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.

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]

A public blockchain is a platform where anyone on the platform would be able to read or write to the platform, provided they are able to show the proof of work for the same. There has been a lot of activity in this space as the number of potential users that any technology in this space could generate is high.  Also, a public blockchain is considered to be a fully decentralized blockchain. Some of the examples are:
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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.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies currently secure their blockchain by requiring new entries to include a proof of work. To prolong the blockchain, bitcoin uses Hashcash puzzles. While Hashcash was designed in 1997 by Adam Back, the original idea was first proposed by Cynthia Dwork and Moni Naor and Eli Ponyatovski in their 1992 paper "Pricing via Processing or Combatting Junk Mail".
Sidechains as an idea have existed and had been floating around for quite some time now, the bases is to extend the decentralization of trust into other sectors and to other digital assets. However, while this all sounds great it's a perfect example of good in theory but not so much in practice. Nevertheless, this hasn't stopped people from trying with groups such as Blockstream exploring the idea and our friends over at Rootstock co-creating a Sidechain which is allowing Litecoin and Bitcoin to execute smart contracts and all without changing the core software of the original currency.

2) Yea, blockchain could be a suboptimal MQ Series, a slower append only persistent wire that has a lot of ready-made tools for audit and security analysis (ecosystem argument). As blockchain ecosystem grows all kinds of data transformation tools will appear (e.g. we are working on such). Inside blockchain could be tuned to be less PoW intensive and to cut blocks faster. Besides, the variations of PoS or a hybrid PoW + PoS scheme are emerging which could use the fact that inside, as you say, all network participants can have clear identities, unlike on the public bitcoin’s blockchain.
Perhaps blocks are created faster on that sidechain. Perhaps transaction scripts are “turing complete”. Perhaps you have to pay fees to incent those securing that sidechain. Who knows. The rules can be whatever those running that sidechain want them to be. The only rule that matters is that the sidechain agrees to follow the convention that if you can prove you put some Bitcoins out of reach on the Bitcoin network, the same number will pop into existence on the sidechain.
@tradles – thanks for taking the time to explain this. OK – so I get the debate around blockchain bloat and the (grudging) inclusion of OP_RETURN, etc., but what I’m missing is that I can only really see one scenario where embedding any identity data into the blockchain makes sense…. and that’s when I want to *associate* an identity with a transaction I’m performing.
A public blockchain is ideal when the network must be truly decentralized, which means that no central entity controls the entry of the members on the network and the consensus mechanism is democratic. A democratic mechanism of consensus means that all members can become a minor and that these miners are in competition to add the blocks to the blockchain (at least when the mechanism of the evidence of the work is used).
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Loom Network is a Platform as a Service built on top of Ethereum that allows developers to run large-scale decentralized applications. This lets developers build DApps with the trust and security of the world’s most secure public blockchain, along with the computing resources necessary to run commercial-scale services. Like how Filecoin tokenized disk space, Loom aims to be the tokenized application protocol of the new decentralized web.

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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.
It might seem that this technology is beneficial for any business, but it is not. Quite often projects fail to justify their will of public or private blockchain implementation. The key reason to use blockchain is the inefficiency of existing centralized solution that is slow, expensive, and lacks transparency and reliability. In other cases, blockchain isn’t required.
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That is however not all. Sidechains also have some specific use cases, unique to a certain blockchain. One example is the usage of sidechains in EOS. EOS is currently facing a RAM problem. RAM is too expensive and developers are complaining. Sidechains could compete with the EOS mainchain by having lower RAM prices, this would lead to competition, incentivizing both the EOS mainchain block producers and sidechain block producers (mainchain and sidechains of EOS are maintained by the same group of block producers) to keep the RAM price as low as possible. This also means there is more RAM available, so the RAM price will go down as a result.
The term “sidechains” was first described in the paper “Enabling Blockchain Innovations with Pegged Sidechains”, circa 2014 by Adam Back et al. The paper describes “two-way pegged sidechains”, a mechanism where by proving that you had “locked” some coins that were previously in your posession, you were allowed to move some other coins within a sidechain.

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.”
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.
Note: This is also a pioneering effort towards increased adoption of smart contracts because while the traditional contracts have been around for a long time, smart contracts are relatively new, and there are gaps in how they are structured. If the smart contracts have the necessary legal expressions then that could serve as a template to bridge this gap in future.
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.
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.

Unfortunately our second option cannot be done yet, because to use these sidechains, main chain (here it is bitcoin) needs to do some upgrade (soft fork). By the way, upgrades in public blockchains are very painful yet. There will be a user activated soft fork (UASF) on August 1. All bitcoin forms’ trend topic is this soft fork which is about a code change for Segregated Witness Adoption.
Blockstream believes that to be secure, blockchain systems must be built with open source technology. Towards that goal, we've created the Elements Project, a community of people extending and improving the Bitcoin codebase. As open source, protocol-level technology, developers can use Elements to extend the functionality of Bitcoin and explore new applications of the blockchain. Join the expanding group of individual and corporate developers using Elements to build robust, advanced, and innovative blockchains.
That is however not all. Sidechains also have some specific use cases, unique to a certain blockchain. One example is the usage of sidechains in EOS. EOS is currently facing a RAM problem. RAM is too expensive and developers are complaining. Sidechains could compete with the EOS mainchain by having lower RAM prices, this would lead to competition, incentivizing both the EOS mainchain block producers and sidechain block producers (mainchain and sidechains of EOS are maintained by the same group of block producers) to keep the RAM price as low as possible. This also means there is more RAM available, so the RAM price will go down as a result.
At Iryo, we consider databases and blockchains that are not opened to the public to be insecure they, can easily be altered by the business running it, at their discretion and it goes against the ethos of the open and transparent cryptocurrency space. Designed to keep public out and introducing “trusted” middlemen, private chains forget that trusted third parties are security holes.
The second option will be to use sidechains. Blockstream first announced side chain in 2014 and published its whitepaper (https://blockstream.com/sidechai...). I believe in the future, bitcoin will have its desired flexibility with its sidechains. The idea of the sidechain is you can innovate and design your solution freely in the sidechains. These sidechains are independent, if they are failed or hacked, they won't damage other chains. So damage will be limited within that chain, for that reason you can be less conservative. Otherwise you would be more risk averse, if you had 42.5 billion dollar market cap like Bitcoin.
As an engineer and an entrepreneur, I truly believe blockchain technology is going to revolutionize the world. One of the biggest hurdles we need to tackle in the blockchain industry is scalability. Ethereum can only handle 15 transactions per second. I previously wrote about why that will prevent blockchain from going mainstream and how DAG could potentially be a winner.
This approach isn’t fool-proof, but it’s not by mistake that the system looks the way it does today (that’s my history degree talking). Despite best technical efforts, human problems remain within the realm of probability. From http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/15/books/15masl.html: “…blame cannot be easily assigned: not even the most sophisticated economists of the era could accurately predict disaster, let alone guard against it. The effects of a public herd mentality at the time of the [insert catastrophe here] are depicted, all too recognizably, as unstoppable.”

The sidechains vision of the future is of a vast globe-spanning decentralized network of many blockchains, an intertwined cable rather than a single strand, each with its own protocol, rules, and features — but all of them backed by Bitcoin, and protected by the Bitcoin mining network, as the US dollar was once backed by gold. Sidechains can also be used to prototype changes to the fundamental Bitcoin blockchain. One catch, though: this will require a small tweak to the existing Bitcoin protocol.
@Tradle. Thanks for elaborating. I’m also thinking about these things – and hear lots of other people talk about them – but I *really* struggle with the concept. It all comes down to the table I drew in this post: https://gendal.me/2014/12/19/a-simple-model-to-make-sense-of-the-proliferation-of-distributed-ledger-smart-contract-and-cryptocurrency-projects/
And now for the second clever part. The logic above is symmetric. So, at any point, whoever is holding these coins on the sidechain can send them back to the Bitcoin network by creating a special transaction on the sidechain that immobilises the bitcoins on the sidechain. They’ll disappear from the sidechain and become available again on the Bitcoin network, under the control of whoever last owned them on the sidechain.
So, there is a kind of centralized authority that decides who has a right to contribute to and to audit the network. What is more – it’s possible to restrict viewing information stored on private blockchains. It might seem that in such conditions, a blockchain is no longer the blockchain as it lacks transparency and decentralization. Well, these remarks are fair, but only when the network is estimated from the outside. Within it, the rules remain the same as for public networks: it is still transparent for all the members.
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.
Tú, o el usuario en cuestión de las sidechains, envía los bitcoins a una dirección Bitcoin específica, sabiendo que, una vez mandados, estarán fuera de tu control y fuera del control de cualquier otra persona. Estarán completamente inmovilizados y sólo se podrán desbloquear si alguien puede demostrar que no se están utilizando en ningún otro lugar.

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!
Developers and Cryptocurrency enthusiasts have been looking at expanding Bitcoins functionality as mainstream adoption increases. Side chains would increase the resilience of Bitcoin: If one of the sidechains was to be compromised, only the Bitcoins on that chain would be lost, while other sidechains and the Blockchain would continue like normal. This would further stabilize the Bitcoin network and increase security.

Setting up an environment to test and research blockchain requires an ecosystem with multiple systems to be able to develop research and test. The big players in the cloud industry like Amazon(AWS), Microsoft(Azure), IBM(BlueMix) have seen the potential benefits of offering blockchain services in the cloud and started providing some level of BaaS to their customers. Users will benefit from not having to face the problem of configuring and setting up a working blockchain. Hardware investments won’t be needed as well. Microsoft has partnered with ConsenSys to offer Ethereum Blockchain as a Service (EBaaS) on Microsoft Azure. IBM(BueMix) has partnered with Hyperledger to offer BaaS to its customers. Amazon announced they would be offering the service in collaboration with the Digital Currency Group. Developers will have a single-click cloud-based blockchain developer environment, that will allow for rapid development of smart contracts.
Every node in a decentralized system has a copy of the blockchain. Data quality is maintained by massive database replication[8] and computational trust. No centralized "official" copy exists and no user is "trusted" more than any other.[4] Transactions are broadcast to the network using software. Messages are delivered on a best-effort basis. Mining nodes validate transactions,[22] add them to the block they are building, and then broadcast the completed block to other nodes.[24]:ch. 08 Blockchains use various time-stamping schemes, such as proof-of-work, to serialize changes.[34] Alternative consensus methods include proof-of-stake.[22] Growth of a decentralized blockchain is accompanied by the risk of centralization because the computer resources required to process larger amounts of data become more expensive.[35]

A diferencia con la, hasta ahora, plataforma estrella de smart contracts Ethereum, otra de las diferencias más importantes de Lisk es que, en Lisk, cada aplicación corre sobre su propia sidechain y no sobre una única cadena, cómo es el caso de Ethereum. Por lo tanto, un entorno propio e independiente que podrá exprimir cada desarrollador para cada DAPP desarrollada con un backend en JS/NodeJS y un frontend HTML/CSS/JS.
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.
As we’ve talked about, writing to the blockchain is slow and expensive. This is because every node in the entire network needs to verify and slurp in the whole blockchain and all the data it contains. Executing a large smart contract on a blockchain can be prohibitively expensive, and doing things like storing images on blockchains is economically infeasible.
As you can see, several of these real-world demands for the evolution of the initial Bitcoin implementation are still highly relevant. Trade-offs between scalability and decentralization are demonstrated with Ethereum’s focus on decentralization first and resulting complexities in developing scalable solutions. The increased emphasis on smart contract functionality, pegging real-world assets to blockchains, and experimentation of altcoins that are currently ongoing also represent the forward-thinking ideas outlined in the paper.
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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]
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.
By definition, blockchain is a ledger of all transactions that have been executed and could be seen as a write-only platform, wherein transactions once executed cannot be modified later. This platform has been further divided into Public and Private blockchain. Is there a third one? a hybrid mode such as a ‘Consortium blockchain’ as represented by Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum, a decentralized web 3.0 publishing platform.

The idea emerged that the Bitcoin blockchain could be in fact used for any kind of value transaction or any kind of agreement such as P2P insurance, P2P energy trading, P2P ride sharing, etc. Colored Coins and Mastercoin tried to solve that problem based on the Bitcoin Blockchain Protocol. The Ethereum project decided to create their own blockchain, with very different properties than Bitcoin, decoupling the smart contract layer from the core blockchain protocol, offering a radical new way to create online markets and programmable transactions known as Smart Contracts.
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.
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]

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.
“A private blockchain is hardly different from a traditional database. The term is synonymous with glorified databases. But the advantage is that if they are to ever start adding public nodes to it then it becomes so much more. An open blockchain is the best method for having a trustless ledger. The broader the range of decentralized adoption the better. The Bitcoin blockchain hits all those points.