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.
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.
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.
You cannot be a crypto investor or entrepreneur without having a real understanding of the differences between these types of blockchains as well as their implications. Even if they are based on similar principles, their operation is, in fact, different to all levels. So the tokens issued by these blockchains will not be assessed in the same manner.
Further, despite sidechains being independent of each other, they are responsible for their individual security and need the requisite mining power to remain secure. Bitcoin’s blockchain has sufficient PoW mining power to remain secure even from the most coordinated of attacks, but many more nascent sidechains lack the necessary network effects and mining power to guarantee security to users.
“Blockchain offers a possible solution to these challenges with its decentralized ledger that can store a history of transactions across a shared database,” Cohen said in the report. “By making the record accessible and verifiable from anywhere in the world, blockchain can enable the authentication of goods and eradicate the criminal element of counterfeit goods in the retail supply chain. By pairing hardware chips with blockchain technology, a product can take on a digital history, going as far back as the raw materials that were used to make the product. This allows retailers and consumers to verify their purchased products are genuine.”
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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.
If one group of nodes continues to use the old software while the other nodes use the new software, a split can occur. For example, Ethereum has hard-forked to "make whole" the investors in The DAO, which had been hacked by exploiting a vulnerability in its code. In this case, the fork resulted in a split creating Ethereum and Ethereum Classic chains. In 2014 the Nxt community was asked to consider a hard fork that would have led to a rollback of the blockchain records to mitigate the effects of a theft of 50 million NXT from a major cryptocurrency exchange. The hard fork proposal was rejected, and some of the funds were recovered after negotiations and ransom payment.
A Sidechain, in simplest terms, is just a separate blockchain but is attached to the parent through the use of a two-way peg which allows for assets to be interchangeable and moved across the chain at a fixed deterministic exchange rate. This two-way peg works by utilizing simple payment verification or SPV as it's otherwise known. To show and prove ownership of the assets on the parent chain.
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.”
Hasta la fecha (Agosto del 2016), las sidechains sobre Bitcoin no son más que algo teórico. Una implementación de este tipo requeriría de un cambio en el código Bitcoin (hay miembros de la comunidad Bitcoin con gran prestigio, como es el caso de Peter Todd, que argumentan que una sidechain, tal y como la describe Blockstream en su paper, no podrían llevarse a la práctica en Bitcoin sin hacer un gran cambio, hard fork, en Bitcoin). En el mismo paper de blockstream se reconoce que una implementación de este tipo, la cual su teoría es simple pero su implementación compleja, se enfrenta a problemas que no está del todo claro que puedan solventarse (y no todos son de tipo técnico).
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.
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.
Plasma, a project by Ethereum, uses this side chain concept. It encourages transactions to happen on side chains (or child chains). An authority governs each of the child chains. If the authority starts acting maliciously, anyone on the child chain can quit the child chain and take back their pegged assets on the main chain. It’s in its early stages of development but shows a lot of promise in handling some of Ethereum’s scalability issues.
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.