consortium chains, although some people are critical of this. This discussion not only centers on use cases and benefits, but whether non-public blockchains are an appropriate application of the protocol to begin with.

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.


This comparison might make you think that private blockchains are more reasonable to use as they are faster, cheaper, and protect the privacy of their members. However, in certain cases, transparency is more crucial than the speed of transaction approval. So, every company interested in moving their processes to a blockchain evaluates the needs and goals and only then selects a particular type of distributed ledger.

A company called Blockstream has been focusing on these developments and has announced the release of Sidechain Elements, which is an open-sourced framework for sidechain development. It includes a functioning code and a testing environment for working with sidechains with several components: the core network software to build an initial testing sidechain, eight new features not currently supported by bitcoin, a basic wallet and the code for moving coins between blockchains.
2) Yes – I had to keep things short/simple in this intro article in order to get across the key ideas. But you’re right: the sidechains need to be secured. But how that happens is a matter for the sidechain. If somebody can produce a false “proof” that the locked Bitcoins should be released on the Bitcoin side then that’s a problem for the sidechain, of course (somebody presumably just had their coins stolen!) but it’s irrelevant (at a macro level) on the Bitcoin side.

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.
It may sound nitpicky, but I think that description leaves something to be desired in terms of presenting the “correct” mental model. First, there is no such thing as “a” bitcoin, as I am sure the author would agree. Speaking of spending or moving bitcoins perpetuates the notion of bitcoins as “things”. It might be preferable to say that you are spending or moving “units of the bitcoin protocol”. There is something similar going on here with dollars. The dollars in your bank account aren’t things either, they are units of demand or claim on a currency. The fact that printed dollars have serial numbers tends to confuse this notion. Treating something as a “thing’ which is not a thing is sometimes referred to as the reification fallacy.

Open blockchains are more user-friendly than some traditional ownership records, which, while open to the public, still require physical access to view. Because all early blockchains were permissionless, controversy has arisen over the blockchain definition. An issue in this ongoing debate is whether a private system with verifiers tasked and authorized (permissioned) by a central authority should be considered a blockchain.[36][37][38][39][40] Proponents of permissioned or private chains argue that the term "blockchain" may be applied to any data structure that batches data into time-stamped blocks. These blockchains serve as a distributed version of multiversion concurrency control (MVCC) in databases.[41] Just as MVCC prevents two transactions from concurrently modifying a single object in a database, blockchains prevent two transactions from spending the same single output in a blockchain.[42]:30–31 Opponents say that permissioned systems resemble traditional corporate databases, not supporting decentralized data verification, and that such systems are not hardened against operator tampering and revision.[36][38] Nikolai Hampton of Computerworld said that "many in-house blockchain solutions will be nothing more than cumbersome databases," and "without a clear security model, proprietary blockchains should be eyed with suspicion."[9][43]
My take is that the Bitcoin architecture is a solution to the problem of how to maintain consensus about a ledger when the participants are unknown and many of them are adversarial (I know this is loose language… computer scientists working in the consensus space are more precise but I think this captures the essence…. i.e. we’re explicitly in a world where there is no “leader” and no identities for those providing the consensus services).

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.
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.
Jump up ^ Epstein, Jim (6 May 2016). "Is Blockchain Technology a Trojan Horse Behind Wall Street's Walled Garden?". Reason. Archived from the original on 8 July 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016. mainstream misgivings about working with a system that's open for anyone to use. Many banks are partnering with companies building so-called private blockchains that mimic some aspects of Bitcoin's architecture except they're designed to be closed off and accessible only to chosen parties. ... [but some believe] that open and permission-less blockchains will ultimately prevail even in the banking sector simply because they're more efficient.

Unlike the other two-way peg mechanisms discussed in this article, SPV sidechains do not give direct control of real bitcoins on the main chain to a custodian; however, the ability for a majority of miners to produce and build upon fraudulent SPV proofs gives them indirect control over the funds, including the ability to send to themselves. Having said that, there are ways to mitigate this issue.
For example, Banks A and B often settle thousands of transactions per day. It would be extremely expensive for all of those transactions to be committed to the main blockchain, so A and B set up a side-chain. At the end of each day, at most one transaction is committed to the main blockchain (the only possible outcomes are A and B's balances remain the same, or one of their balances decreases and the other's increases).
Byzantine fault tolerance (BFT) is what keeps the blockchain fundamentally secure. For simplicity, let’s say there were 100 nodes in a blockchain network (there are currently about 10,500 full Bitcoin nodes in the world). What happens when one node wants to tamper with the latest block and say other Bitcoin users sent him a whole bunch of Bitcoin when they really didn’t?

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?
The creation of sidechains have been a direct result of scalability issues associated with the main blockchain for projects such as Ethereum. Making sidechains increasingly popular way to speed up transactions. Lisk was the first decentralized application (dapp) to implement sidechains. With Lisk, each dapp created exists on its own sidechain without interfering with the mainchain.

The block time is the average time it takes for the network to generate one extra block in the blockchain.[27] Some blockchains create a new block as frequently as every five seconds.[28] By the time of block completion, the included data becomes verifiable. In cryptocurrency, this is practically when the transaction takes place, so a shorter block time means faster transactions. The block time for Ethereum is set to between 14 and 15 seconds, while for bitcoin it is 10 minutes.[29]

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I have a hard time swallowing that Bitcoin “isn’t a ledger”. That’s like saying “Bitcoin isn’t the blockchain”, and if you take the blockchain away from Bitcoin, you aren’t really left with much (including, sidechains). Perhaps Bitcoin isn’t a ledger *from the perspective* of individual transactions, but by the same logic, nothing that isn’t transaction data is.


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