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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.

"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).
Blockchains that are private or permissioned work similarly to public blockchains but with access controls that restrict those that can join the network, meaning it operates like a centralised database system of today that limits access to certain users. Private Blockchains have one or multiple entities that control the network, leading to the reliance on third-parties to transact. A well-known example would be Hyperledger.
Confidential Transactions — At present, all Bitcoin transactions are completely public, albeit pseudonymous. Confidential Transactions, as the name implies, conceal the amount being transferred to all except the sender, the recipient, and others they designate. The resulting transaction size is significantly larger, but includes a sizable “memo” field that can be used to store transaction or other metadata, and is still smaller than eg Zerocoin.(Note that this isn’t as confidential as Zerocash, which conceals both the amount and the participants involved in any transaction, through the mighty near-magic of zk-Snarks. Mind you, Zerocash would require an esoteric invocation ritual to initiate its network. No, really. But that’s a subject for a separate post.)
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.
Blockstream is collaborating with industry leaders to create a Bitcoin micropayment system that supports high volumes of instant tiny payments using proportional transaction fees and that operates at the speed of light. We are now developing Bitcoin Lightning prototypes and creating consensus on interoperability. Our c-lightning implementation is the go-to code and specification for enterprise Lightning Network deployments on Bitcoin, and is what powers our easy-to-use Lightning Charge HTTP Rest API.
@gendal, good question. Think of the identity hash as a bitcoin address, it is indeed public. So to assert anything with this identity you need to sign the object you are creating or changing with the identity’s private key. Specifically it is a private key that corresponds to a public key that you published in your identity’s object (json). The signature is not placed on the bitcoin transaction, as OP_RETURN has only 40 bytes. The signature is added to a [json] object that is modified with this identity. If you see any fault with this, please let me know.
What Bitcoin’s development team is essentially doing through feature-creep is forcing everyone in the non-tech world to use Bitcoin through commercial proxies to avoid all this complexity (crypto-what? security? sidechain?), which effectively results in the loss of security, relative anonymity and decentralized properties that helped to make it interesting in the first place.
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This is what, at its core, state channels are. Imagine we wanted to play a game of Starcraft and have a smart contract that pays 1 ETH to the winner. It would be ridiculous for each participant to have to write on the main Ethereum network each time a Zergling was killed by a Zealot, or when a Command Center was upgraded to an Orbital Command. The gas cost (Ethereum gas, not Starcraft gas) and time for each transaction would be prohibitive.
This is what, at its core, state channels are. Imagine we wanted to play a game of Starcraft and have a smart contract that pays 1 ETH to the winner. It would be ridiculous for each participant to have to write on the main Ethereum network each time a Zergling was killed by a Zealot, or when a Command Center was upgraded to an Orbital Command. The gas cost (Ethereum gas, not Starcraft gas) and time for each transaction would be prohibitive.

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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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.
Blockstream recently released a whitepaper on “strong federations,” which is essentially their vision of a federated two-way peg system. Liquid is a sidechain created by Blockstream that uses the strong federations model. The sidechain is used to transfer bitcoins between centralized bitcoin institutions, such as exchanges, at a faster pace than the public Bitcoin blockchain.

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.
Bitcoin’s block interval is ten minutes so it takes about five ten minutes on average for a new transaction to find its way into a block, even if it pays a high fee. This is too slow for some people so they have experimented with alternative cryptocurrencies, based on the Bitcoin code-base, which employ quicker block intervals   [UPDATED 2014-10-27 to correct my embarrassing misunderstanding of mathematics…]
“Given all of this, it may seem like private blockchains are unquestionably a better choice for institutions. However, even in an institutional context, public blockchains still have a lot of value, and, in fact, this value lies to a substantial degree in the philosophical virtues that advocates of public blockchains have been promoting all along, among the chief of which are freedom, neutrality and openness.” 
In private blockchains, only specific, pre-chosen entities have the ability to create new transactions on the chain (this is known as “write permissions”). Thus, a private blockchain is a closed network that offers constituents the benefits of the technology, but is not necessarily decentralized or distributed, even among its members. The extent to which each constituent can view (“read”) and create and validate transactions (“write”) is up to the developers of the chain.
"I see quite a few use cases for private blockchains, and they definitely have their place. Traditional institutions won't switch to a completely public blockchain from one day to the other. A private blockchain is a great first step towards a more cryptographic future. The biggest advantages of private blockchains in comparison to centralized databases are the cryptographic auditing and known identities. Nobody can tamper with the data, and mistakes can be traced back. In comparison to a public blockchain it is much faster, cheaper and respects the company's privacy. As a conclusion, it's better to rely on a private blockchain than no cryptographic system at all. It has merits and pushes the blockchain terminology into the corporate world, making truly public blockchains a bit more likely for the future."