Sidechains offer a way for new, more radical settings and technologies to be implemented without affecting the main chain. This ensures that the main chain is as secure as possible whilst providing the freedom to explore options which would never be considered for use on the main chain. Sidechains should be quite powerful as they provide cases like anonymity, transparency, confirmation times and turing complete options like rootstock all whilst utilizing bitcoins rather than relying on the hashing power (security) of some far less secure alt coin. That being said… there is quite some controvery regarding blockstream’s funding of most of the core development team and their inflexiblity regarding the max blocksize. This inflexibility has directly contributed to the success of ethereum and it remains to be seen whether the dream of bitcoin maximalism will survive long enough for sidechains with all of the promised functionality to be rolled out. I am skeptical.

Because decentralization has been viewed by many as intrinsic to the revolutionary potential of blockchain, the point of private blockchains might be called into question. However, blockchains offer much more than a structure that accommodates decentralization. Among other features, their strong cryptography and auditability offers them more security than traditional protocols (although not bulletproof, as noted), and they allow for the development of new cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, voting platforms, accounting systems, and any type of data archive can arguably be optimized with blockchain technology. We are still in the early days of blockchain technology, and the power it has to reshape older systems has yet to be seen.


The first work on a cryptographically secured chain of blocks was described in 1991 by Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta.[10][6] They wanted to implement a system where documents' timestamps could not be tampered with or backdated. In 1992, Bayer, Haber and Stornetta incorporated Merkle trees to the design, which improved its efficiency by allowing several documents to be collected into one block.[6][11]

Thus Tradle set out to build a meta-protocol that saves the data in the overlay network, and only puts minimal referencing data on the blockchain. There is a general grumpy consensus among bitcoin core devs and mining pool operators on allowing one small data chunk, a hash, per transaction. Many devs say it is not possible to secure this second overlay network. I agree, unless we use the blockchain to help with the task. We have a partial solution working, and are preparing a new design to improve it (partial, as it can not yet handle all known attacks). We are actively sharing the designs at various meetups (and on the github) and are inviting devs to find attack vectors and propose solutions. Tradle’s protocol not only relieves the pressure on bitcoin’s blockchain but is also able to handle larger transaction sizes than Counterparty and Mastercoin, so it can be used for complex identity, supply chain management and many other applications. It is also capable of handling attachment files, needed in the healthcare and financial industries.
Transparency does not, however, mean that public blockchains are completely unhackable. Any time data enters a digital network, it is subject to security breaches and unethical uses. Although public blockchains looks to be highly secure right now, there are always going to be bad actors interested in exploiting weaknesses in the system. This is often through hacking methods that are difficult to predict and account for — so claims of one-hundred-percent security in any technology should always be read with a critical eye
However, the Lightning Network would, again, require a change to the existing Bitcoin protocol. (Though again it would be a “soft fork,” i.e. the existing blockchain would remain fully valid.) And/or — you guessed it — a Lightning sidechain. What’s more, one of the changes it requires, the elimination of transaction malleability, is handled by the Segregated Witness work in Sidechain Elements. (correction: all of of the changes required are incorporated into Elements Alpha — it’s Lightning-ready out of the box.)
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]
Mastercoin and Counterparty are embedded consensus protocols (or meta-protocols) that use the blockchain to store their transactional data. Bitcoin devs, except Peter Todd who was hired by both teams to help them find a proper solution, are very unhappy, to say mildly, about storing the data on the blockchain. Heated discussions on this topic go on for hundreds of pages on bitcointalk and Mastercoin github issue. Mining pools like Eligius started censoring Mastercoin transactions (not sure if they are continuing with this practice right now, but the operators of this pool are adamant that data do not belong to the blockchain).
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.
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Sidechains with specific purposes could be formed with specific features while still enjoying the widespread adoption and value that Bitcoin holds.  Most importantly it can add these features without consensus from the Bitcoin community. Sidechains have the potential to replace many Cryptocurrencies as it allows features that were previously unique to these currencies to be available on Bitcoin. It also allows developers to experiment with sidechains and scope its full potential while still keeping coins linked to Bitcoin.
Put simply, sidechaining is any mechanism that allows tokens from one blockchain to be securely used within a completely separate blockchain but still moved back to the original chain if necessary. By convention the original chain is normally referred to as the "main chain", while any additional blockchains which allow users to transact within them in the tokens of the main chain are referred to as "sidechains". For example, a private Ethereum-based network that had a linkage allowing ether to be securely moved from the public Ethereum main chain onto it and back would be considered to be a sidechain of the public network.
Sidechains solve a lot of problems, but at what cost? The introduction of sidechains makes things even more complex and much harder to understand for those who are not actively involved in the blockchain space. This also divides assets, no more “one chain, one asset” adage, which further complicates things. And on a network level there are multiple independent unsynchronised blockchains interacting with each other.

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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.
First, clear your head of anything related to money, currency or payments. And clear your head of the word ledger, too. The mind-bending secret of Bitcoin is that there actually isn’t a ledger! The only data structures that matter are transactions and blocks of transactions. And it’s important to get this clear in your head if sidechains are going to make sense.
Por ello, con este escenario sobre la mesa y con el objetivo de aunar esfuerzos, algunos se han preguntado: ¿Sería posible crear blockchains que sean utilizadas para casos de usos concretos, pero conectadas en todo momento a la de Bitcoin? ¿Podemos crear piezas de software que desde una blockchain se pueda saltar a otra de manera transparente, segura y descentralizada? Esto generaría, para que te hagas una imagen mental, algo así como las ruedas dentadas interconectadas de un motor, cada rueda una blockchain, todas trabajando juntas.
Sidechain transactions using a two-way peg effectively only allow for intra-chain transactions. A transfer from Bitcoin (parent chain) to Ethereum (sidechain) would allow a user to use the functionality of Ethereum (i.e., fully expressive smart contracts), but the underlying original asset would remain precisely that, Bitcoin. So, a Bitcoin on an Ethereum sidechain technically remains a Bitcoin.
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.
Of course, the drawbacks of public and private blockchains are still very much present in the case consortium chains. This all depends on the way each consortium is constructed: a more public consortium chain will bear the burdens of public chains, while a more private one might suffer from the relative lack of openness and disintermediation. The right configuration depends on the needs and vision for each specific chain. Strategy and tailoring are always necessary to get the best solution.
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.
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.

“Further, contribution is weighted by computational power rather than one threshold signature contribution per party, which allows anonymous membership without risk of a Sybil attack (when one party joins many times and has disproportionate input into the signature). For this reason, the DMMS has also been described as a solution to the Byzantine Generals Problem[AJK05].”
When you send Bitcoins somewhere, you lay down the challenge for the next owner. Usually, you’ll simply specify that they need to know the public and private keypair that correspond to the Bitcoin address the coins were sent to. But it can be more complicated than that. In the general case, you don’t even know who the next owner is… it’s just whoever can satisfy the condition.
The need and applications for side chains vary greatly, but Aelf is building an entire infrastructure that allows businesses to customize their chains depending on needs. Financial, insurance, identity and smart city services are a few applications which need their own side chains. Interoperability between those chains is critical. Aelf is paving the way for a new internet infrastructure.
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.
“RSK directly “plugs in” to achieve a perfect merged-mining and to ensure that cryptographic work, that will be discarded in Bitcoin mining, is reused in the first smart contract open-source platform secured by the Bitcoin network. RSK has an agreement with Bitcoin miners: we share with them 80% of the fees arising from transactions made within the smart contract network.”
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.
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.
Mastercoin and Counterparty are embedded consensus protocols (or meta-protocols) that use the blockchain to store their transactional data. Bitcoin devs, except Peter Todd who was hired by both teams to help them find a proper solution, are very unhappy, to say mildly, about storing the data on the blockchain. Heated discussions on this topic go on for hundreds of pages on bitcointalk and Mastercoin github issue. Mining pools like Eligius started censoring Mastercoin transactions (not sure if they are continuing with this practice right now, but the operators of this pool are adamant that data do not belong to the blockchain).
Ardor is a blockchain platform predicated on childchains (sidechains) that use proof of stake (PoS) consensus. It uses the primary chain as a security chain and the childchains for processing transactions to increase scalability. Their design is specifically focused on speed and efficiency through PoS consensus and removing blockchain bloat through pruning.
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A public blockchain has absolutely no access restrictions. Anyone with an internet connection can send transactions[disambiguation needed] to it as well as become a validator (i.e., participate in the execution of a consensus protocol).[84][self-published source?] Usually, such networks offer economic incentives for those who secure them and utilize some type of a Proof of Stake or Proof of Work algorithm.

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.


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.
Sidechains with specific purposes could be formed with specific features while still enjoying the widespread adoption and value that Bitcoin holds.  Most importantly it can add these features without consensus from the Bitcoin community. Sidechains have the potential to replace many Cryptocurrencies as it allows features that were previously unique to these currencies to be available on Bitcoin. It also allows developers to experiment with sidechains and scope its full potential while still keeping coins linked to Bitcoin.
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Mastercoin and Counterparty are embedded consensus protocols (or meta-protocols) that use the blockchain to store their transactional data. Bitcoin devs, except Peter Todd who was hired by both teams to help them find a proper solution, are very unhappy, to say mildly, about storing the data on the blockchain. Heated discussions on this topic go on for hundreds of pages on bitcointalk and Mastercoin github issue. Mining pools like Eligius started censoring Mastercoin transactions (not sure if they are continuing with this practice right now, but the operators of this pool are adamant that data do not belong to the blockchain).
The Bitcoin White Paper was published by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008; the first Bitcoin block got mined in 2009. Since the Bitcoin protocol is open source, anyone could take the protocol, fork it (modify the code), and start their own version of P2P money. Many so-called altcoins emerged and tried to be a better, faster or more anonymous than Bitcoin. Soon the code was not only altered to create better cryptocurrencies, but some projects also tried to alter the idea of blockchain beyond the use case of P2P money.
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.

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.


Alpha functions as a sidechain to Bitcoins testnet. The peg mechanism currently works through a centralized protocol adapter, as stated in the sidechains whitepaper. An auditable federation of signers manages Testnet coins transferred to the sidechain. The federation is also relied upon to produce blocks through the signed blocks element. This creates the possibility of exploring the possibilities of the new chain using different security trade-offs.
“Such a move could allow retailers to lower prices and incentivize consumers to shop at one retailer over a competitor,” Cohen noted. “This idea is not as ludicrous as it might seem. Amazon recently registered three cryptocurrency-related domain names, suggesting a potential move into the cryptocurrency space. If large companies like Amazon, Walmart or Starbucks issued digital coins that inspired public trust, blockchain-based cryptocurrencies might gain acceptance by the public and other retail giants.”
Let's explore if there is a hybrid blockchain concept (third type). A consortium blockchain would be a mix of both the public and private. Wherein the ability to read & write could be extended to a certain number of people/nodes. This could be used by groups of organization/firms, who get together, work on developing different models by collaborating with each other. Hence, they could gain a blockchain with restricted access, work on their solutions and maintain the intellectual property rights within the consortium.

Sidechains offer a way for new, more radical settings and technologies to be implemented without affecting the main chain. This ensures that the main chain is as secure as possible whilst providing the freedom to explore options which would never be considered for use on the main chain. Sidechains should be quite powerful as they provide cases like anonymity, transparency, confirmation times and turing complete options like rootstock all whilst utilizing bitcoins rather than relying on the hashing power (security) of some far less secure alt coin. That being said… there is quite some controvery regarding blockstream’s funding of most of the core development team and their inflexiblity regarding the max blocksize. This inflexibility has directly contributed to the success of ethereum and it remains to be seen whether the dream of bitcoin maximalism will survive long enough for sidechains with all of the promised functionality to be rolled out. I am skeptical.
If you’ve been keeping track of developments in the bitcoin industry, you’d know that the blockchain refers to the public ledger of transactions associated with the cryptocurrency. As the bitcoin ecosystem has grown in size and scale throughout the years, the blockchain has also increased considerably in length and storage size, prompting debates on whether or not to increase its block size limit.
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).
That might sound like a problem, but it isn’t because the box can only be opened infrequently (two or three times a year), and a super-majority of miners must leave a note on the box in advance. This note states exactly where the miners intend to transfer the money. The “correct” note is automatically generated by sidechain software, and is easy to check.
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]
Using Rootstock as an example, in order to transfer assets from one chain to the other a user on the parent first has to send their coins to a special output address where they will consequently become locked and un-spendable. Once the transaction is completed, SPV then confirms it across the chains and after waiting out a contest period, which is just a secondary method to help prevent double spending, the equivalent amount will be credited and spendable on the Sidechain and vice versa.
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.
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).
@mowliv I think a good way to think about it is by looking at our economy. The Federal Reserve prints US dollars for the US Government (the main blockchain) to boost the US economy. However, US dollars can be exported to other countries (a side chain) that could have a completely independent economy but still use a currency backed by the US government. – Olshansk May 30 '17 at 0:56

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.
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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.

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:
If you’ve been keeping track of developments in the bitcoin industry, you’d know that the blockchain refers to the public ledger of transactions associated with the cryptocurrency. As the bitcoin ecosystem has grown in size and scale throughout the years, the blockchain has also increased considerably in length and storage size, prompting debates on whether or not to increase its block size limit.

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.


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.

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